Arsenal are hot favourites to overcome the challenge of Bournemouth in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. And boss Arsene Wenger will be quick to remind his players that they need to get back to winning ways to bolster their challenge for the top flight crown.
Wenger’s troops tackle Eddie Howe’s mid-table side on the back on a run of 18 unbeaten games, yet they have failed to record a victory in the last three outings.
So Wenger will impart to his charges the importance of registering a triumph against the Cherries.
The Gunners aim to be firing on all cylinders, to grab all three points available, to keep them in touching distance with their rivals for the Premier League prize and make sure Bournemouth don’t have much of a chance.
A victory is vital for the north London outfit and it is games such as these that will come to define the chances of Arsenal winning the league for the first time since they were crowned champions in 2004, the season of the “Invincibles”.
Arsenal right-back Carl Jenkinson says “a speedy start to the assault on Howe’s men is essential on Sunday”. The defender, on loan at West Ham before sustaining a serious cruciate ligament injury in his knee, has started the last two games in Hector Bellerin’s absence.
Both games — a draw at Manchester United and the same outcome in the Champions League against PSG midweek — have seen the Gunners battle from behind to snatch a point.
And Jenkinson knows a smart opening is crucial against Bournemouth. He said: “At United we especially didn’t start at our best and against PSG similarly. It is something we have got to be aware of because it has happened a couple of times lately”.
“You can look at it as a tough night against PSG, but it is always going to be when playing a top team. I think we played well, the head to head rule is very frustrating, I’m not a fan of that and I think it is a shame. I think we played well and it is unfortunate that we didn’t hold on to the win but that is life”.
“To go behind against a team of this calibre and then to come back, we have got a lot of character in this squad and we are showing it time and time again. It makes a big difference, not just at this level but in the Premier League as well”.
“You look at the stats and whoever scores the first goal, they generally go on to win the game. We have let that drop a bit lately and if we get the goal first, nine times out of 10 we win and we need to get back to doing that.”