Burnley are not often given enough credit for their time in the Premier League. They are seen as one of those annoying clubs that obstruct the big fish, rob the odd point and are intent on spoiling the party.
They are all of those things but they also can play football, have great character and show no respect for reputations.
If I’m honest, when I look at the fixture list, Burnley loom out as one of those games that if Arsenal give anything less than their best, an upset is ready and waiting.
Last season wasn’t Burnley’s best, they suffered inconsistency and struggled to recapture their form of previous campaigns and at one stage, it looked as if they could get sucked into the relegation zone, but they proved too good for that.
They don’t have the resources and the players to slug it out with Manchester City or Liverpool but they show the type of honest toil, commitment and togetherness that will always get you results.
Burnley can also play the attractive stuff and on their day, will punish any side that thinks they are just there to make the numbers up.
Sean Dyche, who sounds like an Alsatian that’s just swallowed a packet of sandpaper, has instilled fighting spirit, but also fashioned his own football philosophy and the team adhere to it whenever possible. They go to the Emirates wanting to make an early statement and Arsenal will do well to sidestep them if they are genuinely in the mood.
Fresh from bashing Southampton, the likes of Ashley Barnes will fancy inflicting a wound or two in Arsenal’s questionable defence and although Arsenal fans are awaiting the debut of David Luiz, they may have to wait a while longer because Sokratis and Chambers did a fine job away to Newcastle.
Burnley new boy Danny Drinkwater will sit this one out and Steven Defour and Robbie Brady have only just resumed training.
As for Arsenal, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Dinos Mavropanos are all out of contention and we wait to see if Emery will include Ozil or Kolasinac after their gang related problems.
Burnley will need some luck to run off with the spoils because last season the Emirates became a bit of a fortress for the Gunners, something they couldn’t replicate that form on the road.
Moreover, Arsenal have begun their 2019/20 PL campaign with a 0-1 win against Newcastle at St. James’ Park.
Unless there is a complete breakdown in communication, I suspect an Arsenal win is on the cards by at least two clear goals because the records show that Arsenal have won all of their seven encounters at the Emirates by an impressive aggregate score of 21-4.
Preferred Team Against Burnley:-
Defenders: Maitland Niles, Sokratis, Chambers, Monreal
Midfielders: Guendouzi, Torreira, Willock
Attackers: Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
No place for Mkhitaryan who was unbelievably poor against Newcastle, but we should see second half appearances from Luiz, Nelson and I’d personally love to see Bukayo Saka stretch his legs.
Cause for optimism or false start : What Arsenals opening game of the season tells us about the road ahead
Is it too early to see FOLARIN BALOGUN ? Not for me.
The 18-year-old from New York is achieving great things with the young Gunners including a hat trick in six minutes in pre-season and he also boasts 22 goals in 23 appearances last term.
It appears Arsenal have so many good kids coming through that it’s hard to hold them back. If Arsenal are two or three up with 20 minutes left, give them a run out !!!!