The Mikel Arteta era gets underway when Arsenal travel to the Vitality Stadium to play Bournemouth in the Premier League on Thursday.
Despite being announced as the new Gunners' boss on Friday, the Spaniard did not officially take charge until Sunday, meaning the Boxing Day fixture will be his first.
He inherits an Arsenal side low on confidence after a run of just two wins in 15 matches, and will be looking to oversee a quick change in fortunes. However, he faces a tricky test against an unpredictable Bournemouth side that the Gunners have come unstuck against in the past.
Here's 90min's preview of the game.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 26th December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Vitality Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Amazon Prime|
Bournemouth go into the game with as many as five senior defenders unavailable due to injury. Nathan Ake and Steve Cook in particular will be big losses.
The Cherries are also still without last season's breakout star David Brooks, who has been missing all season with an ankle injury.
Arsenal have a defensive injury crisis of their own, with Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding all injured. Calum Chambers is suspended so it's likely that Bukayo Saka will have to play out of position at left back once more.
Dani Ceballos could return after a month out though after the Spaniard revealed he was targeting the Boxing Day fixture for his comeback. Mesut Ozil is also expected to be available after a foot injury kept him out of the Everton game.
|Bournemouth||Ramsdale; Stacey, Francis, Mepham, Rico; Lerma, L. Cook, Fraser, H. Wilson; C. Wilson, King|
|Arsenal||Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Xhaka, Torreira; Martinelli, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang|
After watching on from the stands against Everton, Mikel Arteta will take charge of his first game as Arsenal head coach – he is the club's youngest boss since Terry Neill in 1976.
Bournemouth have lost six of their past seven league matches, with the exception being a 1-0 win over Chelsea. They could lose four successive home games for the first time since September 2011.
Head to Head Record
While the last meeting between these sides in October was one to forget about, the two have played out some thrillers in recent times.
The most notable of these was the 3-3 draw at the Vitality in 2017, when the Gunners launched a late comeback from 3-0 down to salvage a point.
The Cherries have only ever emerged victorious in one of the ten fixtures between the pair though, and will be hoping to add to that on Thursday.
Bournemouth have been in terrible form of late, losing five out of their last six matches in the Premier League.
Arsenal's form hasn't been much better, and Gunners' fans witnessed little to no new manager bounce under interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.
Here's how the two have got on in their last five matches.
|Bournemouth 0-1 Burnley (21/12)||Everton 0-0 Arsenal (21/12)|
|Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth (14/12)||Arsenal 0-3 Manchester City (15/12)|
|Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool (7/12)||Standard Liege 2-2 Arsenal (12/12)|
|Crystal Palace 1-0 Bournemouth (3/12)||West Ham 1-3 Arsenal (9/12)|
|Tottenham 3-2 Bournemouth (30/11)||Arsenal 1-2 Brighton (5/12)|
The fact that Mikel Arteta has never managed a game of senior football, coupled with the fact that Bournemouth have been consistently inconsistent all season, makes this game almost impossible to call.
That said, Arsenal's attacking threat has still been potent for most of this campaign and you'd expect them to do well against a makeshift Bournemouth back line.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal