Jurrien Timber decision made for Arsenal vs Bournemouth as Mikel Arteta faces line-up challenge

Jurrien Timber is in contention for Arsenal as they take on Bournemouth

Arsenal go into the game with Bournemouth knowing they can reopen the four-point gap to Manchester City before Pep Guardiola's side face Wolves at the Etihad Stadium in the late Saturday kick-off. The Cherries are arguably the toughest side the Gunners have left to face despite a trip to Old Trafford next week.

Andoni Iraola has come a long way with his squad since their 4-0 home defeat to Arsenal at the end of September. In fact, from the start of November, only four teams have picked up more points than Bournemouth, who looked destined for the drop at the beginning of the campaign.

The form of Dominik Solanke has been key and he has even seen links made with a switch to north London. However, they will be without Milos Kerkez who is suspended whilst Antoine Semenyo has been excellent for them this season but is now out injured until at least the end of the campaign.

From an Arsenal perspective, whether Mikel Arteta makes any changes to the group is of serious discussion. Arsenal have come through their previous three fixtures in quick succession whilst taking maximum points; no changes were made from the team which battered Chelsea by five goals to the side which escaped a late comeback in the North London Derby.

The potential to change the team from the derby lies with the potential of one player: Jurrien Timber. The Dutch international has now played back-to-back Under-21s games with an increase in minutes on the field.

His viral goal against Blackburn and a half of action was succeeded by 71 minutes in a 2-0 win over Liverpool's Under-21s side. The likelihood he would start against Bournemouth remains low and a second-half cameo instead is far more of a possibility – but the option is now there for Arteta.

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Other players fighting to get back into the side include Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior. However, none of these stand much of a chance considering the form of their competitors.

Leandro Trossard has been key to the goalscoring ability of the side as has Kai Havertz. Thomas Partey's return to the team has been lauded with his passing abilities suddenly seen as a considerable miss whilst he was injured, and Takehiro Tomiyasu has impressed at left-back rendering the Polish defender's chances slim.

Arsenal expected XI vs Bournemouth: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Partey, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Havertz, Trossard.