Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth side in Match-day 19 of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Arsenal have been handed a huge and timely boost in defence with the return of Sokratis Papastathopoulos from suspension. But the Gunners have also been handed an equal blow as the in-form Calum Chambers will have to seat out the game due to suspension, after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Everton last weekend.
With Arteta beginning his managerial duties at Arsenal with a depleted defence, it is likely the former Manchester City assistant coach sticks to a David Luiz-Sokratis partnership. With Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin unlikely to be 100% ready to start the Bournemouth game.
This means Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will likely retain their spot, due to injuries and lack of match fitness to several players in that respective areas.
The Gunners midfield is most likely to take the same shape as we expect Arteta to stick a Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira partnership at the base. Except the new boss decides to go with youngsters in Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi.
Ozil has been passed fit to travel with the squad on Boxing Day after missing out on the Everton clash with a “foot problem”. Arteta hinted on a possible chance of including the Gunners play-maker in his squad by distancing himself from the rumours he will continue with Freddie Ljungberg’s decision to leave the German out the squad.
With Dani Ceballos also not 100% ready to start yet, Emile Smith Rowe remains the only suitable candidate in the number 10 role should Arteta be looking to replace Ozil.
Alexandre Lacazette has a great chance of starting his first match in as many games, after reports of a slight hamstring injury to Gabriel Martinelli.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe are also available options upfront, and we could see a totally different attacking setup under Arteta.
Injured, doubts and suspension
Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli, Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac; Calum Chambers.
[4-2-3-1] Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Xhaka, Torreira; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette.