Arsenal v Bournemouth Wednesday 27 February, 19:45
Emery likely to rotate squad
Arsenal went fourth in the Premier League table after Sunday's 2-0 home win over Southampton, their seventh consecutive league victory at the Emirates. That put them on 53 points, one point ahead of Manchester United and three clear of Chelsea, who have a game in hand.
This is another crucial home match in the race for a Champions League place, with tougher games against Tottenham (away) and United (home) to follow.
Unai Emery hopes to have Alex Iwobi and Stephan Lichtsteiner fit after both players went off against Southampton, while midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be available after missing two games with illness.
Emery is likely to likely to rotate his squad and Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Matteo Guendouzi are among the players who could win a place in the starting line-up.
Lerma joins Bournemouth absentees
Bournemouth drew 1-1 at home to Wolves on Saturday in a match that featured three penalties, two of which were scored before Josh King's late miss cost Eddie Howe's side a golden opportunity to take the win.
The draw left Bournemouth in 10th place on 34 points and continued their reliance on home form, with their last 14 points having been gained at the Vitality Stadium since a 3-0 win at Fulham on October 27.
Howe still has to contend with a long injury list - bright attacking talents Callum Wilson and David Brooks remain sidelined, along with long-term absentees Lewis Cook and Simon Francis - and now defensive midfielder Jefferson Lerma starts a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season on Saturday.
Arsenal strong at home
Arsenal's home form is strong with 35 points from a possible 42 (W11 D2 L1), which ranks them behind only Manchester City and Liverpool.
The main hint of vulnerability is that they can give up early chances to the opposition - the Gunners' first-half record at home is W4 D7 L3, whereas their second-half record is W10 D3 L1 - but perhaps Emery has started to solve that issue as his side were quick to take control against Southampton, scoring after six and 17 minutes.
That made it four times in the last five home league games that Arsenal had scored in the first 25 minutes, having managed to do so only once in nine before that.
Only Fulham have lost more away games and conceded more goals on the road than Bournemouth. Their three away wins came in their first five trips and since the Fulham victory they have lost eight in a row (the last seven by two goals or more).
Howe's side have a poor record against the big six, with 18 defeats in 21 attempts since the start of last season. The three exceptions were all wins, including 2-1 at home to Arsenal last season, but the occasional surprise cannot mask their problems, especially on the road where they have lost 19 out of 23 against the big six since joining the Premier League. Fourteen of those 19 defeats have been to nil and 16 have been by two or more goals.
Emery's side have a good record of winning by a clear margin, with nine of their 11 home victories being by two or more goals, and Arsenal off -1.5 on the Asian handicap at [2.11]looks a decent bet.
With a good chance of a clear-cut margin of victory for Arsenal, it might follow that over 2.5 goals is a reasonable bet at1.53 but only six of their 14 home games (43%) have turned out that way.
Nine of Bournemouth's 13 away games have had over 2.5 goals (five over 3.5 goals), including six of their 10 defeats.
A correct score to consider is 2-0 to Arsenal at9.20. Four of their home wins (36%) and four of Bournemouth's away defeats (40%) have been by that scoreline.
Since the start of last season, Bournemouth have lost seven of their eight away Premier League matches when Callum Wilson hasn't featured (W1 D0 L7), failing to score in six of those matches. Arsenal are2.66 to win to nil.