Burnley Preview: Arsenal Must Raise Their Game To Win

Win at Turf Moor this afternoon and the job is properly done. Add three points to those from the north London derby and one hand is on the Fourth Place Trophy.

The only problem with that theory is November. We never win in the eleventh month of the year is the received wisdom – a bit like Harry Kane never scoring in August. Maybe we should rechristen it ‘Lovember’? Chortle.

With only Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla on the injured list, there’s no reason to change last weekend’s line-up:

Cech; Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Sanchez, Özil; Lacazette

Unless of course, Wenger suspects the level of intensity displayed will drop. I expect it to; Burnley, god bless ’em, don’t stir the same level of animosity as Tottenham but we need to internalise that and raise them to that level.

At some point, I will patronise the Clarets for their performances thus far; I might as well get it out of the way early doors. They sit higher in the table now they expected to be and with just two defeats, it’s a position they deserve to occupy. No ifs or buts, that’s just how it is.

Three wins, three draws and one defeat in all competitions at Turf Moor – I’m being generous since Leeds was technically a defeat but it was on penalties, and I feel like being generous – is not dissimilar to the form which kept them up last year. Away from home is where the vast improvement is seen and for that reason, I don’t think we can take them lightly. Mix it together, and Burnley are in decent form. One defeat since mid-August underlines that.

But we’re the Arsenal. We only had to turn up in Cologne and the fruits of success were ours to taste. Except we didn’t turn up. I’d argue that shouldn’t impact today; the XI will be eleven different players. However, I expected some ‘bounce’ from beating Tottenham. It never came so I’m a bit wary of saying that losing on Thursday to a team everyone else is beating, won’t impact.

Tales of the Unexpected

Arsène is well aware that Burnley pose a different problem from Tottenham.

“Every game gives you a different problem to sort out, for you to find a strategic solution to be efficient. Against Burnley, that will be different. They are a team who maybe play a bit deeper than Tottenham because they have a strong defensive efficiency.

“You have to keep your nerve, even if you have the ball, to be calm and accurate. You have to be defensively strong as well because they are very efficient going forward.

“Burnley are the most unexpected team to be there with 22 points. You cannot deny that, of course. But if you analyse our games physically, we have been strong physically since the start of the season.”

Sean Dyche, the Phoenix Nights bouncer with a Gruffalo voicebox, has yet to be mentioned as a successor to Arsène but it’s only a matter of time. He should beware; when that happens, managerial careers tend to drop off the edge of a cliff. It’s Wenger’s equivalent of Aaron Ramsey’s killing off celebrities.

It sounds as if Arsène is expecting us to be the home side. Last year’s dull performance, scraping a controversial winner, sounds a klaxon loudly in my head. We were crap, there’s no other way to put it.

But we won and that is the Arsenal conundrum; we demand to win and play well, an impossibly high bar unless you are challenging for the title.

Hits or Myths

We aren’t, and are some way off doing that. The myth of Wengerball feeds the demand as well. We win with style, playing football the ‘right’ way. It’s very much an opinion-based demand since I’d argue we’re too direct to play Wengerball nowadays.

And lack the ‘technician’ in the midfield fulcrum to do so. Our driving force isn’t the mazy runs of Santi Cazorla or Jack Wilshere but the pairing of Ramsey and Xhaka. The only dribbles which are natural to the Welshman are those of his son. It’s not his game and nor should it be expected of him.

Over at Dad’s Jukebox, there’s a new post ready to go with the Records of the Past Few Weeks about to hit the airwaves. Check that out after mid-day and pass a pleasant hour or so in the build-up to this afternoon’s game.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

139 thoughts on “Burnley Preview: Arsenal Must Raise Their Game To Win

  1. Too much fucking around. A pointless dummy that only fooled our own players and Welbz dancing around on the wing because no one was moving.

    WTF? Pen?

  2. Got really lucky, but was clumsy from the defender. They would have had one for something similar against Monreal in the first half, but the Burnley player had already been flagged for offside.

  3. G4E:
    We all know what will happen…..

    The other teams above us lost points, so we will do the same.

    There is no chance for 3 points

    Take that G4E!

    Smashed it and then grabbed it……Happy to be proven wrong.

    Don’t care how we did it, we got the 3 points…..That’s how it should be done.

    Good Job to the boys and we get ready for the Despicable One.

  4. 3 points. That will do nicely. Came out of a very difficult game with the points having not played well. Huddersfield on Wednesday and another good chance for 3 points.

  5. Well done the Glorious Gunners. Best time to score the winner, no chance for a comeback.

    Wenger’s tactical genius does it again.

    🎵🎵🎵 One nil to the Arsenal 🎵🎵🎵

    Back where we belong, top four and above Spuds.

  6. Yay, Yay, Yay — absolutely fandamntastic!!!

    Went for a pee — v. urgent 🙂 — got back and we flaming had won it — I love football – I love sport — and now when my eyes start to close, I can let them!! 😀

    I don’t love Sanchez and Özil buggering off!!!!

  7. HenryB,

    The link worked ok then? I usually use that site as they have 8 or 9 links for every game. It means I can ignore the UK screenings as I can’t stand the commentators.

  8. I think Wenger’s team selection has made Jack’s position clear. In the absence of Ozil he chose Iwobi and to confirm it Jack only got on when Iwobi was subbed.

    Even if Ozil goes in January Jack won’t get many Premiership starts.

  9. Thanx, Wavey,

    I had to fiddle about to get a connection — and then lived on my nerves – dodgy picture – went to spend a penny (I think that’s the saying) and got back, not expecting anything — and then went mad!!! 😀

    0 : 1 — bloody hell == I don’t care if it was a smash and grab — and won’t apologise for that if we win the PL doing the same thing in every game. Oh, joy!!

  10. Wavey,

    I don’t think there is much between them, Iwobi a bit younger but he seems to have reached a plateau. We need better as an Ozil replacement.

  11. Johnny Bairstow head butted Aussie opener Cameron Bancroft in a bar in Perth…top man. Shame it wasn’t David Warner.

  12. HenryB,

    Lots of pop ups to deal with, but once you get through them it usually works. Sometimes the picture is a bit iffy. Always manage to get the games though.

  13. Mason gave Burnley a free kick for a push on Barnes by Mustafi only 6 minutes before the penalty. Can’t see how Burnley fans can complain when a free kick for exactly the same offence went in their favour.

  14. Ha ha, City have been all over Huddersfield and on 45+ mins an own goal from a corner puts the Premiership leaders one down.

  15. Jonny, Orson,

    Saracens, have just given away a try and conversion — now losing 18 : 20 — bugger.

    With so many Sarries players called up by England they are running out of steam. 🙁

  16. Superb result and certainly a good break. However, credit where it’s due, you never know what might happen if you keep a clean sheet and that was the key today for us.

    It’s almost random whether or not penalties like that are called and it’s always a lucky break when the call goes in your favor and unlucky when it gets against. The random chance element is really frustrating but it’s part of the game and there is nothing we can do. Sometimes it seems like you get a run of several bad breaks in a row but you just have to accept that over the course of time the good and the bad will come pretty close to evening out.

  17. I think it was a reasonable penalty to call but in order to call it the ref has to have the proper angle to see exactly what happened. If the push had happened at a different angle or the ref was partially screened then the he probably would not have seen it the same way and would not have called it

  18. I see Pep had a dig at Arsene in his post match presser:

    “Two clear penalties. Maybe Arsene will say that is [a] penalty.”

  19. C,

    He needed to move away from the fact that one of his players was booked for diving.

    If the penalty was for a foul on Sterling, it probably shouldn’t have been given, he goes down exceptionally easy.

  20. Evening,

    Just watched the first 45 as it wasn’t aired at the time of playing. But what an load of tosh.
    We weren’t at the game, what happened with “being boyed by the derbie win and positives to take with us”?

    We were just awful and thank God for the back line and Cech that kept us in the game.

    Xhaka is a waste of space. Don’t think I’ve seen a less mobile central midfielder ever and one that can’t play except with the ball infront of him. I think we payed close 35 millions of euro for him. Almost the same as for Sánchez! By the look of things I wonder if we’d get 10 for him in today’s market?

    Midfield is overrun and strikers are starved of service. Really poor first 45😤.

  21. C,

    I’m pleased for him. I genuinely think, for a variety of reasons that I have absolutely no idea about, he never would’ve made it at Arsenal.

    I’m not for a minute suggesting that all the reasons were of his own making or within his control

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