Bournemouth v Arsenal: You can't pick Cherries to score goals
With both Bournemouth and Arsenal struggling to find the back of the net, Dan Fitch can't understand why this is expected to be a high-scoring game...
Bournemouth 3.70 v Arsenal 2.08; The Draw 4.00 Thursday 26 December, 15:00 Live on Amazon Prime
Injuries mount up as goals dry up
The festive period brings with it the possibility of an unwanted present for Bournemouth. There's every chance that they could start next year in the relegation zone.
The Cherries are only four points away from the bottom three, after a period in which they have lost six of their last seven games (W1). The recent 1-0 victory away at Chelsea suggested that Bournemouth might be about to turn a corner, but at the weekend a late goal saw Burnley snatch a 1-0 victory at the Vitality Stadium.
The most worrying aspect of Bournemouth's form is that their goals have dried up. Eddie Howe's men have always been a reliable prospect from an attacking perspective since entering the Premier League, but the last 11 games have seen them score just six times.
Their cause is not helped by the unnatural number of injuries that they are currently suffering with. Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, Nathan Ake, Lloyd Kelly, Steve Cook, David Brooks, Arnaut Groeneveld, Jordan Ibe and Harry Wilson are all injured, while Diego Rico will miss this match with a suspension.
Arteta looks towards youth in Arsenal rebuild
Arsenal's first game since appointing Mikel Arteta will have shown their new manager just how much work has to be done.
Their match on Saturday with Everton was a contender for one of the worst spectacles of the Premier League season so far. A 0-0 draw with a staggering amount of basic errors made by players representing such big clubs.
A young side was selected which points towards the direction that Arteta wants to go. It would be a wise choice, because we know that the vast majority of more established players at Arsenal are simply not good enough.
There will be at least one change from that team as Calum Chambers is suspended. Gabriel Martinelli is another player that started against Everton and is an injury doubt, which could leave him on the sidelines with the likes of Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac and Dani Ceballos, who all have fitness problems.
These sides too unpredictable to back
Arsenal are the 2.06favourites to win, with a Bournemouth victory at 3.65 and the draw at 4.00.
Given the form of both teams it's impossible to predict a result with any assurance. Arsenal are the rightful favourites and their price is chunky enough to back, but it still represents a big risk.
Goals could be at a premium
There is much more value in the goals markets where the odds have little relation to the current form of the two teams.
Bournemouth and Arsenal both have reputations as potent attacking sides, but that's not the reality at the moment. We've discussed the hosts' issues and the Gunners have not scored in either of their last two games.
Under 2.5 goals is a big price at 2.54. If you want to play it safe, under 3.5 goals is 1.63.
Aubameyang the likeliest match winner
If there is anyone likely to score it's Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Even at a time of poor form he has three goals in Arsenal's last five games and is the type of player that you expect to deliver when he has had a quiet couple of games, rather than see it as a sign of a longer-term issue.
Aubameyang is 1.98 to find the net. No one is in good form for Bournemouth, but they do have some quality options, with Callum Wilson at 2.70 and Josh King at 3.20.