11th April, 2015; 17:30 GMT
Turf Moor, Lanchashire
Burnley play hosts to Arsenal in Round 32 of the Premier League, and both teams will be looking to score maximum points in this game.
For Burnley, ita s pretty much a do-or-die situation with every game, sitting in 19th place in the standings. While they still have a chance to escape relegation, it does not help their cause having to face form teams like Arsenal who seem to be hell bent on winning every game from now to the end of the season. However, most of their points have come in home games this season, and will be hoping to take at least a point of the London club, if not all 3.
Arsenal are going through a phase that is common enough for their fans that it is not even a surprise anymore: the gunners always start winning on a regular basis only towards the end of the season, when the top 4 positions are really up for grabs. Thankfully, though, this time Arsenal are in second place, and look set to finish there at the end of the season. In fact, as increasingly unlikely as it may seem, they even have a shot at the title if Chelsea somehow falter in the last few games of the season.
Team News and Tactics
Burnley come into this game in 19th place, level on points with Queens Park Rangers, having played one game less. Even a draw against Arsenal would put them up in 18th place, and will give them added confidence in having stopped the form team in its tracks. With Hull City, who are in 17th place, set to play Southampton, this is definitely a chance for Burnley to get closer to escaping the drop. Therefore, it wouldna t be too much of a stretch to assume that they would line up with the intent to defend and will put players behind the ball, trying to frustrate the plethora of attacking talent present in the Arsenal team.
Burnley come into this game with just 3 players injured, of which Matthew Taylor is fighting to get fit from his calf injury ahead of this game. However, it is likely that manager Sean Dyche would go with the same team that he went with in the game against Tottenham Hotspur, where they managed a 0-0 draw, a result that he would take with both hands if offered before this game.
Probable Line Up: Heaton; Mee, Duff, Shackell, Trippier; Barnes, Jones, Arfield, Boyd; Ings, Vokes
Arsenal go into this on the back of 7 wins in a row, as well as trouncing their top 4 rivals Liverpool with a resounding 4-1 score line. The confidence is high in the gunners and they will be looking to cement their second place position in the league, especially since both the Manchester clubs will be facing each other on Sunday, with a draw the best result for Arsenal.
Arsenal are with a nearly fully fit squad, with Mathieu Debuchy and Mikel Arteta making a return to the team, after long injury layoffs, although Koscielny is a doubt. While the temptation would be to continue with Bellerin at Right Back, Arsene Wenger might well see this as a chance to ease in the far more experienced Debuchy to match fitness, as Burnley wouldn’t pose as much a difficulty as the other teams they would have to face in the run-in. It would, however, be interesting to see if Arteta can get back into the starting line up at the expense of the excellent Coquelin. It is doubtful that would happen though, and he would more likely come on as a sub.
Probable Line Up: Ospina; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey; Giroud
Player to watch out for
Olivier Giroud would be the player to watch out for in this game, with him in the form of his life, scoring in almost all the games he’s been playing in. Even in the game against Liverpool, when it seemed like he would go without scoring for a change, he hit a magnificent shot towards the end to round off the scoreline to an emphatic 4-1. He brings a lot more to the team apart from his goal scoring abilities, and his hold up play has been a real asset to Arsenal.
- Arsenal are on a 7 game winning streak, and if they win this game, their 8 game streak will be the best for the season as no other team has been able to do that.
- On the other hand, Burnley have not been able to win 9 of their last 10 games in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have also managed to score at least 2 goals in their last 7 games.
While it might be tempting, and even a bit romantic, to think that Burnley can get a win or a draw from this game, but it is more than likely that Arsenal would come off this game with a comfortable game. If Burnley can at least pose a threat to the gunners, they can take that confidence to the remaining games and give themselves a boost in the relegation battle.
Predicted Scoreline: Burnley 1-3 Arsenal