Burnley Preview: Do Or Dyche For Fifth

It’s not quite the end to the season we hoped for. Recent form put paid to qualifying for the Chanpions League through the top four; three costly defeats in a week and then last weekend’s draw ripped the heart out of that ambition.

As Unai put it after Thursday’s win in Valencia, “We had two possibilities. One is Premier League and we lost“. Too often away from home is what he didn’t say. Stupid games as well. No disrespect to Southampton and West Ham, but we need to be winning this games – Everton too – if we are to genuinely challenge for the top four.

One of the contributing factors is squad rotation and tactics which Emery hasn’t always got right on the road. It’s not very reassuring to read his comments post-Valencia when he opined that he will “decide with the players who are hungry and in good physical condition to play this match.”

I understand the latter thinking but the former? Even the crappiest player at the club will be hungry to play but it doesn’t mean it is right to pick him.

It looks as if Unai knows what to expect from Burnley given his observations about their recent performance against Chelsea. That’s a positive but doesn’t mean we will cope with it.

Essentially, everything Burnley are good at is a weakness for us. Emery came up with a novel solution: “we need to defend well in these situations.” A pity we didn’t try that earlier in the season; who knows what we might have achieved…

As it is, we now find ourselves needing a win to be sure of fifth. Or hope that Manchester United continue to implode. I don’t know about you but it’s hard to believe the latter will happen again.

Fool’s Gold

The league placing does matter to some extent. It is a small tangible if you are looking for signs of improvement year-on-year. Measuring league positions is something of a fool’s errand; you only have to look at City and Liverpool to realise the variables at play each year which render the comparison moot.

Crucially, football’s foibles may impact on our money-spinning summer tour. How ICC organisers will react when a bunch of teenagers pitch up to play Real Madrid in the States while the first XI is playing some obscure Eastern European team. We’re Arsenal, it won’t be a short trip to somewhere like Scotland, Wales, etc.

That becomes reality if we lose, United win (both entirely plausible outcomes this afternoon) and City balls up in the FA Cup final (they have form in this one). Maybe that’s what the club needs to happen for Kroenke to loosen the purse strings? Not that I expect him to invest but to approve some borrowing to fund a summer splurge.

That’s become complicated with Mkhitaryan’s agent Mino Raiola being banned by FIFA for three months. Or one transfer window, if you like. The one in which there are strong rumours that the club was looking to move the Armenian on to free up wages. Of course, he could cut Raiola loose but is Mkhitaryan that desperate to leave? A healthy wage and comfortable life in London? It’s the same circumstance as Özil whose agent made it clear his client isn’t leaving until 2021.

It’s that time of the season.

On a positive note, the club is reportedly ready to begin talks with both Lacazette and Aubameyang over new contracts, two players who earned themselves new wage deals. Perhaps they could sign off with a couple of goals each at Turf Moor?

Signing Off

Which brings us full circle to this afternoon. Finishing the season with a win gives us a bit of a ‘bounce’ through to Baku, which might be the only way left to get there. And that is contrived a link to this as you’ll ever find:

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

‘til Tomorrow.

19 thoughts on “Burnley Preview: Do Or Dyche For Fifth

  1. Tnx yogi for another interesting write-up.
    Whether Miki’s agent is banned or not, we need an upgrade on the wings, and knowing the kroe ke’s as I do, they will never invest there money so the only way to do that is to move the likes of Miki and Ozil on.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Thanks for another awesome preview Yogi

    If we win today we will finish with 70 points and 5th place. Last year we finished with 63 points and in 6th so I guess you have to say that we have improved although last year was probably the worst since before George Graham so improving upon last years results was not a very high target. The most disappointing thing is at the start fo this season I would have bet anything that we would never concede 50 league goals again. Last season we all blamed Arsene for not coaching up the players but I think now we can safely say the biggest problem is other then our 2 strikers the players are as not quite as good as we hoped and they needed a lot more then just better coaching direction. The real problem for Arsene was not tactics or coaching direction but a misguided squad acquisition strategy. We can still rescue the season with a win in the Europa league final and Emery’s history gives some real hope but no matter how you slice it we have a lot of work to do in the next few transfer windows.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. And thats sums up our defense all season: from nothing Burnley gets a couple crosses, Leno makes a brilliant save only for his defenders to not clear and Burnley get their goal.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Two more points, just two more points.

    How many did Mustafi cost us this season?

    Just beat bloody Palace at home.

    The list of options to qualify that we blew is to depressing to consider.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. It’s a disappointing league result, considering the run in and the good position with a few games to go. Whatever the result in Baku (which I’m pessimistic about), the domestic league is the main competition, and more progress is needed here.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. consolsbob,

    Not just Mustafi, but how about some of the defensive lapses after the 22 match run.

    While its clear, progress has been made, it will be great to see at minimum Holding and Bellerin back.

    With all that said, when you consider how dreadful we were last season and how many points minus a EL Final; its hard not to see progress. I mean most Gooners and pundits doubted we would even make the EL semi’s and top 6 at the beginning of the season.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. If/when we win the EL crown, I would easily say this is a successful season.

    Just think, UEFA changed the rules so that the winner of the EL gets a 1 seed in the CL group stage next season…..so there is PLENTY to play for.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. We collected 7 more points then last year so we improved. I suspect the majority of that progress may have been because we had Pea for the entire season. Last year he started in early Feb. Having a player who scores league 22 goals for the entire season rather then just 15-16 games certainly is going to mean extra points.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Pea tied for the Golden boot this season and he certainly deserves player of the year, imo. Having a top quality goal scorer is arguably the most influential thing any team can have. To highlight that generalization, this seasons Arsenal is the only team in this century to have the Golden boot winner in the squad and still finish outside of the top 4. Says a lot about the talent in the rest of the squad

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.