Howe wants Bournemouth to rediscover attacking ‘swagger’ against Gunners
The Cherries have lost six of their last seven Premier League matches,
Eddie Howe says Bournemouth “need to find that attacking spark” when they host Arsenal on Thursday.
The Cherries did not muster a shot on target during Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Burnley as they slumped to a sixth loss in seven Premier League games.
Arsenal will have new boss Mikel Arteta at the helm, but Bournemouth manager Howe is concentrated totally on improvements by his own team.
“Arsenal will be a really tough game, but it’s always about us when we play here (Vitality Stadium),” Howe said at his pre-match press conference.
“Every game is difficult at this level. It doesn’t matter if they have a new manager or not, our time is best spent on bettering ourselves after Saturday’s game.
“We need to find that attacking spark on Boxing Day.
“I didn’t enjoy watching the Burnley game back to be honest.
“It just didn’t happen in the game for us. We have to remember we have to entertain and get the supporters on their feet.
“I think we have the players who can hurt any team in the division when we play well.”
Cherries left-back Diego Rico is absent due to suspension following his fifth booking of the season, while Howe also has a number of players out injured, including Nathan Ake (hamstring).
“I am not expecting huge changes to the team. We had a couple of worries after the (Burnley) game, but I don’t want to reveal who they are,” Howe added.
“I don’t know myself if they will be ready for Arsenal.”
Recapturing Bournemouth’s attacking approach is a priority for Howe as the Gunners and Arteta prepare to arrive on the south coast.
“It’s taking the pressure off the players when they enter the pitch,” he said. “Trying to get them fully believing in what they are doing. They can then play with that carefree belief that we have when we are at our best.
“Injuries have taken something out of our team, and we need to refind that very quickly.
“Players build up relationships over time, but at the moment we’re in that rebuilding stage and that takes time, but that’s the challenge.
“I’m expecting them to play the way he (Arteta) wants them to play, even though it’s a short turnaround between games.
“However, it’s always about us when we play here, and refinding that attacking swagger that we need.
“In some senses these games almost suit us. For the crowd to see that we need help. We didn’t give them enough to go off on Saturday.”