The fourth round clash of the FA Cup between the third spot holders of both the Premier League and Championship at Emirates might end in favour of the home team as they look to extend their cup run and make history by landing the trophy for a consecutive third season.
In the absence of any Premier League success since the ‘invincible’ season in 2003-04, Wenger and Arsenal FC’s only redemption lies in the FA Cup, which many fans believe has kept the Frenchman from losing his job. After nine years of dry-run and criticism of his managerial tactics, Wenger finally brought home the coveted FA Cup in the 2013-14 season, followed by another next season.
Although, Arsenal FC haven’t lost in the last 13 FA Cup matches, but are having a very poor run of performances in the Premier league, having not won their last three games. The last FA Cup match they lost was in the 2012-13 season against Burnley’s Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers.
Arsene Wenger vs Sean Dyche
Both the managers have had only a brief encounter against one another on-pitch as Burnley played in the Premier League last season before being relegated back to the Championship. Their domestic league meetings resulted in a victory for the Gunners — 3-0 and 1-0 at home and away, respectively.
Wenger would be looking to create history by keeping the momentum of the cup run going
Wenger reportedly will be resting many of his key players including Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey, and might give a chance to new signing Mohamed Elneny alongside Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and David Ospina.
Per Mertesacker is set to miss out on the fixture, due to the red card he picked up from Sunday’s match against Chelsea FC, alongside long-time absentees Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla as Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky return to action.
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Sean Dyche’s focus is on regaining promotion as The Clarets are yet to registered a loss this year
Burnley are fighting for promotion yet again this year after delivering a flop-show in the Premier League last season. Embroiled in a similar situation as their opponents in the weekend FA Cup clash, Burnley are vying for an automatic promotion spot to the Premier League.
Their chances look quite bright as they’re only four points behind the spot and are currently on an unbeaten run of six games, since the boxing day match.
While 2013-14 season’s Burnley side did a commendable job defending and earning the promotion, this season things are a little aggressive as the Clarets have turned into the most scoring side, with 12 goals in their last three matches.
Although Burnley seems to have done a bang-up job in the League, but lack finesse when it comes to knockout competitions. Their most successful phase in the recent years in the FA Cup came in 2011 when they reached the fifth round defeating Middlesbrough. Since then, they haven’t won a single FA Cup match.
Andre Gray vs Laurent Koscielny
Andre Gray has been on top of his form and on top of the opposition with his current tally of 15 goals off 23 championship appearances so far this season.
Andre Gray, supported by Vokes and Arfield sum up for a formidable attack force which seems to be in form these days.
Olivier Giroud/ Joel Campbell vs Tom Heaton
Wenger came under a lot of fire after Sunday’s match against Chelsea which saw him subbing Giroud and keeping Campbell, even though the French striker has been Arsenal FC’s lead scorer this season with 12 league goals so far.
Tom Heaton is surely going to face a lot of fire and will have to be at his absolute best against the Gunners if Burnley is to proceed to the next round.
Scott Arfield/Joey Barton vs Theo Walcott/ Mohamed Elneny
Although it’ll be hard for either Arfield or Barton to match the creativity or pace of Walcott and Sanchez, but looking at the recent run of form it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Clarets overpower the midfield to create space for their attack.
Mohamed Elneny is reportedly going to start the game after warming the bench for the last two games and it yet remains to be seen that how well the Egyptian international performs in English football.
- With 13 consecutive victories and two consecutive titles to their name, Arsenal FC have a strong track-record in the FA Cup and are likely to maintain it.
- Even though they are marred by injuries, with the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, and Elneny, Wenger has ample talent at his disposal and it is very less likely that they’ll be challenged by the Clarets.
- Players such as Welbeck, Mertesacker, Wilshere and Cazorla will remain unavailable.
- With Per Mertesacker to miss the match, Arsenal FC will be missing the aerial presence and Andre Gray could prove to be trouble to the lone-Koscielny.
- Burnley have been going strong for the past one month, having scored 18 goals in the last seven matches in all competitions, of which they’ve won six and drew one.
- The team and coach both are more focussed on their league standings and gaining an automatic promotion at the end of the season, so much so that they might not put in their all into this match.
- Burnley doesn’t possess a tactical enough defensive structure to keep out the pacy and creative wingers and midfielders of Arsenal FC.
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