Arteta returns to the Vitality 32 days after his first match as Arsenal manager

Preview of this evening’s FA Cup game v Bournemouth

Arteta returns to the Vitality 32 days after his first match as Arsenal manager

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s FA Cup 4th Round tie away to Bournemouth

First game after the 10 men Chelsea comeback
The conviction and will to win at Stamford Bridge last Tuesday evening was huge and we hope will provide a platform for the team to push on and achieve something of substance this season. Arsenal are four ties from an FA Cup final, and the same number in the Europa League where they are also in the last 32. Granted, the draws in cup competitions are like playing online roulette, you just can’t predict who the opposition will be, unlike the Premier League. A decent run in that competition with draws turning into wins should at least see the team qualify for next season’s Europa League (worth approx. £40 million if they can put together a decent run, which would more than twice pay the wages of Mesut Ozil). Of course they need to start cutting out the defensive errors. Which is a timely reminder of the game at the same venue on Boxing Day.

Once more with feeling
Arteta returns to the scene of his first match as Arsenal head coach on 26th December. Only six games have been played since then in 32 days. Back then, Bournemouth secured a home draw in the midst of a 10 game run, that included eight defeats and one win, albeit an unlikely one at Stamford Bridge. Granted it was the first game, and Arteta had the players for only a couple of sessions, but with the appalling run the Cherries were putting together, this was very much a winnable game for the Gunners. The Bournemouth goal in the 1-1 draw came as a result of trying to play the ball out from the back and getting caught. Hopefully the team will be less careless this evening. 

The likes of Liverpool and Manchester City rested a fair number of players, but Arsenal’s opposition is tougher than Shrewbury and Fulham and the injuries in defence are also a factor. In terms of outfield players, Arteta only made three changes in the last round after defeating Manchester United five days before. There is one extra day between games this time around, but more to the point, Arsenal only have two chances of a trophy this season. I reckon we will see a strong line-up this evening, not too different from Stamford Bridge, although obviously Bern Leno will step down. Who is at centre-back? Surely the returning Sokratis, but will it be Holding or Mustafi alongside him? Bellerin to continue at right back? Maitland-Niles was on the bench last week so is fit to play. Might Dani Ceballos or Reiss Nelson get a run-out? Even Eddie Nketiah? Second guessing the manager’s starting eleven is like playing in the best online casinos, there are going to be surprises. It really depends how important Arteta feels it is to give the back-up guys some game time, but the feeling here is that he doesn’t like too much rotation, especially at this early stage of his tenure.

Draw kings
If you’d been backing Arsenal to draw matches this season, I think you’d be well up on your betting account. If there is a replay required after tonight, it will be in the midweek before Arsenal’s mid-winter break weekend off on 8th/9th February. One assumes Arteta has an eye on this potential fortnight without a game to seriously embed his methods without needing to obsess about the next match, although a replay at home to Bournemouth effectively wipes out three days of the ten he would have before he even needs to think about Newcastle on 16th February. Is a trip to Dubai in the offing? Maybe tell the players such a prospect is off if they draw or lose tonight and there might be a bit of added incentive. Bournemouth on the other hand have their break over the weekend of 15/16th February so a replay won’t affect their plans so much. They’d fancy their chances of winning more at home though so will presumably go for it. Speaking of draws, the last round the draw for the 4th round took place in the moments before Arsenal kicked off their 3rd round game against Leeds. A good omen? The 5th round draw takes place before tonight’s game.

A rare chance for some Gooners to see a game at Dean Court
Because there are more away tickets for a cup game, many who will have previously had no chance of securing a ticket to see Bournemouth play Arsenal at the Vitality will get the opportunity to attend this game (me included!). Just a shame it wasn’t over the weekend so as to allow for a Saturday night out...

Bournemouth did manage a win at Brighton in their last outing, but overall they are having a poor season. With Arsenal’s upturn in performances since the teams met at the Vitality on Boxing Day you’d really think we should see an away win. Add to this that the Cherries’ priorities this season mean a cup run probably isn’t top of Eddie Howe’s wishlist, which could see him field a weakened team, and the odds tilt even further towards an away win. Here’s hoping!


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  1. Pauljames

    Jan 27, 2020, 22:02 #116398

    Saka outstanding tonight... think we may have found one there. Overall a very good display against limited opponents.

  2. itsRonagain2

    Jan 27, 2020, 19:52 #116397

    Whatever the truth of this is mate you can bet yr life that spending anything will run against Kroenkes grain. I tend to go with Paul really. This Season is shot. It was done in October really. Loans and cut price stop gaps are not going to improve this team. Get this lot he has to the seasons end I think. Sell a clutch of players who need to go. Work out the budget and then buy with meaning and not haste. I don’t think MA is under pressure to do much other than to get us respectable. These players can do that. I truly hope we’re 8 th of below. Avoid the EL then. Build on league games and Cup games only. The club needs to halt the delusion that we re needing to be seen to challenge the top 2. We re not. MA for me needs to be given the freedom to build us as would any Cioach of a mid table club. Build slow but sure and with properly assessed known proven players. Not loanees we ve never heard of. We ve worn that tee shirt and made the video for far too long.

  3. Pauljames

    Jan 27, 2020, 19:38 #116396

    Recent loanees Cebellos and Suarez have been underwhelming to say the least... so I’m not sweating too much on Mari’ s arrival, would it be better to assess where we are in the summer and go from there?


    Jan 27, 2020, 19:28 #116395

    Ron, I think our Stanley believes in the good old fashioned Victorian virtues of thrift etc. Either that or he is an extremely hard-up billionaire - but isn't that a contradiction in terms? Perhaps we should organise a whip round for him - otherwise Mikel's disillusionment will kick in sooner than expected.

  5. itsRonagain2

    Jan 27, 2020, 17:44 #116394

    I bet Arteta didnt see transfer haggling like that at Man C. He ll learn how Shambles Inc works soon enough wont he!!

  6. itsRonagain2

    Jan 27, 2020, 17:42 #116393

    Cant they go for broke on that deal and offer 7.5 Million plus a quid?

  7. Bard

    Jan 27, 2020, 16:30 #116392

    From what I read our loan deal for Mari may have hit the buffers. Allegedly we moved the goalposts in the negotiations !! Suarez volume 2 possibly. Who manages this stuff ?

  8. Nicky3336

    Jan 27, 2020, 16:24 #116391

    It’s got 2-0 to the Arsenal written all over it for me.......a cup will give Arteta some hope this summer of attracting a big name or two but with Auba still suspended and the Catalans sniffing round may we go into the weekend without our goal machine in the squad to face Burnley on Sunday?!?!?! It’s big business now and if a 40million bid comes in and he has Tuesday night football available i wonder how much of his steely resolve it’ll test / I don’t hold much faith in any plastic resolve of our board right now......the Mari debacle further highlights this, we bring him over with a 9 million pound fee agreed in principal and then after the medical we want to pay 7.5.....amateur hour and back to Rio he goes

  9. ArsenalMagna

    Jan 27, 2020, 15:24 #116390

    I think we'll win this 2-1 tonight. Howe has hinted at needing to rest some key players as they're carrying injuries and I think our players will be determined to avoid a replay as they'll want to rest as much as possible now.

  10. GoonerRon

    Jan 27, 2020, 15:12 #116389

    Hopefully a win, hopefully a clean sheet and move on to hopefully a decent home draw.

  11. Exiled in Pt

    Jan 27, 2020, 11:02 #116388

    Cant think of a better place to go and start a run of winning games , should play a full strength side and really go for it wining can only breed confidence . Agree with you Ron it is a real shame how it is becoming more an more like the league cup in terms of interest .

  12. itsRonagain2

    Jan 27, 2020, 10:41 #116387

    Tough to call tonight. Maybe a draw again, but i suspect what with injuries and the relegation fight being Bournemouth's main focus now that we ll win. 2-1. Arsenal need to give the FAC a good go given the poor Season its been and it ll do MA good too, bolstering his confidence in himself. Its quite sad that the FAC only means some thing to PL clubs now, subject to their individual seasonal circumstances and 'needs' etc. It should mean a lot to us.

  13. Pauljames

    Jan 27, 2020, 9:54 #116386

    Think the interesting question is what team Howe will put out, as Bournemouth have a massive game with Villa on Saturday....hopefully he will play the second string, but I’ve got this down as another draw