BOURNEMOUTH welcome Arsenal to Dean Court on Super Sunday. Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the encounter, picking out his best bets.
Bournemouth v Arsenal | Sunday 25th November 2018, 13:30 | Sky Sports
Bournemouth against Arsenal is a Premier League match that’s rarely disappointed in the past. The pair have locked horns at this level six times with those meetings producing 20 goals, at an average rate of 3.33 per-game, and I’m keen to support another entertaining encounter on Super Sunday.
The most obvious selection is to back Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at 8/11 (Ladbrokes). It’s a selection that’s only proven profitable in 13/24 (54%) of the pairs combined league matches, but that record enhances to 9/11 (81%) when viewing the duos respective home/away returns in 2018/19.
Bournemouth defying pre-season predictions
Bournemouth were marked out as potential relegation candidates in pre-season, a school of thought I could never get on-board with. However, I never anticipated the Cherries making such a stalemate across the opening third of the campaign.
Eddie Howe’s outfit are sitting in sixth and the division’s fifth-highest goalscorers having racked up 21 goals in 12 tussles – only Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have scored more often. The hosts have been clinical in the final-third but also benefitted from a league-high five penalties.
Nevertheless, the south coast club are renowned for their attack-minded and aesthetically-pleasing approach, rarely venturing away from their tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 system. Howe will need to make an alteration to his team here, mind, with key right-back Adam Smith injured.
The Cherries come into this clash having lost successive Premier League matches for the first time this season. Even so, Bournemouth were arguably unlucky to lose to both against Manchester United and Newcastle having fired in 32 shots across both fixtures, grabbing a solitary goal in each.
The hosts’ issues surround their defence. The Cherries have recorded only six shutouts in 37 outings now and have only once silenced a Big Six side in 18 showdowns at Dean Court.
Arsenal going great guns
Arsenal arrive unbeaten in 16 matches (W12-D4-L0) across all competitions since August, but more recently Unai Emery’s troops have struggled to turn stalemates into maximum points, whilst the Gunners were fortunate to escape defeat in games against Wolves and Crystal Palace.
The capital club have been prolific on their travels, though. Arsenal have tabled five triumphs from their past six games as guests, racking up 16 goals in the process. Having also scored at least twice in five of their last six encounters with Bournemouth, the Gunners should be confident of getting on the scoresheet.
Away supporters will be delighted to hear that dynamic duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both returned to training in midweek and have been passed fit for Super Sunday’s showdown, so their entertaining brand of football under Emery should continue at Dean Court.
All roads lead to goals
Nine of Bournemouth’s 12 matches have produced three or more goals, at an average rate of 3.08 per-game. The Cherries average Expected Goals per-game stands at a whopping 3.50, whilst the divisional goals per-game average stands at a healthy 2.75.
Since the start of 2017/18 – Howe’s men have seen 68% of games cross the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, and more recently it’s 26 of their last 33 featuring three or more goals. At Dean Court, Over 2.5 Goals has landed in 13/17 of late, whilst nine of their last 13 against Big Six clubs followed suit, with six seeing Over 3.5 Goals.
The Gunners aren’t exactly watertight themselves; the capital club have seen both sides score in nine of their 12 Premier League matches under Emery, recording a paltry two shutouts. Those encounters have averaged just shy of 3.50 goals per-game with the xG average also north of 3.00 goals per-game.
Arsenal have recorded Over 2.5 Goals in 67% of their away days since the beginning of last season, as well as Over 3.5 Goals in 42% of the same sample. Since Emery arrived at the Emirates, four of their five games as guests have produced four or more goals with that exception against Rafa Benitez’s defensively-minded Newcastle.
A 20/1 Bet Builder worthy of interest
For those who like something meatier to support in front of the box, I’ve had a rummage around Bet365’s Bet Builder for a long shot to support. If we tick Both Teams To Score, Over 2.5 Goals, and then add in an Arsenal victory, Callum Wilson to score and Dan Gosling to be carded, we’ll be offered 20/1.
We’ve already talked up the overwhelming goal trends, whilst Bournemouth have returned just W3-D2-L13 when hosting Big Six teams. Despite yet completely convincing, Arsenal have the ammunition to come out on the right side of a south coast shootout with their two leading marksmen available.
Callum Wilson will have returned to the Cherries camp on a high having scored on his England debut. Bournemouth’s top scorer has also netted in his last two home meetings against Arsenal. On penalty duty, Wilson averages 0.58 xG per-game – the seventh-highest figure in the Premier League.
Finally, Jefferson Lerma has added bite and guile to the home team’s midfield since his move from Spain. Playing for Levante over the past three campaigns, the Colombian was carded in 39/87 (44%) league appearances – he’s already been booked in four of his nine matches for Bournemouth.
Bournemouth v Arsenal – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (8/11 William Hill)
Bournemouth v Arsenal – Arsenal to win, Over 2.5 Goals, Callum Wilson to score and Jefferson Lerma to be carded (20/1 Bet365)