Arsene Wenger is set for an emotional farewell as Arsenal face Burnley in what will be their long-serving French manager’s last ever home game.
Arsenal will look to bounce back from their Europa League semi-final heartbreak at the hands of Atletico Madrid as they missed out on reaching the tournament’s final, leaving Arsene Wenger without a European trophy in his 22 years in charge. They will, however, look for giving their manager a proper farewell with a win over Burnley.
The game against Burnley at the Emirates will be Wenger’s last ever home game in charge of Arsenal, thus ending a fruitful association with the club of which he has been a manager for 22 years. Wenger himself admitted it would be a sad affair when he manages his last game at the Emirates.
“I feel sad because I love this club and what it represents and you don’t leave 22 years of your life and walk away easy,” he said. “But I have dealt with difficult situations in my life, and I will do it again.”
Arsenal might have endured a torrid season, most importantly away from home. The defeat against Manchester United last weekend was their sixth straight away defeat, and are winless away from home in the Premier League in 2018. However, their home form has been a total contrast to that and Wenger will be hoping to continue this trend in his last game here.
Arsenal’s opponents on Sunday are Burnley, a team which has been the Premier League’s surprise package this season. Sean Dyche will be hoping to end the farewell party with a win over the Gunners, and this win could boost their chances of finishing above Arsenal come the end of the season.
In December, Burnley suffered a dismal run of games where they went without a win for 12 games, but since that run they won five games on the bounce, thus improving their chances to finish and gain a chance to play in Europe next season. On the other hand, losing this game would improve Everton’s chances of leapfrogging them to seventh by the end of the season.
Team News & Tactics
On the eve of Wenger’s last home game, one of the Frenchman’s most trusted and consistent player, Laurent Koscielny will be missing. The defender suffered a ruptured Achilles against Atletico Madrid in midweek, effectively ending his season as well as a chance to play in the World Cup in the summer.
Mohamed Elneny will also be out with an ankle problem as will Santi Cazorla how has been out since 2016. Other than that Arsenal have no new injury concerns, after all the players who were injured n recent weeks have returned to full fitness.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be available again after being cup-tied in the Europa League and will likely start up-front. Arsene Wenger could still give chances to youngsters as he did against Manchester United last weekend.
Probable Starting-XI (4-3-3) – Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Chambers, Monreal; Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey; Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Burnley and Sean Dyche come into this game with a few concerns in their team. The primary care will be to hope striker Chris Wood is available after being substituted from last weekend’s goalless draw with Brighton with a gashed foot.
Defender Ben Mee is a significant doubt for the Arsenal game, as he continues his recovery from an ankle problem. Other than those significant issues, Burnley has a full-fledged team at their disposal and will likely field their strongest possible lineup against Arsenal.
Probable Starting-XI (4-4-2) – Pope; Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward; Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson; Wood, Barnes
- Arsenal have won their last six home games against Burnley, a team who last defeated the Gunners back in 1974
- Burnley haven’t beaten Arsenal in their previous nine meetings
- For Arsenal, their last three games against Burnley were decided by a 90th-minute winner.
- Burnley have won three of their last four away games, while Arsenal has won three away games all season.
- The Burnley game will be Arsene Wenger’s 606th home game in charge of Arsenal and his final one.
1. Burnley Asian Handicap +1 @ 1.960
2. Arsenal Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.53
3. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.65
1. Corners Match Bet Three Way – Burnley @ 4.50
2. Ashley Barnes to score anytime @ 3.75
Player To Watch
If Arsene Wenger is to ring the changes to his side against Burnley, there could be a place for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has been impressing in that central midfield position recently. Against Burnley, as Arsenal don’t have much to play for competitively, Maitland-Niles could well get the chance he deserves.
He would want to put in dramatic shifts between now and the end of the season and impress the next manager when the take over happens in the close season. Either way, Maitland-Niles has all the qualities for a future regular for Arsenal, and the required performances could come in games like these.
Arsenal 2-0 Burnley
Arsene Wenger’s side might have had a difficult season, but they are a force when they play at the Emirates. Arsenal are likely to maintain their impressive home form, wherein 2018 they have scored nearly three goals a game here. Expect them to continue that scoring form, considering the players want to give Wenger a proper send-off as well the availability of their best attacking players.
Arsenal will likely trump Burnley and end any hopes for the away team to overtake the North Londoners on the Premier League table between now and the end of the season. Burnley are a defensive team, but Arsenal’s attack, especially at home, will be too much to cope for the Premier League’s surprise team this season.