Good day and all.
Arsenal got their Premier League campaign underway with a winning start against Newcastle last Sunday. This afternoon we are going at it again… hosting Burnley at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners weren’t at their best up Upon Tyne eh; had a hairy moment or two but being the first game and all the Magpies just couldn’t find the back of the net. Likewise we could’ve scored one or two more but for unfamiliarity within a matchday XI, blended with youth and experience, and an initial touch in the attacking third not quite there yet.
My point is I don’t think we ought to read too much into the performance of a side missing quite a few expected to be the backbone of this seasons campaign, but rather take comforts of an away clean sheet and not showing the defensive underbelly so often derided for.
Burnley endured a run of poor results on the back of a European jaunt at the start of their PL campaign last season. However, this time they got off to a perfect start with an impressive 3-0 victory against Southampton at Turf Moor. A win they will take great confidence from building up to today, if one takes into account they scored 15 goals in a five game pre-season winning run prior to that. While they would like to maintain that momentum, Sean Dyche wouldn’t mistake them for Brazil 1970 as he is well aware that the Clarets doesn’t have a pretty head-to-head record against the Gunners.
Since bringing his side up to the PL he is yet to win a single point against us – in fact the last time Burnley beat Arsenal was over four decades ago. They also got a recurring trend of shipping goals at the Emirates; while conceding on average one goal/game at Turf Moor, they leak three on average at the Ems. One player that would be licking his chops for this fixture is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Since signing for the Gunners he has faced them three times, scoring a brace in each match.
With that in mind it’s unlikely that the Clarets will “have a go”, but rather opt to be well organised wanting to make things difficult for us with two banks of four, while patiently waiting to play it long or over the top whenever possible.
One of our drawbacks last term was that too often we allowed the opposition to play in our half, which in turn let them grow into games. This is something we need to minimise because the Clarets are a side that if you give them a bit, they can turn it into imposing bursts that will make you doubt yourselves. Ergo we should try put them on the backfoot from the onset and not leave things too late.
Unai Emery got himself a headache this week with Lacazette, David Luiz, Ceballos, Torreira, Pépé and even Özil and Kolasinac all reported to be available for selection, while there’s concerns over the fitness of Xhaka who suffers with back pains.
Whomever gets the nod, all eyes will be on our shimmering attack to see if give a good account of themselves ahead of tougher opponents in our next two league games.
Both sides will want to maintain their winning starts so this could be a tricky encounter, considering Arsenal will make quite a few changes and Burnley, well, Sean Dyche must be thinking “they have to crack some time”.
With the cheer that followed our transfer window starting to simmer down the Emirates faithful are anticipating a good campaign with better football compared to last season. So fingers crossed to Gunners give us all much to happy about.