BBC Sport pundit predicts Bournemouth v Arsenal
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to claim a win over Bournemouth on Boxing Day
Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to claim a victory in their first game under Mikel Arteta when they travel to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
The Spaniard is currently gearing up for his first official game as a Premier League manager after having been appointed as the club’s new head coach last week.
Arteta takes over from Freddie Ljungberg, who had assumed temporary charge following Unai Emery’s sacking last month.
Arsenal have struggled to find consistent form in the Premier League this season and they will head to the south coast looking for just their sixth win in the top flight.
Former Liverpool FC star Lawrenson is expecting to see the Gunners edge a tight encounter and is tipping Arsenal to make a winning start to Arteta’s reign in charge at the Vitality Stadium.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Lawrenson said: “Bournemouth did not offer much going forward against Burnley on Saturday, and did not even manage one shot on target.
“They looked like they were at least going to get a clean sheet but the Clarets nicked it right at the end, and the Cherries have now lost six of their past seven games.
“Although we have seen Eddie Howe’s side recover from bad runs like this one in the past, they have got a lot of injuries to contend with at the moment and the busy festive period is going to be especially tough on them.
“New Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta clearly has a big job on his hands and it is not just his defence that needs sorting out because the goals have dried up too.
“Even so, I would expect the ‘new manager bounce’ to have an effect here.”
Arsenal are aiming to try and break back into the top four this season after they finished fifth last term – but they are currently down in 11th place in the table.
They will take on Chelsea FC and Manchester United in back to back home games at The Emirates after the trip to Bournemouth.