Arsenal’s top four hopes set for boost at Bournemouth

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Arsenal head to Bournemouth on Sunday aiming to boost their hopes of securing a top-four place in the Premier League.

Two wins and five draws from their last seven league games has left the Gunners five points adrift of the Champions League places.

Last weekend’s embarrassing 4-2 defeat at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup has cranked up the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger and he’ll be desperate to pick up three points against the Cherries.

Arsenal are 8/13 favourites to win the game, with Bournemouth on offer at 19/5. The draw is available at 10/3.

Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi could both return for the visit to the Vitality Stadium, while Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe will welcome back the likes of Dan Gosling, Callum Wilson, Jordan Ibe, Harry Arter and Asmir Begovic after resting them for last Saturday’s FA Cup draw against Wigan Athletic.

Arsenal will hope to make a better start than on last season’s visit to Bournemouth. They found themselves 3-0 down with just 20 minutes remaining but fought back claim a point through goals from Alexis Sanchez, Lucas Perez and Olivier Giroud. A repeat of that 3-3 scoreline can be backed at 40/1 this weekend.

With Sanchez still heavily linked with a move to Manchester City during the January transfer window, Wenger may decide to shuffle his pack up front.

Danny Welbeck was on target against Forest and he can be backed at 6/5 to add to his tally this weekend.

Bournemouth head into the game just one point above the drop zone having won only one of their last 12 league and cup matches.

Howe’s side recovered from 2-0 down at home to Wigan to earn a replay with a last-gasp equaliser, but their main focus will be trying to stay in the Premier League.

Bournemouth haven’t kept a clean sheet in 11 games and 24 goals conceded during that run suggests they’ll have their work cut out against Arsenal.

However, Wilson’s return to the line-up should at least give them a cutting edge and the 9/4 on offer for the striker to score anytime during the game could pay dividends.

Arsenal’s defeat against Forest highlighted the deficiencies in their squad, but Wenger will field his strongest side at Bournemouth and it’s difficult to imagine them not picking up three points this weekend.

Over 3.5 goals in the match and an Arsenal win can be back at odds of 12/5 and that looks a solid wager.