The Cherries squad is beginning to look a little stretched which is reflected in their recent run of just three wins from thirteen including defeats at Tottenham, Everton, Cardiff and Liverpool... But Bournemouth are a different beast at home, 4-0 winners versus Chelsea last time out, and they will need to maintain that form to stay in touch with those above them having lost eight straight on the road. Long-term absentees Simon Francis and Lewis Cook were joined by Callum Wilson and David Brooks in the treatment room recently, although both should be back by early March. Junior Stanislas is yet to train after missing out at Anfield (GW26) with a thigh problem, but Charlie Daniels is back following a personal issue.
The Gunners still have a Europa League game to play (at the time of writing), but the squad is looking a lot healthier than it has done for a while. Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis are over minor issues while Unai Emery says Mesut Ozil must deliver consistently in training, without injury or illness, before being considered for a first-team start. Alexandre Lacazette will serve a one-match ban against BATE which means the striker is likely to lead the attack when Southampton visit the Emirates. Maitland-Niles (illness) is struggling for Thursday, but that shouldn’t affect his availability this weekend. Hector Bellerin has successfully undergone reconstruction surgery on his left knee to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, and Danny Welbeck is back at London Colney following a brief stint working on mobility training out in the United Arab Emirates.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hip flexor) and Robbie Brady (groin) come back into Sean Dyche’s thinking after missing out at Brighton. The pair have been struggling for the past few months with ongoing issues, and despite minutes from the bench versus Southampton (GW25), neither player was considered at the Amex Stadium. A lack of match-fitness and a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Chris Hughton’s men will mean a place on the bench beckons with Jeff Hendrick and Dwight McNeil expected to operate on both flanks. An ongoing calf complaint rules Steven Defour out once again, and the Belgian midfielder will be sent for further tests to help pinpoint the underlying issue.
Neil Warnock was giving no....
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