Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth: Cech desperate to avenge Saints disappointment
Petr Cech has urged Arsenal to turn the negative aspects of their humiliating defeat at Southampton into a positive when they host AFC Bournemouth on Monday.
Leicester City’s defeat at Liverpool meant Arsene Wenger’s side had the opportunity to go top of the Premier League with victory at St Mary’s Stadium in Saturday’s late kick-off.
However, it was a day to forget for Arsenal as they fell to a surprise 4-0 defeat on the south coast, with Cuco Martina, a Shane Long double and Jose Fonte doing the damage.
Goalkeeper Cech believes the result emphasises the unpredictability of the Premier League and is desperate to recover quickly when Eddie Howe’s men visit the Emirates Stadium.
“The positive thing is there is a game on Monday and we will be ready to bounce back,” Cech told Arsenal’s official website.
“We had a game where nothing was really happening for us and everything was happening for them.
“If you look at the number of shots they had – they had one in the first half and they scored a goal.
“In the second half [two of their] goals were practically the same. They had two shots and they put them in. Obviously when you play against a team which has this type of efficiency in front of goal then it is difficult to win games.
“Our performance was not as we wanted but that’s football – especially in the Premier League. When you have a day like that and you don’t find your way it is very difficult to win.”
In Bournemouth, Arsenal face an unknown entity, with the only competitive meeting between the sides taking place in a League Cup third-round fixture in the 1987-88 season – a 3-0 win for Arsenal.
But Wenger will be well aware of the threat Howe’s side possess, with Bournemouth having won three and drawn three of their last six fixtures, including memorable wins over Chelsea and Manchester United.
Bournemouth earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, a result Howe says shows confidence is high in the camp ahead of a tough away double-header at Arsenal and Leicester City.
“It [Palace draw] reinforces that confidence is improving and belief is growing within the camp,” he told Bournemouth’s official website.
“Now we move into a really tough period where we know that we need to be even better.”
Arsenal remain without the likes of Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (leg), Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin (both knee).
Bournemouth will make a late check on Harry Arter (hamstring), while Josh King (hamstring) remains a doubt.
Key Opta Stats:
– The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 21 Premier League meetings with newly-promoted opposition (W17 D4).
– This will be only the second-ever competitive meeting between Arsenal and Bournemouth.
– Bournemouth will become Arsenal’s 80th different opponent in league football in this match.
– Arsenal have not lost their final Premier League game in a calendar year since 2006; when they lost 0-1 away at Sheffield United.
– Arsenal have scored in each of their last 29 Premier League games against newly-promoted opposition.
– The Cherries have won on five of their last six league trips to London (L1), including a win at reigning Premier League champions Chelsea earlier this month.