With two winners in two starts, Olivier Giroud and Arsene Wenger have defied my tactical analysis, and the confident Frenchman looks set to start his third game of this season.
This will come against a Bournemouth side who are looking very solid defensively, However, despite Mesut Ozil being out against Crystal Palace and looking doubtful for Tuesday, Arsenal clicked with three wide playmakers occupying the three attacking roles. Any one of Alexis Sanchez, Lucas Perez and Alex Iwobi were capable of playing across the front line.
This is likely to be a similar tactic offensively, but perhaps with the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing Perez.
What this gives us is a real direct threat down the right wing – in his cameo on Sunday, he managed to beat the left back several times in a short space of time, and with Giroud in the box, crosses from the byline will prove dangerous.
Outside of the front four, it’s unfortunate we can’t stick with the Xhaka-Elneny combo which proved so effective against Palace – however, Francis Coquelin’s combative nature will prove useful against the counter attacking style of the opposition.
Bounremouth’s front four are all fast and direct – Josh King, Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas support the tricky Callum Wilson up top, which means that, despite their effectiveness on Sunday, the full backs should push forward cautiously.
The key matchups will be:
Giroud vs Ake/Cook
Nathan Ake and Steve Cook remind me of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker – a fast, modern defender paired up with a less mobile, more old school centre half. Giroud is on top form at the moment, and should win this battle.
Stanislas vs Bellerin
Hector Bellerin has been phenomenal these past few games, but on his day, Stanislas can give any full back trouble.
Arter vs Xhaka
Grant Xhaka’s passing vsHarry Arter’s dynamism. You can imagine Howe instructing the latter to keep tabs on the former.