Victories for Liverpool, City and Chelski yesterday mean that today’s game against Bournemouth isn’t one that we can really afford to be buggering up this afternoon. Yes, it was hilarious to see Spurs’ dreams of going the season unbeaten go down the khazi, but when you look at the table this morning and see that we’re already six points adrift of the team at the top, you begin to realise that this November draw-fest that we’ve been stuck in, needs to stop now.

Bournemouth come to our patch and it’s a Bournemouth team with a manager who is no mug and a collective of players who know their own game and will cause us problems today I think. Eddie Howe has become recognised as a manager who likes his team to play football, but he’s not stupid enough to tell his team to try to ‘out-football’ Arsenal, so I’m expecting him to set his side up to be difficult to beat and frustrate us. We all know how antsy we all get if after 30 minutes we haven’t started to get going and that’s exactly what Howe will be banking on from his Bournemouth side today. Keep it tight, grow in to the game, frustrate the home crowd, then hit with a sucker punch.

They’ll not have Jacky Wilshere to call upon, under the terms of his loan agreement, plus there’s a question mark over Artur Boric and Andrew Surman. But I expect that they’ll have plenty of players who will cause us trouble. Like a certain Benik Afobe up top. Eddie Howe will know how pumped Afobe will be against his old club, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him ahead of King and possibly alongside Calum Wilson up top. If he did go down that route, it will be the first team to play two up top against Arsenal at home for donkey’s years, so I’d kind of like to see it.

I’d be surprised though. If they’re going to have any joy against us it will be by exploiting pace on the wings and probably on our right hand side. Carl Jenkinson hasn’t really done anything majorly wrong since coming in to the side, but you can tell that Hector Bellerin is just world’s apart. With Jenkinson he just seems to get caught out too much and I started to see some of the with the PSG game. Ballerina gets caught out going forward too, but his lightning pace means that he always recovers. So if Bournemouth see that as a weakness, I expect them to try to go for it.

What it does place an importance on is whoever plays in front of the Corporal. We’ve seen a few options in those wide forward positions, but I suspect it will be Theo again despite him having a knock for the PSG game, and we need to see a Theo who is tracking back and covering ground like he was doing at the start of the season. He doesn’t always have to win tackles, but sometimes just being a body in a space is enough to either slow down play or avoid opponents getting beyond your defensive lines.

I think Theo will play today, as well as Alexis and I am hoping that we see Giroud, because I think Bournemouth will be compact and so our need to have somebody who can hold up play, be a handful for the central defensive pairing, as well as bring others in, is important. Let’s also not forget to mention the fact that Giroud has been banging in goals for fun lately. He’s the sort of play – as we all know by now – that when he’s on a streak he looks fantastic and contributes a lot of goals. So now that we know he’s in the middle of one of his ‘hot streaks’, we should be giving him as much game time as possible.

I think Arsene might keep him on the bench again today though. I suspect he’ll want to see if Iwobi can recapture some of the form he seems to have lost. I expect the same of Xhaka – i.e. he’ll be on the bench – because despite Arsene saying he’s pleased with him, he just doesn’t seem to want to deviate away from Coquelin and one other and I’m not sure Coquelin and Xhaka is viewed by the manager as the best central midfield pairing. Personally, against a team where we’re going to see the lion’s share of possession, I think we should play Xhaka and Ramsey. I think Ramsey has been poor lately, but perhaps that Ramsey/Xhaka partnership in a game where we have plenty of possession and need runners in the box and clever passers, is exactly what we should be doing against a Bournemouth side who will look to be picking up their first PremierLeague point against us.

With a game like today it would be nice for us to start really strong and get an early goal, but I don’t think it’s necessarily essential for us to do that, because I think today is the archetypal ‘patience’ game. We will have most of the ball and we need to make it count, but most importantly we need not to have the frustration build up too much in the team, or the crowd.

I think there will only be one or two goals in this encounter. I can’t see us getting a hatful. But if players like Ozil and Alexis rediscover some of their October form, then we should have enough to beat the Cherries.

Right, time for some sausage sandwich lovin’. Smell ya later.