Arsenal will aim to keep their momentum going when they visit a physical, winless Burnley side who have struggled so far this season.
Burnley made headlines in recent fixtures for all the wrong reasons. From Jurgen Klopp to Rafael Benitez, managers have accused the Clarets of playing unwanted, aggressive football on the pitch, flying in with dangerous tackles that could potentially hurt players.
The referees have subsequently received criticism over being lenient towards such physicality, and the focus will be back on the Clarets when Arsenal visit them. Anthony Taylor is the designated official for this clash, and he comes on the back of the ‘red-card blunder’ while officiating the game between Benfica and Dynamo Kiev.
Sean Dyche will be eager to get Burnley’s first win on the board after a draw and three defeats in their four Premier League games so far. Aside from the physical aspect of things, the manager will want more end product from his side, who have lost an incredible eight points already from winning positions this season.
While Burnley have forged an identity of defensive solidity and shutting out games with a narrow lead, the focus seems to have shifted a bit. The signing of Maxwel Cornet suggests that Dyche wants more attacking football from his side and mix it well with their long-ball strategy. Against a rejuvenated Arsenal, they might face a problem if their current trend continues.
Arsenal will be hopeful of securing back-to-back wins for the first time this season after a difficult start. Three consecutive defeats to begin their term was offset by a narrow, scrappy victory over Norwich City last weekend, despite the Gunners hitting a massive 30 shots during the game.
After having plenty of players unavailable due to injuries or COVID-19, Mikel Arteta seems to have most of his stars back and has more tactical choices to tweak his team. Against Norwich, the manager switched styles after the introduction of Thomas Partey in the second half, which produced a more attacking intent with their football.
However, with the win over Norwich, Arsenal lifted themselves from rock-bottom and out of the relegation zone. Interestingly, Arteta is yet to win against Burnley during his tenure, having played three games against Dyche.
Last season, the Gunners lost narrowly courtesy of an own goal by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while the return fixture ended in a 1-1 draw courtesy of Granit Xhaka’s comical own goal. Arteta will be hoping to change the course of those results and get a win to keep their momentum going.
Team News & Tactics
💬 The Gaffer on Maxwel Cornet
"He is certainly available but pitching him in at the right time is important, his English is still pretty limited, he has fitted in with the group well and comes in with a smile on his face."
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) September 16, 2021
Despite their physicality and strength over opponents, Sean Dyche was tactically outclassed by Rafael Benitez in the last game, with Burnley losing 3-1 to Everton. Will that result spark a change of tactics from Dyche for the Arsenal game? Not likely, as the manager will stick to his tactics and the standard 4-4-2 formation to dismantle the Gunners.
Dyche would have looked at Brentford closely during their win over Arsenal, and he could similarly deploy his high pressing, physical forwards against the Gunners. In terms of personnel, the Burnley manager is expected to name an unchanged side from the Everton clash.
However, Dyche could yet decide to give new signing of Maxwel Cornet his debut for the club and deploy him at left-back in place of Charlie Taylor. Even if he does not start, coming on as a substitute remains a highly probable outcome.
Meanwhile, another new arrival Nathan Collins remains in contention but is unlikely to replace either Ben Mee or James Tarkowski in the lineup. In terms of injuries, Connor Roberts, Kevin Long and Dale Stephens are unlikely to feature, while Burnley have no suspensions to deal with.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Cornet; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood, Barnes
Mikel Arteta will have plenty of tinkering to do ahead of the Burnley clash. The Arsenal manager does realise Norwich and Burnley play different styles and may have to tweak his style. Looking back at the Brentford game, he might have made a mistake by deploying a back four instead of a back three.
Burnley have a similar set of strikers, who are physical, like to press and superior in the air. Considering Ben White is not good at winning aerial duels, Arteta might think about a back three with Gabriel, Takehiro Tomiyasu and White. Although if the Arsenal manager decides to emphasise attack and shape, then a back four is a possibility.
📍 London Colney pic.twitter.com/a9DLXYLZvT
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 15, 2021
Even if he uses a back four, Tomiyasu is expected to play close to White to protect the defence from Burnley’s aerial threat. It could well be a back four with the same that started against Norwich. Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsdale is expected to keep his place ahead of Bernd Leno in goal.
Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny are the only injury casualties, while Granit Xhaka serves his suspension. Arteta will make a late decision on his preferred central midfield pairing, with Thomas Partey seemingly fit to start. However, the Spaniard will keep an eye on the North London Derby and want to protect Partey, as the Ghanaian only recently returned from an ankle injury.
Alternatively, Ainsley Maitland-Niles could keep his place alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga in central midfield. Arteta could make slight changes to attack while retaining most of the starters against Norwich. Nicolas Pepe could make way for Emile Smith Rowe, while Bukayo Saka could be shifted to the right.
Martin Odegaard will certainly keep his place as the creative orchestrator in the side, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang expected to lead the line. Alexandre Lacazette is a great option for such games, but the captain will start owing to his recent form.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Lokonga; Saka, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe; Aubameyang
- Burnley have dropped eight points from winning positions in this Premier League season.
- Burnley have scored just eight goals in 14-Premier League games against Arsenal, never more than one in a single match.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 16 matches in all competitions against Burnley.
- Arsenal have won none of their last three Premier League games against Burnley, scoring just once during that period.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored eight goals in seven Premier League games against Burnley while also netting one own goal during this period.
Player to Watch
Ramsdale was not the most attractive signing made in the summer transfer window, considering his back-to-back relegations and the kind of money he cost Arsenal. However, after two games, he has endeared himself with the fanbase and is very much in line to become the club’s no. 1. However, a test of time and his quality awaits the keeper, starting with Burnley.
Replacing Bernd Leno is a huge task, and while some may consider Norwich City as an easy pass, Burnley will pose all sorts of problems. Ramsdale has to show his ability in commanding the area and dealing with the aerial threat and physicality of Clarets forwards. All eyes will be on him, given the nature of this clash.
Burnley 1-2 Arsenal
The Gunners are unpredictable these days, and one would not bet on them winning this clash from the off. However, given Burnley’s recent form, Arsenal are slight favourites to nick it at Turf Moor. The physical nature of the clarets will certainly bother Mikel Arteta’s side, but one they can overcome after a turnaround in their form.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s prolific record against the clarets will also come in handy, while the Gunners’ refreshed defence will be up to the task of thwarting the forward line. Expect Arsenal to collect another three points, their first on the road this season, pinning Burnley firmly in the bottom three and heaping more pressure on Sean Dyche.