Burnley vs Arsenal Preview & General Round Up

Morning All,

It’s been quite a different week in the wonderful world of Arsenal than the last couple of weeks. On Sky Sports, I’m was getting used to the continual chat about how Arsenal are too small and too lightweight and couldn’t compete at the top of the table, and in a way it’s been deserved after our performances against Sunderland and Chelsea. But after the result against Liverpool on the weekend, it was amazing to see the media laud the plaudits on the Arsenal and criticise everyone else.

To be honest, it was a perfect weekend for us, with Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool and Sp*rs all losing, and now we face the test of the mighty Burnley. Now, believe me when I tell you how vital this next game is and believe me when I tell you how hard this game will be for us. Burnley’s home form has been incredible and they’ve knocked the stuffing* out of some very good teams including Man United and that’s some feat for a newly promoted side. I’m kind of hoping that they’ve run out of steam, but we simply can’t underestimate them!

* Christmas puns at the ready!

The Burnley boss has talked about his decent relationship with Arsene and had this to say:

“Arsene’s a top-class manager and he’s someone us young managers aspire to follow in terms of teams playing football of that nature. He’s had to build new teams because he’s lost some top, top stars and he’s continued to find young players and bring them through. I can only speak about our relationship and I’m full of admiration for him – he’s always been very gracious to me and always had a word for me,” he added. If you watch our team, we look to play football. We don’t have overly-physical players in our team. We like to think we are competitive but there has always been good football in games between ourselves and Arsenal and I don’t see any reason why that should be any different tomorrow night.”

Well, it’s true, they do play well, and try to play football, but I do think they will be a little physical and that’s probably the main reason that Coyle has mentioned it… so expect a physical battle… Looking ahead to tonight’s game, and looking at the possible team news, Denilson is out of the game with a recurrence of his back injury and I hope he’s not out for long. He does add some span to the midfield – he is energetic and well defensively minded which helps the other members of the team. Traore is also out injured, but news is that he won’t be out for too long, whilst Eboue returns to the squad in his place.

Looking at who is available to play, the team line up could well be:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Silvestre

Song – Diaby

Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin

Eduardo

With the recent injury to Rosicky and the fact that Nasri has played so many games recently, I’d expect him to be rested, with Eduardo coming back into the team. Walcott only had 60 minutes or so on the weekend, so he may be in line for his second start in quick succession. It’s a much tougher one to predict as Aaron Ramsey has been playing so well recently and their are still question marks over whether Walcott will start his second game in a row. With Vela also available, it may not be exactly as thought.

At the moment, reviewing the comments on the site, and general consensus is that Almunia is punching below his weight. Many people would like to see Fabianski replace him, and I have to say I do think Almunia’s decision making hasn’t been great this season. Looking back at some of the goals conceded this season, of course, many are his fault. I’d expect Arsene to stick by him for a few more games, as the confidence of a goalkeeper is a fragile one, but the question is whether or not Fabianksi is any better or more of the same? He is much younger, so more likely to improve…

Looking at the squad, the lack of strikers / defensive cover, I don’t think Arsene will go out and buy anyone, but he did say this:

“Robin Van Persie is a very, very long-term injury and we are open-minded on the transfer market. But I don’t want to promise things that I don’t really know I will do at the moment. Mainly I am expecting our players to come back [from injury].”

But of course, with RvP and Bendtner out injured for a while, his hand could be forced… we’ll see in the next few weeks.

Back to tonight’s game… your thoughts welcome….

  • jeffvip

    Among 3 keeper we have I still think Almunia is the best we can offer. Btw, I doubt AW will buy another keeper

  • Gooner Get Ya

    According to my fantasy league both Arshavin and Cesc are doubtful with a foot injury (Arshavin) and back injury (Cesc)…is that wrong?

  • VJ

    yeah i think they will play the both of them though i also hope mannone is continuing to improve though his fame was short lived 9 games we did keep 4 clean sheets compared to the 4 in the rest of the season, he obviously has talent, fabianski is also good with great reactions and great catching and he comes out a lot and can punch the ball quite the opposite to almunia so i don’t know though i hope someone does take a stand because we just conceed too many silly goals good luck for tonight guys it should hopefully be a victory for the gunners

  • Berth

    I dont like the thought of Walcot starting. I havn’t been impressed by him.The thought of fabianski replacing Alumnia is just uneccesary talk; If at all then Mannone should be the man.

    As for Edu, all I need is a goal from him to kick start his scoring spree. so we fans should campaign for edu to score. Am gunning for him, do I have followers?

  • Leeroy.N

    With our keepers I just think the main problem they have is decision making from set pieces. I have no doubts about their stopping capabilities. Just for them to sit down and do some homework about coming off their line when needed and catching instead of punching will serve them a great deal.

    We do need to stick to our strongest 11 as possible, in saying that, we need to play our most successfull. So taking out Walcott and Eduardo and replacing with Nasri and Diaby would (IMO) be more successfull. But we need to channel our energy into bring forward Walcott and Eduardo, they both aren’t firing on all cylinders and they need as many minutes as possible to get themselves into top form.

    Burnley are a difficult team to play at home. They play their heart out for the fans. We need to do the same. Come on you Gunners!

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • devday

    The issue with Walcott is that he hasn’t had any games. I remember last season, he was one of the first names on the team sheet. He makes defenders so nervous with his pace, that it seems their flow.

    Almunia is woeful on crosses, but I don’t think any of the three GKs are very good at crosses nowadays! But looking at Van Der Sar, Cech and Reina, it seems no one is…!!

  • devday

    PS, Silvestre will definitely start… Arsene said this today:

    “Traore is out,” said Wenger. “I am down to my fourth choice of left-back, it will be Silvestre [who plays at Burnley]. That’s not good news for Silvestre!

    “Armand has a hamstring [injury], grade one, so it will be ten days. This week he is out, maybe he will make Aston Villa [on December 27].”

    Funny guy old Arsene!

  • Marc Callan

    Regarding the keepers, I think it’s tough to decide who to replace Almunia cuz will they be able to get to the standard…Almunia has been out of his depth for a long time in my opinion, he never was the long term replacement for Lehmann, he was just lucky to get him when he too did a few silly mistakes…I quite like Mannonne but Fabianski is an international and is a little older…

    With the way left back is going I think one of us could be playing there with the amount of injuries happening there…Walcott amd Edu only need a few more games and Burnley could be the right test for them…Just hoping no more niggling injuries…is the game on sky, setanta or ESPN?

  • Leeroy.N

    I don’t think they are showing the game live. It may have to be an internet stream job for me!

  • Leeroy.N

    Anyone have any good places to watch?

  • Marc Callan

    Think some Arab TV will be showing it, my local always seems to get the game no matter were Arsenal are playing, it’s just trying to convence the Man United g/f to go with me…

    Come on Arsenal, 3 points and a clean sheet please

  • devday

    You’re right Leeroy, the game isn’t being showed anywhere.

    SSN possible line ups:

    Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Jordan, Carlisle, Bikey, Caldwell, Eagles, Alexander, Elliott, Blake, Fletcher.

    Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Silvestre, Song, Diaby, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Eduardo.

  • devday
  • devday

    @Marc

    Why do most Gooners have girlfriends who support United!

  • Leeroy.N2

    I think Nasri and Diaby is a good shout if so. It will give an added dimension going forward. We saw how much trouble Nasri caused for Liverpool at times. Jensen is a good keeper, so we need a clever and clinical striker. Time for Eduardo to shine. Come on you Gunners!!!!

  • Adeniyi

    Burnley 0 Arsenal 1.. Fabregas 7″

  • Adeniyi

    Penalty!!!!

    Burnley 1 Arsenal 1..