Walcott Expected To Feature Against Burnley
Arsenal vs Burnley Match Preview – Premier League – 01.11.14
Something has been lacking in this Arsenal squad for a few months now but bar a few losses the results have been kind to The Gunners. Arsenal are picking up points in both the Champions League and Premier League where maybe they have been extremely fortunate to do so. Recent results against Sunderland and Anderlecht are excellent examples of Arsenal not playing well but picking up wins and surely this suggests a cohesive and clinical in-form Arsenal will rack up a decent run of wins.
Arsenal were as poor as I’ve ever seen them against Anderlecht but were slightly improved against Sunderland. The next two game are at home, against Burnley today and Anderlecht in the week and Wenger will be looking at these two games at highly winnable and before you know it we have a four game winning streak before facing Swansea and Manchester United.
Burnley is the exact sort of game you’d expect to see a little rotation to keep players fresh and introduce those lacking in game time but with Burnley 9 games in without a win and Arsenal struggling for consistently good form you could forgive Wenger for playing those who could probably do with a little breather.
Theo Walcott is back and it is rumoured that he could start but I’d be surprised if he did. A bench role seems most likely and hopefully he comes on to see the game out rather than to help chase a result. Wilshere is out and Gibbs is doubtful so we might see Chambers move back into the middle, Monreal out to the left and Bellerin back into the starting line-up. Ramsey will most likely come back into the team at the expense of Flamini but should Sanchez continue in the free role behind Welbeck then we might be better off sticking with the status quo.
If Walcott does play today I expect him and Sanchez will form an instant understanding with immediate results.
This is a potential banana skin – Arsenal are 22 games unbeaten in the league at the Emirates, Burnley are without a win and suffering the worst goal differential in the league and Arsenal haven’t been at the races. It would be so like Arsenal to be the first team to lose to Burnley and would probably do so whilst playing their best stuff.
These are the sorts of games, on paper, you count the points for before the game or at least most big clubs do however it is exactly this sort of game that Arsenal tend to slip up in. I’m confident but wary.
Arsenal from; Szczesny, Martinez, Bellerin, Chambers, Monreal, Mertesacker, Arteta, Flamini, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Alexis, Cazorla, Walcott, Welbeck, Campbell, Podolski
Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Chambers, Monreal, Arteta, Ramsey, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Welbeck, Sanchez
I expect to see substitute appearances from Arteta, Walcott and Podolski
“We know Burnley are a difficult opponent – much more difficult than the numbers indicate in the table. We will focus and be ready.” – Arsène Wenger
Last 3 Meetings
- Arsenal 3-1 Burnley (06.03.2010)
- Burnley 1-1 Arsenal (16.12.2009)
- Arsenal 3-0 Burnley (08.03.2009)
Arsenal Last 5
Burnley Last 5
Burnley are not as poor as the stats suggest is the warning from Wenger – they will probably go down but this is the Premier League and anyone can be beaten by any team regardless of the gulf. They are strong at set-pieces and that has been one of Arsenal’s weakest areas this season – something to watch out for.
- Burnley have conceded 12 goals in their last 4 games
- Burnley were the first non top flight domestic opponent to beat a Wenger side when they won 2-0 in the 2008 league cup
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 22 home league matches
- Burnley have not beaten Arsenal away since September 1974
- Arsenal have gone behind in each of their home league games this season
Burnley have found goals hard to come by so will probably rely on keeping tight, compact lines and frustrating Arsenal for long enough to capitalise on any mistakes we make as we chase the game. Patience could well be the order of the day and not just from the players. Although Arsenal will need to put some goals in early to keep the crowd on side. I’m going for 4-0 to Arsenal with another brace from Sanchez, a Walcott late goal and the opener from Welbeck.
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