Monday, 28 December 2015

Arsenal will be as big a test as Man City away and more

I disagree with football commentator Jonathan Pearce's view that AFCB should abandon their free-flowing football at the Emirates. The Cherries have found form in recent weeks and should not back away from trying to take their game to the Emirates and to play with full conviction. They will have to be brave to do that, but it is the best chance they have of gaining a result against one of the top four sides. 
The Cherries need a big performance now.
When up against Man City it was not a great day for the pink-shirted third kit to make their first appearance. There were come mitigating circumstance though that day with Artur Boruc getting injured in the warm up and some errors from Adam Federici and Andrew Surman that made the day a bit easier for the Sky Blues. The Cherries have had to wait a long time to play another top four side away from home, but they'll be excited about going to a ground like the Emirates and it is a fantastic way for the team and the fans to round off the calendar year.

It will be a test to see how far the Cherries have come since that nervous match up at the Etihad. Since then we know that they have shown more grit and skill in their performances and a sharpness in front of goal that has brought them several wins, so can they now do it against a big side away from home? You could say they have done it against Chelsea, but to beat Arsenal at the Emirates would be a far greater achievement in my book with the way Arsenal have been playing - barring their Southampton defeat.

Arsenal have had three defeats all season. West Ham is the only team to come away from the Emirates with three points and that was back on 9 August. Spurs and Liverpool are the only other teams to have come away with a point, so there is no disguising how formidable the Gunners are at home. They can smell a chance of the title and they have plenty of stars who can win a game single-handedly.

For the Cherries though it must be about trying to make Arsenal do the parts of the game they don't want to do, like chasing back, making them play sideways and pressing their back four into mistakes. A high work rate and hunting in packs has seen Leicester be the most successful side up until now and AFCB have the players to give Arsenal some problems, but they have to do the basics at the back right and that will be the main factor they have to do well if they are to limit the Gunner's opportunities to score.

Enjoy the match today - see you there UTCIAD!

Arsenal Home Form

AFCB Away Form

Later today, I answer some questions on the Cherries on the Gunners Town website - check out my interview at Gunners Town.

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