Welbeck and Gabriel to start | Can we make it eight in a row? Burnley v Arsenal Line-Up and Preview

Burnley – Arsenal —  

It Would Be Great to Get Number Eight

Wins, in the league, in a row, that is…

Turf Moor
Turf Moor

And, as much as Arsenal are clearly in their best run of form in many a season, and a full 16 places separate the teams in the table, the trip to Turf Moor cannot be taken as a guaranteed three points.  Burnley need the points as much (or even more) than we do, finding themselves two points from safety at the bottom.  Moreover, even if they can’t get a result, they still have far too much to play for to give anything less than their best.  Another good performance against another big club and they might conjure the confidence needed to climb out of the relegation places and stay up.

As such, any suggestion that they might be better served resting some of their best players or otherwise reserving their best play for other opponents, will find no traction.  Why would they, having held Tottenham a week ago to gain another precious point while taking all three from Manchester City a couple of weeks before that?  All told, they’ve claimed 18 of their 26 points in home matches.  Our trip up there will be no walk in the park.

A primary reason is the physicality and commitment to the cause which Burnley present.   We should remember that, in the reverse fixture, Burnley held out until the 70th minute before succumbing to quick goals from Alexis Sanchez and Calum Chambers.  In the end, it was a bit of a romp–and the best 10 minutes we’ve seen from Theo Walcott and Lukas Poldolski in recent times–Alexis added a third goal in injury time.   In front of their home crowd, Burnley will surely be even more resolute.  Unlike other teams in that part of the table, Burnley did not go crazy with the riches distributed through the Premier League television contract.  Instead, they’re an unsung group who are attempting to hang together through good times and bad.  Only leading scorer Danny Ings (whose next goal will be his 10th of the season) gets much in the way of back page transfer speculation.

By contrast, the media (including the most active blog-o-sphere in English football) love to torture Arsenal supporters.  Activity in our circles has already jumped to summer transfer speculation and early denouncements on how FA Cups and late rallies in the league are just further variations on the Groundhog’s Day theme; another example of Wenger and his “specialization in failure,” as a certain Chelsea manager has intimated.  Still, despite an identical record from a year ago (31 played, 19 won, 6 lost, 6 drawn), I doubt we’ll see in-match comments punctuated by calls for “Wenger Out”, as we did last year in a similarly timed match at Everton (which we lost 3 nil).  In truth, we’ve come a long way since that nadir and, for the closer observer at least, the future looks a whole lot brighter.

No, Wenger seems on solid footing and getting as close as possible to Mourinho’s team seems a worthy goal, although, of course, any wobble will bring out those who have staked themselves to the alternative viewpoint.  We play Chelsea in two weeks time, which will be the true test, but they also face an always tricky West London Derby against QPR this week and a match with Manchester United before ours.  It’s true, we can only play the team which lines up against us, but we must use every trick we can to maintain focus.

Wherever people would like to point the finger of blame (or credit), Gooners must rue a difficult first half of the season and the big disappointment of our recent play–our untimely exit from the Champions League, based on a panicky showing in the first leg, vs AS Monaco.  Early on, it was mostly down to the health of our squad–injury ridden in the first half, but now almost fully restored–but, just as it could also be argued that the manager was responsible during the darker times, it might also be suggested that he has done his part to keep the collective together and foster a fine group dynamic.  As the results have come our way, we also find an extremely stiff (but healthy) competition for places.   At Arsenal the work of the team always comes first, but these final matches may have a real bearing on many players’ futures.

Given that only Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is definitely out with a groin problem (which may require surgery–ouch!), Wenger has almost the entire first team to choose from.  Laurent Koscileny faces a “late test,” while Mathieu Debuchy will be “just a bit short”: Wengerspeak for “will not be in the squad at the weekend,” but it is still a very crowded group.  This makes me very curious who will make the first 11 and the substitutes bench.   My hunch is that the team that beat Liverpool will be largely unchanged, but a player or two returning from long term injury may get a boost by being called into the substitute ranks.  Here then is my call for the starting 11.


Substitutes:  Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott 

Even this group of 18 leaves out several players I’d love to see on the pitch or even just in uniform, including Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby (and I know others have a hankering to see Serge Gnabry).  My feeling is that this match will give hints as to how Wenger will rotate for the FA Cup semi-final, next weekend, where surely more players will get a chance to impress before the bigger (or, at least, more symbolic) one vs Chelsea.  All told, even if we don’t drop points (or struggle vs Reading in the cup match), it could be an interesting couple of weeks as in suggesting how the squad is shaping up for the longer term.  This is how it should be: a privilege to wear the shirt, and a responsibility by our players to take chances as they are given.

Or not.  As always, I am not privy to how the mind of the manager is actually working.  Perhaps he sees some tired players amongst his regulars and will rotate more this weekend while sporting a stronger squad for the cup match.  What say you, fine (or fickle) fellow Gooners?  Anything to generate a bit of banter, I say, and a ton (or is it tonne?…) more fun (and a bit more subtle…) than “Wenger Out” (or “Ozil is a lazy lady-part”) or other, more typical, one liners the tweeters (or tweakers…) seem to enjoy with each comment… Let’s hear it from the WBW’s (Would-Be-Wengers) and anybody else who cares about the Arsenal…And, let’s hammer them up in North Lancashire…

Go on then…


By 17highburyterrace

51 thoughts on “Welbeck and Gabriel to start | Can we make it eight in a row? Burnley v Arsenal Line-Up and Preview

  • Excellent preview once again, Seventeenho. I can see the sunshine and fine ground coffee is wetting your creative juices. As always, you are paying the opposition respect and I am fully with you that it will not be easy tomorrow. I like the line up and and you might be close. Is it time to give Gibbsy a game? Will Koz recover to take his place? Will Jack play and Rambo go to the wing again, leaving Danny on the bench? We will see. Giroud, Ozil, Alexis and Coquelin have to play which leaves two places up for graps. Ramsey should take one and the other one could go to either Danny, Theo or Jack, or maybe even Diaby. Now that would be nice.

    All to play for tomorrow and let’s hope we will continue the fine form. UTA! 🙂

  • Great stuff HT. As ever I very largely agree with your analysis and suggested line up. My two reservations are a) I can’t see how we drop Santi given the way he is playing – so I see him in the starting 11 ahead of Welbeck, and b) if Arteta is fit again then I think he will be on the bench as DM pivot cover, possibly at the expense of Rosicky if Jack is included there. All this assumes that Ramsey is fully fit from last weekend – any doubt there and we should rest for Chelski.

    The key thing is we can’t have any complacency tomorrow, or else we will come unstuck. But we should have every reason to keep faith with the boys after the steel they have shown of late.

    Finally, goal difference looks like it could well play a part in the 2nd to 4th places; we need to take our opportunities to gain the ‘extra point’ where we can, which also means putting in a shift for the full 90 min.

  • Excellent preview as always HT, perfect timing as well – just made a fresh brew 🙂
    Great analysis and absolutely nothing to add on that front, it will be a much more physically challenging game than the stand off-ish approach that Pool took to dealing with us last weekend.
    The line up looks pretty sorted too mate, agreed with TA that we might see a Gibbs outing and i would favor Cazorla over Ramsey in the midfield atm but apart from that i can’t see him changing it much from the last game.

  • HT. Been a while since I’ve ventured into the comments section. (Been reading each post though, e-mail subscriptions help…)
    Great preview as always. Quite frankly I trust Wenger to choose whoever he pleases, in the short term he has at least earned that…which of us would have gone with Ramsey on wing last week? (Remember the fan reaction when Ramsey was consistently played out wide a few seasons ago?) Very few I’d imagine.
    That said, I genuinely believe we are in the position in terms of squad strength where we do not need to risk players fresh from injury/niggles/bit short so I can’t see either of Ramsey or Koscielny starting, not saying I would not want them to, just think it’s an unnecessary risk with FA Cup SF coming up around the corner. Also don’t think we’ll see any of the returnees in the line up, hopefully some on bench. Think Gibbs may get a game as well, for not other reason than because We Are Arsenal and we have depth and stuff. Think Santi may get a rest as well, but hope not.
    Keeping above in mind, this is my predicted XI:
    NB that we kill the game off ASAP so that we can take some key irreplaceable players like Coquelin, Giroud, Ozil and Alexis off before/by 70min.

  • 17 and Marc,

    First, Marc, welcome and great comment last post! Hope you’re still reading and commenting!

    17: great as always! I agree and have two or three comments:

    A. I think more attack here, so if AR is at risk, I’d see Cazoral there…

    B. Thoughts on TR over Welbeck. Or will he get the cup game perhaps?

    C. So, Burnley, heart says I’d like to see them stay up. Head says unlikely. Anyway, they are there by the numbers because they had to play lesser teams. All games vs top 6 sides would see them better off. Thus, we can’t be complacent. I think we have the form to do this, so am less worried. However, staying focused will be critical.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Attack and defend as a unit.No gunner shd go awol. Oh I forgot Wenger mustn’t go berserk on the attack and try to score ten goals to set a record. Lately he has adopted to win ugly mentality.
    I want the gunners to make three passes to score.
    One thing is for sure.If the gunners engage in an endless passing game,they will draw or even lose.
    This will give defenders time to regroup in massed ranks to foil the attack.
    I f the gunners can win by 2 clear goals,it will be a statement of intent

  • Recall how red face and Chelsea used to beat Arsenal regularly .Then Rooney/Drogba and Ronaldo used to score tons of goals.These 2 side played anti soccer and though the gunners
    had plenty of possession they were vulnerable to the sucker punch.
    Since then ,hopefully Wenger has sombred, I believe Burnley will adopt a pass over my dead body
    mentality.With Gabriel in defence I am more confident.Overall the defence is much better than during the time 2007-2011.
    Hopefully the gunners can win 1-0 if not 3-1.

  • Good review 17ht you have summed up things pretty well IMO. As for today’s team, I can’t see him leaving Santi out and from a personal perspective I would really like to see Theo get a run. I think he is far more of a threat than Welbeck, although he undoubtably doesn’t work as hard.

    Your comment about how the team has improved from last season is interesting. As you point out stats reveal we have exactly the same amount of points and we also at similar points in the Champions league (out). And the FA cup (semi final against a championship side). I don’t disagree with your comment, the future does look bright, but for the record, I don’t think this was the case prior to 8 games ago, when the team was struggling to put 2 or three results together.

    In addition when the team was (Rambo assisted) flying for the first part of last season, one could have put a similar case forward.

    For the record I am a huge Wenger fan, but I do have my suspicions that if Arteta hadn’t got injured and The Coquelin recall hadn’t occured, the current run of form may not have been as hot as it is at present.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not pouring cold water on the team, just exercising a little caution.

    That said, I am sure the team will be too good for Burnley today, but they will need to be strong. Burnley are not adverse to putting in a few meaty tackles to upset the opposition.

    Come on you Gunners

  • Hey Retsub, whatsup? 🙂

    Like you I have my doubts about Wenger taking us to the next stage, but he is doing a good job in proving me wrong at the moment. I don’t get your stance re injury of Arteta was the reason Coquelin came good and so Wenger was lucky in some way…. Who says Coquelin would not have come good even if Arteta had been fit? Wenger has left fit Gibbs, Chambers, Theo mainly on the bench for Nacho, Bellarina, and Santi/Welbeck…… He makes choices and they are paying off…and deserves credit for it, no? 🙂

  • Just a quick note from me, I’ll try and get back later .. Juggling 4 sports today!

    I think your team may well be spot on, but I’d look for a twist on the bench?
    As I understand it, Debuchy is the most likely to play from the bench, of the returnees? As such I would expect Calum to make way.
    Also, having Walcott as the only striking option seems a little risky? So either Rosicky or Cazorla drop out, or Theo himself does, for Gnabry. But that again leaves only one option? In which case Serge might have to wait for his spot on the bench until next week (or not if tranny rumours had any truth in them?).

    As for the team, a toss up between keeping Cazorla deep and Ramsey to the bench, but I think we may need Ramsey’s energy to help out in defence?

    All agreed on not taking the game too lightly. However, if the boys up front can be as clinical as in the last game we should be okay.

    Splendid in depth preview, and excellent given your travelling distance. Top marks.

    Keeping the faith ….

  • brilliant – nice one and me amigo

    how were the holidays ? are you back home then or still chilling in the south of America

    hope you had a good time and will be able to join us for the GDC.

    Agreed with you and your starting 11 – however, unlike the majority I want us to win and win by a 3-5 goal margin

    we need to start swelling up the GD as you never know with the title race or race for the 2nd. we have by far the most favourable run out of our rivals hence we need to take full advantage by not only taking the 3 points but doing it by sending a message or 2 across – JGC would know, it matters ; )

    0-4 Arsenal

  • pardon the poor grammar and typos – not easy typing from smaller devices.

    brilliant – nice one and me amigo this run of ours is as much down to your fine writings and previews as the players. Both of you deserve the credit for it (you more so than the players 😉

  • where is that Bashtard anyway – Oi Glics – come out and play

    or do you only come out and play when we are losing 😀 oh the protector of the chart of DOOM.

    caution shaution – handbrakes are off,
    Ozil – Santiago- Aleeeeeeeeeeexis saaaaaanchez bayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybayeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    the trio are unstoppable (although I would still prefer to play with 2 wingers and sacrifice Santiago against Burnley this evening).

    I would play Theo ahead of Santiago and play a 4-3-3 instead of a 4-1-4-1.

  • Wow, you are still leaving out one of a few reasons for our recent success… Unstoppable and ultimate enabler OG! Shame on you, Jibbers! 🙂

  • Yes DM, and you will be one of the first to scream murder when we end up with a narrow win or worse. If you read 17HT post carefully, you realise it is not going to be easy.

  • I agree TA its not gonna be easy
    But I’m confident that we will win just not in what fashion the victory will come.
    Anyone participate in the BAGBAR thing today ?

  • Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell (c), Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Barnes; Vokes, Ings.
    Subs: Gilks, Keane, Ward, Ulvestad, Jutkiewicz, Taylor, Kightly

    ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
    Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck

  • no surprises there then – 11 out of 11 for me Amigo, well done!

    no place for Diaby, JW, Arteta or Debuchy even on the bench which means, they will get a game at Wembley next week.

  • ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    I had this in mind when making that comment and I quote

    “My hunch is that the team that beat Liverpool will be largely unchanged”

  • indeed, I like the foxes and out of all those involved in the relegation battle, I Reckon they can do the impossible.

    I like their nutter coach and his philosophy.

    cracking game, 3-2 to the foxes

  • in the absence of BK’ers , am off to watch the game, be back at half time or if we have people around

  • I’m watching!!

    We look good!

    1-0 more to come one hopes, but tough, 3-0 I suspect if we can get the second that is

    — jgc

  • A well controlled first half.

    Ospina did well with the 2 saves.

    Mike dean is having the best game of his sad career, for once makes a change.

  • bring on THEO and ROSICKY @ AW

    be proactive not reactive.

    Bellerin from being the best RB last week in the country to being the worst this week.

  • Santi a bit off too. Not getting ball outlets forward again quickly enough to create numbers but we are controlling and countering well, esp as Burnley tires

    — jgc

  • Definite close down

    Ozil not probing heavily, Monreal and Bellerin not really going forward. Santi and AR a touch deeper…

    — jgc

  • Ben Morley: Last time Arsenal won at Burnley was in 1970. They went on to do the double, beating Liverpool in the FA Cup final.

    That’s a good spot Ben, Arsenal’s last league win at Turf Moor was in September 1970 – and yes, they did go on to win the double.

  • Our game management ito just retaining possession in last 15/20 minutes was a joy to watch. Very professional. 1-0 To the Arsenal.

  • Good result..
    But I don’t really enjoy the game..
    4-1-4-1 isn’t suite against bus park team..
    We need 4-2-1-3..
    When Welbeck in our attacking become fluid..
    And if we play Welbeck sooner We may win more..
    And it must have been Cazorla insteed Sanchez tobe replaced.. Sanchez play a very great game.. if not for Ospina I will choose him as our MOTM..

    But this result become great after our pity neighbour lost at home.. hahaha..

  • That was a lesson in football reality. Not every game can be won with big figures, but it is about playing with confidence and concentration and taking your chance and that’s what we did. It’s exactly the sort of performance that will make Maureen uncomfortable. And thank you Freddie for boosting Aaron’s confidence this week, simply genius! 🙂

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