Arsenal’s new manager Mikel Arteta makes his debut on Thursday, leading the Gunners on Boxing Day against Bournemouth. The former Arsenal midfielder was named the manager last week, replacing caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg, who stepped in following the sacking of Unai Emery. Arteta has been an assistant under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City since 2016 and this will be his first ever match as manager. The Gunners enter this one in 11th place with a 5-8-5 record and 23 points, currently sitting nine points off of the top four. Bournemouth is in 14th place with a 5-4-9 record and resting uncomfortably above the relegation zone by just four points.
Here’s what to know about Thursday’s game.
Arsenal vs. BournemouthDate: Thursday, Dec. 26Time: 10 a.m. ETLocation: Vitality StadiumTV channel: NoneStreaming: NBC Sports GoldOdds: Arsenal +100 | Bournemouth +260 | Draw +290Storylines
Arsenal: It will be interesting to see how Arteta uses his personnel in his debut. Arteta has talked about using players who have bought in and put the team first. Will that mean stars like Mesut Ozil won’t play? Or will Arteta actually go with the most talented lineup? Another question: Will we see the Gunners embrace Arteta’s style of play, which is expected to be similar to that of Manchester City? That involves dominating possession, getting forward fast with quick passes and never letting up in attack.
Bournemouth: The win at Chelsea earlier this month was massive. Had they not gotten that, Bournemouth would be just a point above the drop zone. The team is far from safety, but has some winnable games coming up to create a cushion. The Cherries have lost six of nine against the Gunners, yet should feel confident in getting something from this one.
Arsenal vs. Bournemouth prediction
Arsenal shows new life and gets a big road win on Boxing Day.
Pick: Arsenal 2, Bournemouth 1