Arsenal-Burnley: Gunners Can Go Second With a Win vs Clarets

After Saturday’s results–Liverpool’s shock home loss to Swansea and Manchester City playing Tottenham to a draw–Arsenal can move ahead of all these clubs and into second place.  A win would get us within five points of league leaders Chelsea who play Hull City just after our match concludes.

Although Burnley have notched only a single point on their league travels this season (at Manchester United, however) they have been playing well recently and would find themselves back in the top half of the table if they could pull off an upset and win at the Emirates.  Sean Dyche, managing his 200th match for the club, would love to celebrate with a result that catches up to his team’s fine road performances and matches their recent winning run at home.  Burnley have gotten much better results at Turf Moor.  In just the past week they’ve beaten Southampton in league play and added another home win in a midweek FA Cup replay vs Sunderland.

Gooners will also remember that it took a very late and controversial goal from Laurent Koscielny to beat the Clarets when we played them at their place earlier this season.  In that match, Burnley were very well organized and were able to frustrate our attacking game while appearing dangerous several times from set pieces and on the counter.

They will surely set out again to defend first and will not mind giving us plenty of possession.  How then does manager Arsene Wenger set up his team to break down a resolute Burnley squad?

My guess is that he goes with almost the same group he put out a week ago at Swansea City, switching only his fill-in at right back, Gabriel Paulista, for the usual starter, Hector Bellerin, just back from injury.  Here’s the group I think Wenger will play:

Substitutes: Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Perez

Many observers would prefer Alexis to start as our center forward with Olivier Giroud, who hobbled off with an ankle knock at Swansea, relegated to the bench.  Wenger has suggested that Giroud’s injury isn’t serious and I think he’ll be keen to start the big Frenchman who has scored in each of his last five matches.  Some feel that we can break down the parked bus teams better with the pacier Alexis up front.  My feeling is that teams who choose to sit deep nullify our pace by leaving less space in behind their back line.  As such, deploying Giroud, a slower but more natural target man who can play with his back to goal, seems the superior tactic.  To each their own, of course, but my hunch is that Wenger goes with Ollie up front once again.

Others might prefer additional changes in the squad.  Francis Coquelin, also just back from injury, might be preferred to either Granit Xhaka or Aaron Ramsey at the rear of our midfield.  The Xhaka-Ramsey double pivot started very slowly at both Swansea and in our FA Cup match at Preston North End, where we were quite fortunate that we only went behind by a single goal before the duo worked out the kinks and the team scored a pair of goals to seal the victory.  We didn’t do much better in previous matches with Coquelin in the team, shipping three goals in the first half at Bournemouth and taking more than 85 minutes to finally break a deadlock vs West Bromwich Albion back on Boxing Day.  No matter who plays, winning the midfield battles, moving the ball forward cleanly and at pace, and getting off on the front foot vs Burnley will all be keys to victory.

What do you think?  Who should Wenger play and how can we beat a Burnley team that will surely be both motivated and resolute?

Arsenal have tough away matches on the horizon at Southampton (FA Cup), Chelsea (Premier League) and Bayern Munich (Champions League) so it’s tempting to look past this one.  The chance to go second in the league should be a motivator but we also need to build upon the good result and better performance a week ago at Swansea and put more stodgy efforts (and a pair of road losses back in December) further behind us.  As we know, however, there are no easy matches in English Football so here’s to a focused, committed and commanding performance along with the three points.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

122 thoughts on “Arsenal-Burnley: Gunners Can Go Second With a Win vs Clarets

  • great preview and that will be the line up, Seventeenho.

    Would love a start for Welbeck though, and play 4-1-2-3:

    ———- Xhaka —————
    ———- Alexis —- Ozil —-
    Perez —————–Welbeck
    ———— Giroud ————

    Won’t happen though 😀⚽️

  • Do Burnley have a speed merchant on their left flank, if not then maybe retaining Paulista for this game, might be an idea as our Brazilian would give us more of an aerial presence against Burnley’s favourite avenue of attack?
    Just a thought….
    Nice preview Mr President 😉

  • HT, your picture is clear, they would sit very deep and try to catch us on the counter.

    Goal scorers in Giroud and Sanchez. Chaos provocateurs in Sanchez and Iwobi. Orchestrating, linking things together in Ozil. Providing width going forward and also pace against Burnley counters in Bel and Gibbs. The midfield they would willingly concede to us, so we will push le Coq up for high pressing to help nip their counters in the bud. Xhaka stays deeper to initiate our counters to their counter. 1st names on the sheet, Cech, Kos and Musti.

    Expected line up:

    ————Cech———-
    Bel–Musti–Kos–Gibbs
    ——Coq—–Xhak——
    Iwobi—-Ozil—–Sanchez
    ————Giroud————

    Bench: Ospina, Gab, Nacho, Rambo, Ox, Perez, Welbz.

  • The present Burnley side have a reputation for knowing how to defend deep and to scrap; they can be difficult on their day, as seen from that 2-0 win against Liverpool right after we lost to same side at home. So, here’s hoping they have a bad day. If we start fast, score early and keep the aggression, it can be a high scoring win.

    The manager does like to keep an unchanged squad, barring injuries, so we may see Gabriel at RB. I don’t see too many changes seeing as we don’t have any game midweek, or anything to worry about.

  • Hi all.. Nice post 17ht..
    I like your line up rather than TA.. hehehe..

    TA.. I like your team 4-1-2-3.. But if only Ozil replace with Ramsey or Cazorla.. Ozil is good in attacking but not in defense..

    Yes, last night was a sweet Saturday night.. hahaha..
    And it will be even better if we Win and Chelsea draw.. A perfect weekend.. hehehe..

    Let’s Rock.. Go Gunners.. VCC

  • Sorry HT,
    I feel I should apologise to you, as much of the discussion on the previous post included this game, largely because I wrote about the possible rotation of teams. The thing was I misread the sequence of the that post’s title, and thought it vital that a win over Burnley before going into that ‘3 in 8 days’.
    So any absence of comments, because most have had their say, could be down to me :OOPS

    I am also one whom you mention, wants a different line up to those who played last time. I have every reason to think AW will oblige, but not necessarily the way I would go.
    Reasons for not starting with Giroud:
    1, He does not have to play a player who could not continue in the last game. Suspected bruised ankle, rather than ligament damage? So why do so?
    2, Giroud will take a battering early on if he does start.
    3, Tactics, It does not improve our chances of scoring early on. A sole attacking player is invariably easy to close down, whether it be by high balls to his head, or quick balls to his feet, simply because of where Giroud plays. A fresh defence will guard their box with up to 8 or 9 outfield players, and for all his hold up skills, Giroud is predictable. He has been scoring goals either late in the first half, or in the final 45 minutes, because the concentration levels of defenders start to drop off. Ergo, all the time we are battering away and the score remains 0-0, we leave ourselves open to the possibility for them to score on the counter, which then gives them renewed energy to fight longer, and to hang on to any advantage they have.
    4, Tactics 2. Without Giroud as a target we have to play around their crowded middle from the moment we regain possession. We need to do that at speed. Preferably before they reset their defensive wall. Pass and move is key. Pull players out of position, and do not linger on the ball. Pass quickly and accurately. Basic requirements for whatever team lines up, but at least we are more likely to score early, and that is the major advantage of playing the likes of; Alexis, iwobi, Ozil and either Welbeck or Ox, although the latter would be more useful with Giroud in the middle later on?

    That is the argument for just one change up front. Welbeck for Giroud.
    However, the supporting players to go with that quick countering style also needs some thinking about, especially as some options might not be fully fit to start: Gibbs, Bellerin, Coquelin, and Walcott. Midfield, the Xhaka Ramsey pairing has not proved to be ideal, but their were signs that a more disciplined approach by them did help support the FB’s better last time. It is still a concern though, and possibly the only reason to go for the slow, controlled possession game, and simply wear them down?

    So HT, I think you may have the right 18 in the squad, but just how far will AW push injured or post injured players only he can answer. However, the elephant in the room remains. Contract talks?
    Not only the top two, but Gibbs and Ox. If there is any hope of keeping Alexis, I think he needs to start as the False 9. Scoring goals, the golden boot, is what will make him happy, and a happy Alexis is more likely to play at his sharpest best, and we have not seen that for a while?

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  • Good Morning… Teams are in… and Gooneris got it right…Unchanged from last Saturday…

    Arsenal: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Xhaka, Iwobi, Özil, Sánchez, Giroud. Subs: Gibbs, Lucas Pérez, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Bellerín, Coquelin.

    Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Marney, Hendrick, Defour, Gray, Barnes.
    Subs: Flanagan, Vokes, Kightly, Robinson, Barton, Tarkowski, Darikwa.

    Referee: Jonathan Moss (County Durham)

  • Yaaaay! Lol.
    Just felt Gabriel has done well, so far and will offer better defensive solidity in a game where we have enough offensively to hurt the opposition. Bellerin will work harder and will be ready whenever he is restored.
    Xhaka will be playing with caution knowing this is the same ref who gave him a red card for a tackle from behind incident, usually a yellow card as in the “cynical foul” category. Let’s just do this!

  • Hey Eris… Well Done!

    Maybe Bellerin isn’t fully fit, or maybe, like you say, AW wants Gabriel in for his defending. Tim from Tacoma http://7amkickoff.com/index.php/2017/01/21/arsenal-v-burnley-the-stats-say-this-should-be-an-easy-win-for-the-arsenal/ points out that Burnley are quite the long-ball team so maybe Gabby staying back a bit and having his taller frame in there at corners and set pieces is a reason. As I recall from the match at Turf Moor they controlled some headers from corners and almost scored a couple of times with headed balls from Sam Vokes. Funny then that he’s on the bench today along with new guy Joey Barton who curls in some pretty good set pieces (as well as getting under the skin of a Gunner or two)…

    Agreed with your general sentiment: Let’s do this!.

  • Gerry, didn’t Giroud score an early goal vs Crystal Palace?… Scoring from a cross that was a yard behind him with the back of his heel probably won’t happen again but I doubt that his inclusion in the line-up must preclude him (or any of the others) from scoring an early one… Worry on, however, if you like…

    Burnley are playing a pacier pair up front so maybe they’ve noted that Xhaka-Ramsey can be pressed into a giveaway or two. (That’s my sort of worry…)

    Teams coming out onto the pitch…

  • Nice summation there.

    Aaaargh! I forgot to add that we can expect some nonsense from Joey Barton, if/when he comes on. He will either get a red or get someone sent off.

  • What did I miss?… I had to go up on the roof and clear snow from the satellite… Missed from about from the 10th to the 20th minutes…

  • Not much missed, then. Burnley holding their own while Arsenal probed and probed, but made to fight for every ball. Not sure of the key highlights during the period you described 😉

  • I like the intensity of the game and that’s down to both sides. I am really worried we didn’t break them down in the 1st half because it only gives them confidence they can get something. Alexis has to be a bit more precise with his passes and there were times he could have made the easy pass but he chooses the intricate through balls.

    We may have to bring on Welbeck and/or Perez to get the breakthrough. Bellerin may find a place now, we need to chase it aggressively. Manager has to make the changes quicker than the 70th minute, if it remains 0-0 for longer than 15 minutes into the 2nd half. Giroud off; Gabriel off (not because he’s not done well, but for tactical reasons); maybe Ox for Iwobi or Ramsey.

  • A bit of worry for Petr Cech’s face here at the end of the half…

    I guess Gerry was “right” about no early goals but at least it was no early goals in both directions… The game has been a bit more open than I would have expected so maybe Alexis up front would allow his unpredictable (high risk, high reward) style to flourish a bit more. To me we miss the close control in MF positions that I prefer to slip some balls through the back line… Instead, we’ve had some nice mid-range passing and some good (longer) runs forward that haven’t quite come off along with some longer shots that Heaton has dealt with well…Shame that Alexis missed the target after making such nice space for himself on that attempt from a bit closer in…

    What to do? We’re definitely sluggish down the right so maybe Bells for Gabby on a straight swap or, of course, pulling Giroud, moving Iwobi to the left (or putting DW or Lucas over there…) and Ox on the right? I have no idea…another reason I’m not the manager… 😀

  • Cheers ‘eris….

    It looks like I was on the roof when Ozil just missed Giroud’s toe with his well saved shot from just outside of the box…

    I agree about Alexis…He’s definitely a superior player with even greater belief in his ability to make the trickiest shots, passes and dribbles. Do I wish he had similar belief in his teammates and their abilities?… Yes, yes I do… (And maybe if he did, he’d sign that contract…)

    2nd half on…

  • Alexis over at the end of a strong counter-attack… Just about placed it where Rambo put his attempt at a scorpion kick a bit earlier…

  • Fans booing Nacho’s attempt to find Ramsey in the box…Potshots from Xhaka preferred?…

  • Only one he seems to trust, in any form, is Ozil and it shows.

    Expect some time wasting and rough house tactics from Burnley. Would get worse if Barton comes on.

  • I agree with that observation, ‘eris….

    Alexis seems to be taking up more central positions here in the 2nd half and actually wins a corner out on the right… Decent pen shout for Gray’s tackle on Mustafi…

  • Listening to the game on the radio, and I can hear the frustration of the home fans, so it’s a kind of game we’ve seen before…

    Looks like we’ve misssd out on a penalty!

  • First goal for the club…

    Ideally we can build on it with Burnley maybe pushing up a bit to try and get an equalizer…

  • And there we go, 1-0 to the good guys…

    Set up for a run out for Welbeck perhaps after the battering that Giroud must have taken…?

    Just heard that Lowton was cautioned for a snide kick on Alexis.
    Wonder if that was picked up by the 4th official and relayed to the ref..?

  • Another corner but this one taken short to Ramsey whose cross misses everybody by 10-15 yards… If you could cross Ozil’s technical precision with Ramsey’s belief and never say die running you’d have a hell of a player…

    Xhaka gets another straight red from Jon Moss!!!

  • Seems harsh (again) but still a stupid one…

    Big work to do now but at least we’ve got a lead….

  • Moss must have it in for Xhaka. That is the worse piece of decision making I have ever seen.

  • Problem is it changes the whole equation of substitutions for us now. Now, Xhaka will miss 3 games for that? With all the tackles we see flying around in this league, that is most harsh.

  • Alexis has to be cautious to avoid losing the ball too frequently. I say Welbeck on for Giroud too, because he will give them a different problem and is as good in the air as Giroud.

  • By the ref or by Xhaka? It seems as if Moss took counsel from his linesman who had the direct angle on the tackle, so maybe it wasn’t all Moss’ call anyhow… Xhaka had just lost the ball and dove in without thinking…A very poor decision (on Xhaka’s part) esp. if you know the ref isn’t afraid to give the straight red…

    We’re under pressure now with Fk’s and corners and here comes Joey B…

  • Very poor tackle on Ozil but only gets a yellow…and an injury for the offender…

  • Kos looks OK…Just got a key toe in so that Cech could pounce on a loose one in close…. Mustafi takes a hand to the face…

  • Giroud nursing his ankle as well…

    Kos did some good work on the ball, got fouled and is hobbling around…but still takes the FK…. Hopefully both are OK…

  • Welbeck on for Giroud, a substitution made a bit later than maybe if should have been done…

  • Good move, Bellerin for Ozil…

    Hector can bomb down the flanks as Burnley push on…

  • 7 mins of extra time coming… Geezus…

    Arsenal, however, have had the better chances… First Bells for Welbs with the rebound falling to Coq who draws a fine save…then Welbs through on goal but Heaton gets to it first…

  • Chelsea fan Ray Wilkins is laughing on the radio…

    Chelsea must have it almost in their pocket now…

    Anthony Taylor 4th official and Wenger gets sent off again with him on the touchline…

  • Yellow for Mustafi who wanted the ball quickly so he could throw it… Burnley player down wasting time…

  • Penalty for us!!

    Kos clobbered as he went to hit Alexis’ lofted ball…

  • Panenka…The name escaped me when Alexis did it…

    Go on you Hull Tigers!

  • Wow! That was a humdinger of a game! I felt my heart pounding at 1-1; not sure the old ticker can take too much of such. Wow!

    Kos was offside but if United can get calls going for them (3 goals already from offside incidents), we deserve a break too.

  • 8 minutes of madness..

    For a while it seems that we are dropping 2 points but the late penalty, which we should have had one earlier, meant that the ref made amends of his bad calls.

    More tomorrow,
    JK

  • 17HT, I don’t know how you can watch and type that fast, but great job man! Hehehe. 3 points is never been so sweet, especially because you know Barton was on to hold things down and be mischievous.

  • Between all the stoppages for pens and arguing them and then taking them and players faking injury and AW being sent down the tunnel, etc., etc… there’s actually a lot of downtime… I’m not quite a touch-typer (or keyboarder as they probably say today) and I like to check for typos but I like to do it as it helps me with my own set of nerves…

    Overall, to my mind, too much of this crazy game hinges on the refs and their (very) imperfect vision(s)… Yet the punters would (of course) put it all on the manager if we’d drawn…

    Appealing the red card might make some sense as we’re really low on bodies in midfield…

  • Sorry TA, I’m with ‘eris on this one… Kostafi all day long for me… 😀

  • Also thought that Ramsey played a lot better in this game. Our attackers had an off day though, all missing sharpness and connection with each other

  • Wow.. Glad we get full points.. So many surprises weekend..
    Hope it closed with another big surprise.. hehehe.. Come On.. Hull.. the Tigers..

  • I think it’s a red too, but appealing it might still be a good idea… Our 4th game out is Hull City at home… Of course, when Hull beat Chavs in this next one, I may think differently… 😀

    Yeah, Xhaka, skilled as he is just isn’t quite adjusted to the quickness and commitment in this league. Upcoming matches will be an even bigger showcase for Rambo now…

  • Straight red is three matches unless it’s the last man back or “professional” foul, I’m pretty sure… Two footed flying tackle falls under violent conduct, I think… Are there extra games out for too many reds?

    Regardless, I think we’ll have to go with Ram-elin or Coq-sey for (at least) these next three matches unless Egypt fail to get out of their group and Elneny returns early… Le Coq was a bit unlucky, I thought, to have his fine shot reaction saved by Heaton… His pen, however, wasn’t too clever…

    Both of them need to avoid the muscle injuries and stay fit here… I think, however, that they could make a fine pairing and be hard to break up when we get both Xhaka and Elneny back in the group…

  • Hull doing well. With Snodgrass and Huddlestone in the team they have a chance to get something out of it. Good players. Ooooh bad clash of heads

  • Wow. Shades of last year’s draw with Southampton before Mustafi brokethrough. All the chances in the world but piss poor finishing. Still, wow. We’ve witnessed some crazy games this season. Speaks volumes about this team’s will and spirit… and perhaps a bit of luck.

    Really unfortunate re Xhaka. Desperately needs to iron that out of his game. As TA said, he played wonderfully before that. Perhaps the best I’ve seen him in an Arsenal shirt. Not only was his distribution typically impressive, he seemed more focused and rarely lost possession which has been (in my opinion) his biggest shortcoming this season.

    Anyone know the details of his latest ban..?

  • Big stoppage for head injury to Ryan Mason, the former Spur… Hull still have it at nil-nil but this doesn’t seem good…

  • Two footed, yes, but with no malice whatsoever. If refs would give a red every time midfielders/defenders lunge, teams will barely finish with 11 men each game. If the ref gave a yellow, I am not sure too many will question him.

    I can’t help but feel it won’t be a red, had that been a Burnley player in the exact same action.

  • It looks indeed that a straight red is now a ban of three games. He will get an extra game for it being his second red, so that is four games out. Luckily Le Coq is back again..

  • The guardian play by play this morning compared Arsenal’s first 11 with one British player (Ramsey) to Burnley’s 10 from Britain (and Ireland)… You would hope the refs aren’t prejudiced in that way but I wouldn’t count on it… Maybe less so now that Mike Dean has been demoted to the Championship…

  • I thought I saw a headline about Snodgrass off to China…

    As optimistic as I’d like to be, I don’t see Hull getting anything here… They had a corner and a free-header from it but it went straight to Cortois… It seemed one they needed to score…

  • Snodgrass is a big miss. He reportedly, has a muscle injury. He would have given this Chelsea defence some problems from set pieces, to be fair.

  • Hey TA, how’s the weather in Scotland? It’s nutty here with wind plastering the snow to all our windows above the accumulation. We’ve shoveled almost 3 feet worth in the past couple of days but we’re due for a break after today’s final pulse…

  • Isn’t that a yellow for kicking the ball after the offside flag goes up?… I remember RvP getting a 2nd for doing likewise at Barcelona many years back…

  • McGuire has given Courtois something to worry about. What a hit to sting the keeper’s palms.

  • You guys are more optimistic than I am… It seemed a routine save even if it yielded a corner (which came to nothing)… Replay shows Costa was just about onside… 9 minutes of injury time…

  • The bump teams get from a new manager in the saddle, 17TH. Hull are playing well. And that’s all I hoped for from them. Just give the leaders a good game. The rest will follow.

  • There was a foul on a Hull player before that goal. Inconsistency from these refs baffles.

  • Diego Costa does some sort of weird “talk” celebration but gets the breakthrough goal… 😦

    You are probably right ‘eris about the effort given for a new coach…Hopefully they can keep at it and nick one…

  • Pen shout for Hull…Not given, of course…

    Looking forward to your match report, TA…Enjoy the weather… I’m staying in today…

  • Curtis Davies injured and should be off. That leaves Hull a bit open. They have played with guts, so far and deserve some breaks. Two players off injured doesn’t help the cause.

  • I mixed in a little basketball (Warriors-Orlando) but keep coming back to the match as it’s still just a one goal margin… The force changes don’t bode well for Hull esp. when Chavs can bring in the likes of Cesc and Willian…

  • No match report?… Even I could name a positive or two… 😀

    We’ve definitely got some issues but we got the result so we can move on…Until the next chance for the sky to come tumbling down… 😀 😦

  • To be fair, no one expected Hull to get anything here so nothing (or little) has changed for the calculations. Next two league games will be crucial for both Chelsea and Arsenal.

  • 2nd is a big jump and I am well pleased. We need to keep winning as many points as possible and apply pressure on the Chavs, within two games the gap could be just two points and if it is five it is also good.

  • Ouch, tough on the Ox what with all those Spuddies there in Hull…With all the MFs out we’ll probably be needing the Ox over the next few…Unless we’re gonna buy here before the window closes… LOL, rolly eyes, more (demented) LOLs….

  • How many matches will AW’s touchline ban be? So many Gooners want him gone, so (for them at least) it should represent something positive…

  • It’s never over for the Ox… He got on ahead of DW and Lucas in the Swansea match. FA cup match at his old club should be a showcase for him….

  • TA, you know I basically agree with you about the Ox but I think his (so called…) versatility keeps him at Arsenal… Maybe in the summer but Lucas (getting even less playing time…) might want out as well… Also, you wouldn’t want to alienate the fans who prefer the English boys… Cutting Jenks loose was already a bold move…even if it’s yet to come off…

    What about the Brexit? Can quotas be far behind?… 😀 😦

  • Versatility in haircuts maybe. I expect him to be gone within two weeks to six months. I would play Perez any day ahead of the Ox. The fans prefer the best players but yeah the Ox is still loved.

  • I guess it all depends on what the new manager wants to do… If Alexis and Ozil leave it might mean a lifeline for the Ox….

    I should probably put some winky faces in there as (obviously) I hope the two players and the manager choose to stay…

    My wife appreciates your note re: Ox’s hair…

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