Arsenal will be aiming to get back to winning ways in the Premier League when they lock horns with relegation-battling Burnley this weekend.
The final fixture of Matchday 12 of the 2020/21 Premier League will come our way from the Emirates Stadium on Sunday night as a struggling Arsenal side face off against relegation-threatened Burnley.
While Arsenal have been going all guns blazing in the UEFA Europa League, Mikel Arteta’s side have struggled to replicate the same form in the league and find themselves in the 15th place in the table, and are closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top four.
The Gunners were handed a 2-0 defeat in the North London Derby by Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and they produced a strong reaction in midweek, defeating Dundalk 4-2 in Europe. Arteta, who finds himself under pressure, will now be hoping that his players are able to carry that momentum forward to Sunday.
Burnley, meanwhile, are dawdling in the 18th place in the standings, having picked up just six points from their ten games so far. Five of those points have come in their last four games though, with Sean Dyche’s men looking to turn a corner, following their 1-1 draw against Everton at Turf Moor last weekend.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 2-1 win for Arsenal with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring on either side of an Ashley Barnes strike. Ahead of their latest meeting at the Emirates this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal will once again be without the services of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, who is out suspended. In addition, Thomas Partey, who was rushed back from injury for the derby last weekend, is ruled out again after hobbling off the pitch at half-time against Tottenham. David Luiz and Gabriel Martinelli are back in training but may not be risked.
Having made wholesale changes to the lineup for the midweek game against Dundalk, Arteta is expected to recall his regulars when Burnley come visiting. Bernd Leno should resume duties in goal after having been rested in midweek, while there could be a change of tactics in front of him with Arsenal likely to set up in a 4-2-3-1.
Hector Bellerin should start as the right-back even though he was disappointing against Tottenham last time out, while Kieran Tierney is a certain starter on the left. Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes ought to pair up at the heart of the Gunners defence.
Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka ought to line up as the two central midfielders in the absence of Partey, although Mohamed Elneny could be a contender in place of the latter. Alexandre Lacazette is likely to reprise the role of the No. 10 once again on Sunday.
Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should return to the side after not featuring in midweek. However, there could be a shift of positions with the youngster moving to the right flank while the Arsenal skipper slots in on the left to open up space for Eddie Nketiah to start as the centre-forward after impressing against Dundalk.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang; Nketiah
Burnley are still without midfielder Jack Cork while summer signing Dale Stephens is closing in a return to action, but Sunday’s game might come too soon. The same goes for both Phil Bardsley and Johann Berg Gudmundsson as well. Robbie Brady, though, is fit to feature after he picked up a knock in the draw against Everton last week.
There are unlikely to be many changes made by manager Dyche given the relatively small squad at his disposal. Nick Pope is a certainty in goal for the visitors, with the back four of Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Charlie Taylor shielding him.
The midfield bank of four should comprise of Brady, who scored against Everton last time out and Dwight McNeil on the flanks, who will act as the main source of creativity for the Clarets. Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill will hold the fort down in the middle of the park and look to stifle Arsenal’s build-up play.
Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez ought to form the two-pronged strikeforce for Burnley, although, Ashley Barnes is an option at Dyche’s disposal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brady, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood
- Arsenal Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.66
- Full-Time Result – Draw or Burnley @ 2.37
- Arsenal have won each of their last nine home meetings with Burnley in all competitions. Only against Stoke City (16) and Barnsley (10) are they on a longer current winning run at home.
- Burnley have lost all six of their away Premier League games against Arsenal – their worst 100% losing record away at a single side in the competition.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 15 league meetings with Burnley (W11 D4) since a 0-1 home defeat in September 1974. In the Premier League, only against Porstmouth (14) have the Gunners played more games without ever losing than they have versus Burnley (12).
- Burnley have netted just five goals in 10 Premier League games this season – the second time they have scored five or fewer after 10 matches in a campaign in the competition (also 5 in 2014/15).
- Arsenal have lost each of their last three Premier League home games. They last lost four consecutive matches on their own backyard in the league way back in December 1959.
Player to Watch
⚽️ Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2 PL goals this season) has scored 7 goals in 5 PL apps v Burnley – the only team he has scored more career League goals against is Hamburg (9 in 9)
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) December 11, 2020
Goals, or lack thereof, have been a huge problem for Arsenal in the Premier League this season with their captain and ace goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going through a rough patch. The 31-year-old has managed just two league goals in 11 matches this term and has gone four outings without finding the back of the net.
However, on Sunday, he will be up against his most favourite opponents in the Premier League, having scored more against the Clarets than he has against any other side in the competition (7 in 5 games). In fact, he has five goals in his three matches against Dyche’s side at the Emirates and Arsenal fans will be hoping that this game sparks their skipper into life.
Arsenal 1-0 Burnley
Arsenal come into the game on the back of a fine performance against Dundalk, but goals have been hard to come by for them in the Premier League. Going up against a side like Burnley that will set up with deep defensive blocks will only make things harder. The Clarets, themselves, however, have been poor in the final third and are unlikely to pose a great threat to the Gunners’ goal.
Expect Arsenal to dominate the possession stats but given the lack of creativity within the ranks, they will be frustrated and pushed to the limits by a rigid Burnley rearguard. But they should have it in them to find the back of the net at least once, which should be enough to see them through to a much-needed victory on Sunday night.