AFC Bournemouth vs Arsenal Fourth Round FA Cup Preview
Arsenal are in a buoyant mood following their dramatic 2-2 draw at Chelsea and will be looking to keep that feel good factor going against AFC Bournemouth tonight in the FA Cup.
The Gunners' only chance of silverware now rests on FA Cup and Europa League success so Mikel Arteta will be demanding a performance in a bid to keep a possible double going.
Bournemouth on the other hand have more pressing issues at hand- in particular getting themselves out of the bottom three. Currently sat in 18th, level on place with West Ham in 17th and just two points off Villa and Brighton who occupy the 16th and 15th spots respectively, you could forgive Eddie Howe if his priority wasn't a cup run.
Ending a run of six league games without victory, Bournemouth last time out eased the pressure on themselves and Howe by brushing relegation rivals Brighton aside 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium.
Their only other win since mid-December came against Luton Town at home where Dominic Solanke scored his first goal for the club since he signed in January 2019.
So heading into this fixture both sides are looking upwards and will be hoping to avoid defeat.
Mikel Arteta's first game in charge of Arsenal came against Bournemouth away from home so he will have fond memories of this ground already.
A second-half equaliser from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang salvaged a draw that day but Arteta will be unable to call upon the striker this time around. The Gabon international is still suspended following his red card against Palace and so it is likely 18-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli will help lead the line alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pépé.
Martinelli scored a superb goal after a lung-busting run against Chelsea from the half-way line, and the Brazilian forward will be looking to add to his personal tally of 10 goals across all competitions.
Another key player who will be missing for the Spaniard is Reiss Nelson. The English youngster scored the winner against Leeds United in the Third Round but is ruled out through a hamstring injury.
Defensive worries continue to linger with Chambers (Knee), Kolasinac (Thigh strain) and Tierney (Shoulder) all out, David Luiz suspended and Sokratis being assessed pre-match.
Bournemouth themselves face a selection dilemma.
David Brooks (Ankle), Charlie Daniels (Knee) and Lloyd Kelly (Hamstring) are all set to miss out whilst Eddie Howe told the Bournemouth website that: "We do have a couple of injury concerns, I won't go into individual names but there are a couple of players who are struggling."
Key player Joshua King has not featured for the Cherries since their 2-0 defeat against Brighton on 28th December 2019. With three goals to the Norweigan's name this season, Dominic Solanke has been picked instead to partner Callum Wilson upfront since but King may be selected once again tonight.
So with the FA Cup a viable piece of Silverware for the Londoners and Bournemouth looking to progress to the fifth round for just the fifth time in their history, both sides have a lot riding on tonight for very different reasons.