Arsenal habitually beat Burnley and need to do so today

Preview of this afternoon’s game at Turf Moor

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The usual five talking points ahead of today’s Premier League fixture away to Burnley

Burnley bullies?
The subject of Arsenal being out-toughed by Sean Dyche’s team was raised at Arteta’s pre-match press conference. However, it’s a bit of a myth by and large. Since the start of 2008, the clubs have met 15 times, four of those in domestic cups. Burnley have one win and one draw from those matches – both at Turf Moor. The win came in the League Cup in December 2008, and the draw was in the League a year later. Since then, 11 games have been played, four of them at Burnley, and the Gunners have triumphed every time. Added to which, the conviction demonstrated in the ten men comeback v Chelsea will hopefully have put paid to the idea that Arteta’s Arsenal don't like it up ‘em. And the bookies agree. If you look at Arsenal's odds for next game, the Gunners are around evens, with Dyche’s team just under 3 to 1.

Suspensions Over
Mikel Arteta will be relieved to see the return of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz after their respective suspensions. Of course, Luiz only missed the FA Cup match at Bournemouth, but captain Aubameyang missed three matches in total after his lunge at Selhurst Park. Arsenal did manage to score five times in those games, although only scoring once in the first at home to Sheffield United proved costly. There’s little doubt both will return to the starting eleven, although up front that does present the head coach with a decision to make…

Four into three won’t go
Gabriel Martinelli has been very impressive in the last two matches, so much so that the only possible reason to rest him would be his relative youth. No-one wants to see another Arsenal youngster overplayed leading to injury. Having said that, the players enjoy two weeks without a game after today, and if Arteta wants to win, he has to play the players that are going to score goals. That would leave a straight choice between Lacazette and Pepe as to who sits this one out. Who’d be a football manager?

Who plays in the hole?
One imagines Lucas Torreira will return to partner Grant Xhaka in central midfield, although whether Mesut Ozil plays in front of them will be interesting to see, specifically because of the impressive display by Joe Willock at Bournemouth. Additionally, Arteta has resisted attempts by Dani Ceballos to return home, presumably on the basis that the Spaniard is in his plans. Ozil has looked more engaged under Arteta, there’s no doubt about that, but whether or not he has actually been more effective is a bit of a moot point. The club seem resigned to the reality that they will be paying him for the remaining 18 months of his contract, so there is an unsaid pressure to get something for their money. What this could mean is inconveniencing Ozil be making him travel north to sit of the bench rather than his sofa at home, as he was wont to do under previous managers. Another decision for Arteta.

Too early for Pablo Mari
The new defender hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since the World Club Championship before Christmas, so aside from the lack of time to integrate with the team, lack of match fitness pretty much counts him out of selection tomorrow, leaving Arteta with a straight choice between Sokratis and Rob Holding as to who will partner the returning David Luiz. My money’s on the Greek, as Arteta has so far been reluctant to used Holding in league games. You’d imagine though, that Mari will surely make his debut after the mid-winter break either at home to Newcastle or away at Olympiacos the following midweek.

Even if a top four finish is out of the question in all respects but mathematical possibility, Arsenal need to qualify for the Europa League next season, which can be worth £40 million to the club. To return to Arteta’s press conference on Friday, he spoke about finances being a factor in what the club were able to do in the January window, and not being certain of European football next season has a lot to do with that, as do the staggered payments that need to be made for Nicolas Pepe and William Saliba – neither of whom were cheap, and both of whom were bought on the never never. A top six place should be enough, unless two sides outside the top six win the two domestic cups (for example Villa over Man City in the League Cup). But to get there, Arsenal need to start converting draws into wins. Since Arteta took over, he’s played six league games, winning one, losing one and drawing four. Seven points from 18. It’s certainly better than relegation form, but they’ll need to improve to start climbing the table. Fortunately, both Manchester United and Spurs are also struggling this season, but at least Arsenal have momentum. Granted, they generally beat Burnley, and a win would send them off to Dubai in the kind of optimistic mood that probably doesn’t apply at Old Trafford and the Lane. As long as they don’t give away cheap goals, they should have enough to take all three points this afternoon, although I’ll grant you, that’s not a given.


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  1. markymark

    Feb 3, 2020, 07:06 #116447

    The one thing that stood out for me is bringing back the experienced Pro’s was a step back. Laca isn’t at the races. Willock over Ozil any day of the week

  2. Nicky3336

    Feb 2, 2020, 22:29 #116446

    It’s oh so easy to bash the manager, but what on earth do you think he will achieve in his first six months?!?! He isn’t the problem here even if I do think he is out of his depth/ this role has come a bit too soon for him. The squad is lacking in any depth and the clear areas where change is required are for me as follows; (1) owners who give a shit, these Kranke dickheads need to stick to what they know best and leave UK football behind them. They have never got what it means to us and never will. So long as you all ‘True fans’ carry on spending a ton+ every match day they’ll sit back laughing all the way to the bank (2) Ozil, the guy is a fucking parasite and gives little or nothing back, how I wish we have sold him in Jan, more so how I wish all these fanboys would stop kissing his arse, he is shit, he’s more often than not always been shit and the sooner he goes the better. How he got 60+mins today beggars belief. (3) The Fans.....overindulged and typically living in the past! Those who are thinking we will compete for league titles in the next five to ten years need a reality check. We won’t and can’t as we don’t have the money to compete with those that are funded by some of the shady owners that now reside in the Premiership. Fit and proper ownership tests don’t consider the origins of the cash (4) AFTV - just watch the morons on there and the bigger morons standing behind them, this dumbed down set of halfwits are the youth of today’s heroes and poster boys. Selfie here, autograph and video there....dickheads the lot of them and the fact they are adorned shows you just what it’s all come to really. How I miss a cold grey Tuesday night at Highbury in the north bank with a gooner in my back pocket to read on the bus ride home

  3. itsRonagain2

    Feb 2, 2020, 21:32 #116445

    GB AFC. It’s not yr message that’s necessarily wrong , it’s the fact that you’re condemning a guy after 6 weeks work following 12 years of inherent decline and poor habits in the club that most of the clubs players in that time have been hopelessly allowed to keep on doing with no redress or accountability. The undertone of yr message is as equally fatally flawed. You clearly thought Arsenal under this owner were going to go out and employ a very top marque proven Coach and in turn fill his boots buying too marque performers. That s why many think you’ve perhaps been living in planet zog since 2004 or that died back then and just been revived by kryongenic restoration. AFC could have put a meerkat in charge and I doubt many sane people would be hounding him down after 6 weeks. Today was shite. Of course it was. Get used to it. There’s no quick fix at the club, not with that squad. If nothings altered in the way of a marked improvement by next Xmas, you ll have far more listeners empathising with yr diatribe.

  4. RobG

    Feb 2, 2020, 20:17 #116444

    Another shocker of a match ; and Burnley really should have had all three points. Once again Ozil gives a performance that if it came from a teenager, you would be charitable to describe as 'committed'. He wasn't and isn't our only problem but the day his contract expires we could invest some of that £350 thousand per week saved, in a decent fireworks display, for the benefit of all in London N5. If we don't make the CL via the EL - and it's obviously our only route - then Auba' will have to be sold in June. This - the improvement - is going to be an agonisingly slow process and Arteta has his work cut out. Quite frankly he will have performed a miracle, if we are back in the CL, via our League position by May of 2021.


    Feb 2, 2020, 19:48 #116443

    No point in offering criticisms of the GB post - we all know there are serious squad issues but anyone with a pair of eyes can already see improvements under Mikel & it's hardly his fault that his 2 "best" strikers aren't half as good as they seem to think (oh for another TH). Comparisons with Ancelloti are ridiculous because Everton have owners that CARE. It's the OWNER stupid!!

  6. Pauljames

    Feb 2, 2020, 18:30 #116442

    I’ve already said I disagree with GB over Arteta however I do agree on Ozil. Willock offered far more against Bournemouth than Ozil has in any game this season, and should have started today . We cannot continue to carry passengers, especially away from home and players like Willock represent the future of the club, the rapidly declining Ozil should be consigned to the past as soon as possible.

  7. markymark

    Feb 2, 2020, 18:06 #116441

    GB - still too early in my view for “told you so articles or replies” We have a history of losing to northern sides away from home . Burnley is an outlier in that previous history. We know the teams up North go in that little bit harder against Arsenal as they think it will knock Arsenal out of shape . We know that Tony Pulis fed a burning hatred of Arsenal into his players at Stoke. I believe one of his team has said it was wrong. Set against that a draw is about expected though a tad disappointing. What Arteta can’t help is both Aubameyang and Lacazette not having their shooting boots on as we could have been 2-0 up and maybe then conceded a late goal. To attack a manager after 2-3 months in and the 3rd one in one season. well expect some brickbats coming your way. I’m sorry but under the last 3 managers based on 18 month form I’d have expected a defeat . Recently we came back to draw against Chelsea with 10 men. IMO you felt embarrassed about that and so come on here after a draw to say try and recover some dignity. I’m afraid it hasn’t worked. Maybe wait until Arsenal suffer a defeat next time.

  8. GB_AFC

    Feb 2, 2020, 16:16 #116440

    I wanted to wait until I'd seen a number of comments to my article (The AKBs are Back) and the reply from "rocky the king", as well as waiting for more games to see if this mythical improvement has taken place. Firstly to those responding with vitrol, comments about going to support another team, or any other such nonsense, you do not need to be responded too - in fact I say thank you for proving one of the points of the article! :-) For those who gave reasoned replies I would say thank you for engaging in dialogue, as fans we are entitled to say how we feel and what we think, and as a diverse fan base we won't always agree but we all want what is best for our club - I just think I've seen enough already (for the reasons I outlined) as to why the blind support for Arteta and excusing of things that shouldn't be excused, has already started and I just think he isn't the answer to our problem as keeps being proven game after game. Like I said in my article - making the players run more and try harder is nice but I do honestly think things were that bad under Unai that any new manager would have got that from the players. However, that isn't the answer - we need structure, tactics, in-game decisions that result is us winning matches, not throwing away points. and once again, today at Burnley we see why (in my view) Arteta isn't up to it. Anyone with a brain wouldn't play ozil away at burnley in the winter - yet he did and once again after a few nice passes in the first 25 minutes, he did nothing the rest of the game and was in fact hauled off (though too late in my view). We now drew against a side we have beaten the last 10 times we have played them including 4 times at their ground - and this was a record from 20 years ago, it's from the recent past (if such an oximoron can be used). There will be those who disagree of course and I respect your right to that view but not to the vitrol and the rise of the new AKBs is reflected in that vitrol. I want our team to do the best we can, and I truly think another manager would have got more from these players. Apart from Benitez, I also mentioned Ancelloti - so now he's got I think 14 points from 21, which is 6 more than then 8 from 21 Arteta has got us. I may be off by 1 point in each case so apologies if I am. The fact is Ancelloti is working with players similar to the ones we have quality wise and he is getting far better results - simply because he is a better manager. So I do hope I am proven wrong and suddenly we do amazingly well and come 6th, or even stop being in a relegation battle (which we mist certainly are in now). Our next 2 games (PL) are home to newcastle and everton - I do not think it's arrogant to expect 6 points from those games. That would make us almost safe and we can look to build for next year, but every time Arteta keeps making decisions - in game or pre-game wit him line ups that cost us points, I truly do not understand those of you trying to defend him and his decisions. Sometimes the manager has to take the blame for poor choices and still maintain a different manager (ancelloti or benitez) would have got more from these players and we'd have more points on the board. Have a great week everyone, enjoy the 2 week break and let's hope we come back with a working system that is based on what we can do, not something that leads to points being dropped almost all the time. No doubt some will try justify today's abject display where we were lucky not to lose (goaline tech working in our favour - nice!) and the manager has to take the blame for poor choice of system, line-up and decisions which contributed to that today. Civil replies would lead to an informed discussion - vitrol as I said just proves the rise of the AKBs. COYG.