Arsenal host Burnley at the Emirates with an aim to open their home campaign with a win and continue their momentum in the new season.
Arsenal fans might have wanted a clear view of their new signings in the opening game against Newcastle United. Unai Emery did treat them with substitute appearances for Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos.
The Burnley game could be where the manager might opt to start some of the new faces, if not all. Most notably, David Luiz is yet to see any game time, which might come against Burnley. Arsenal secured a hard-fought win away from home at Newcastle in their first game and Emery will be hoping that form continues at the Emirates.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the only goal in the first game, although Emery will have enjoyed the way his team’s youngsters performed in the game. Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson were handed starts, and they did not disappoint.
Burnley represent a different test altogether for Arsenal as they have proven to be resolute in past encounters. While the fans would be eager to see the new faces at the Emirates, Emery will be focused on bringing the best out of the squad and will likely field a strong lineup. Arsenal had a somewhat injury-hit squad for the first weekend, but some of those missing the last game might feature.
Burnley, on the other hand, will be looking to make progress after securing an impressive 3-0 win over Southampton in Gameweek 1. Sean Dyche knows the threat Arsenal possess, especially at home, but the Gunners have underperformed in their opening games at the Emirates in recent seasons. Dyche will be hoping to continue his side’s momentum from the end of last season and begin this one sharply.
Last season, the Clarets avoided the drop by some margin. Despite their struggles during the first part of the campaign, Dyche was able to guide his side to an impressive finish to their season. Dyche knows very well that key battles in such a game are won in the middle of the pitch and the defensive third. He will be hoping to do the same and take a result back to Turf Moor.
Team News & Tactics
Despite Arsenal’s win against Newcastle with a somewhat unfamiliar starting lineup, Emery is likely to ring the changes for the Burnley game. Calum Chambers was a top act against Newcastle, but Emery could replace him with Luiz in central defence. Furthermore, with Sead Kolasinac available now after some off-field issues, the Bosnian will be pushing for a spot at left-back.
If Kolasinac is selected, then Nacho Monreal will see himself relegated to the bench. Sokratis is a sure starter in central defence and will likely partner Luiz there. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also a sure starter at right-back after an impressive outing away to Newcastle. Bernd Leno is Arsenal’s first-choice keeper and will keep his place to complete the defensive lineup.
Midfield is where Emery could ring in some exciting changes. While Lucas Torreira may not be available yet after his late return from international duty, Emery could stick to a three-man unit. Granit Xhaka could retain his place along with Matteo Guendouzi. It will be interesting to see if Emery decides to keep Willock in midfield or replace him with new signing Ceballos.
Alexandre Lacazette, who remained an unused substitute against Newcastle, is pushing for a start. Emery preferred Nelson and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to support Aubameyang in a front three, but could make changes on Saturday.
Mkhitaryan could be benched for Pepe to start. If Pepe and Lacazette both start, then Nelson could be benched. Alternatively, Nelson could start, leaving Lacazette on the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ceballos; Pepe, Aubameyang, Nelson
Unlike Unai Emery, Sean Dyche may not have as much a headache to select his side. After an impressive opening day victory over Southampton, Dyche will likely retain the same starting lineup to face Arsenal.
However, with Jay Rodriguez returning to Turf Moor, he might be pushing for a start. But, the Burnley boss is likely to resist the temptation to start Rodriguez and retain the same lineup. Deadline day signing Danny Drinkwater is also waiting on the wings to make his debut for the Clarets.
Dyche will likely name the Chelsea loanee on the bench. Otherwise, with Dyche retaining his lineup, Erik Pieters will play at left-back after an impressive debut on Matchday 1, with Matthew Lowton being deployed on the opposite flank.
Steven Defour remains out, while Robbie Brady and Charlie Taylor are both doubtful. Considering a 4-4-2 standard formation, Nick Pope will start between the posts, with defensive support from Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Pieters.
The four-man midfield will see Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood and Dwight McNeil take charge. Two-goal hero Ashley Barnes and the reliable Chris Wood will spearhead the attack as Burnley’s strike partnership.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood
1. Arsenal Clean Sheet – YES @ 1.90
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
1. Arsenal Asian Handicap -2.5 @ 3.300
- Arsenal have won their last 10 matches against Burnley in all competitions, a run stretching back to March 2010.
- Burnley have won just one of their last 19 away games against Arsenal in all competitions, winning 1-0 at Highbury in the top-flight in September 1974
- At the Emirates, Arsenal have won all seven games against Burnley, scoring 21 goals and conceding just four
- Arsenal have lost their first home Premier League match of the season in five of the last eight seasons
- Burnley have never won both of their opening two matches to a Premier League season before, last doing so in the top-flight in 1973-74.
Player to Watch
The spotlight might be on Arsenal’s new signings, especially central defender Luiz, but there is another player who could become a key member this season. Sokratis played out a brilliant game against Newcastle. A single game might not be enough to judge his credentials yet, but Sokratis is well on course to become the leader of Arsenal’s defence.
Burnley will be a good chance for the Greek to showcase his talents, as Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood will offer plenty for Sokratis to combat. The loss of Laurent Koscielny places additional responsibility on Sokratis to prove his worth to the Arsenal faithful and especially Emery, to lend him the trust to lead the backline this season.
Arsenal 3-1 Burnley
The Gunners found it somewhat challenging to break down Newcastle. Arsenal are a different team at home, and they will find it more comfortable to find the back of the net at the Emirates than in an away match.
Considering the attacking talents at Emery’s disposal, Burnley will find it difficult to contain this Arsenal attack. The Gunners have pace, sharpness and clinical finishes packed into their attack, and this will prove crucial.
Expect Arsenal to score freely at the Emirates. Burnley have the talent to trouble the home side and might be able to score a goal against Arsenal. However, the Gunners are favourites to take three points from this encounter and will be keen to keep their early season momentum going.