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Burnley v Arsenal: The Battle Is On


We need to be ready for a battle. These were Mikel Arteta’s words when discussing the next game away at Burnley. But match aside, this also applies to our season as a whole. 24 games in and we’re a mere 6 points ahead of relegation. What really brought it home was looking at Burnley sitting in 14th equal on points with the mighty Arsenal.

The person most directly responsible for this plight has been speaking yet again. Unai Emery astonishingly still believes he had a good first season. He’s got a whole list of ‘reasons’ why the second season didn’t go well, and then blames one bad month and fans’ impatience on his getting the sack. Laughably, he also suggested that Arteta is playing the same way as him, and complains that fans are showing him more patience despite results not being great. Ugh. Sorry, but if the man cannot shut up he deserves all the opprobrium he gets. Idiot.

Meanwhile, the man who hired Emery and wanted to reward him with a new contract, is reclaiming his ‘Don’ status after the close of the window with the signing of Mari and Soares, both initially on loan. I will say these are two good signings for what they represent.

But as Shotta pointed out in his blog, Mari is most likely an Arteta signing. Mikel said the left footed CB will bring balance to our side playing out from the back. Thinking about it is exciting because if we can hit those diagonal long balls to the right, then it brings Pepe into play. While Martinelli and Auba can be involved with Luiz/Mustafi playing to the opposite side.

Speaking of Mustafi, the good news is that he’s not seriously injured. He probably won’t be available in this game, but should be back soon. Our other signing, Cedric Soares will not be available either as he’s carrying an injury. But he does fill a need as we’re carrying long term injuries in the full back positions, and he can play on either side. This one, I think is more an Edu signing, though obviously having been in the league, Arteta knows him well too. Arsenal fans ought to remember him for the wrong reasons, but now since he’s representing us, the right reasons. Even if he himself is represented by Kia Joorabchian.

Along with two new signings, we also have two players returning from suspensions. Aubameyang is back to take his place up top, and David Luiz comes back too. The latter is most timely with the Mustafi injury. These returnees will be a boost for Arsenal.

State of the opposition

Burnley are in good form. They won both their last 2 league games against surprising opposition. Leicester and Manchester United. They’ll fancy their chances against us, for sure. Especially at home. It’s an old fashioned ground, with a passionate crowd, and we know how referees in this league tend to be. Especially where ‘soft’ Arsenal are concerned. However, we can take heart from the fact that we have a very good record against Burnley, winning the last 11 matches against them (all competitions).

Unsurprisingly, Burnley don’t pass the ball very much. They are, in fact, dead last in the league in passes made. They also don’t create very many shots, again the lowest in the league. But Arsenal lead the way in number of bookings (57) while Burnley are a lowly 13th with 43 yellow cards. They also have no red cards, while Arsenal have 3 (tied for most in the league) The referee is Chris Kavanaugh.

Maybe that leniency explains them being on 30 points, because otherwise I don’t understand it. They don’t score a lot of goals, and they don’t defend particularly well either, conceding 38 so far. Chris Wood is their top scorer with 10 goals, Westwood their most active passer and top assist maker, and Tarkowski their leader at the back.


Starting XI: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, Torreira, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Aubameyang

Subs: Martinez, Holding, AMN, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Willock, Lacazette

Too early to start Pablo Mari, and Burnley away doesn’t seem like the right fixture to do it anyway. There is a chance that Kolasinac could be back. He’s reported to be facing a late fitness test. If he is declared fit, we might see Saka make way for him as the physical battle will be the key here against long ball Burnley.

I’m going for a 2-1 Arsenal win.


  1. Staring Laca and Guendouzi ahead of the most fouled players in Pepe & Torreira, has Arteta calibrated his selection for this “battle”?


    • It may well be tactical. If so, a very big call.I note there are 3 outright goal-scorers so the emphasis is clear.

  2. I’d like to have seen Saka and Martinelli combo kept together. Auba had some good RW spells in pre-season. he looks rusty today after the enforced break.

    Classic pgMOB cheating on the offside against Laca.

  3. My Uncensored friends: We must admit that after the 1st 20 minutes we were abysmal playing the Arsenal-Way. Lucky to come away with a draw. I take no pleasure from saying that this blog and my podcasts with George has been totally vindicated. There is no quick fix especially after the decimation of the Arsenal midfield by Emery and Raul.

  4. The full list of AMs turfed out when including both Iwobi and the Jeff is staggering.

    Clearly Arteta can not be arsenalled with the Don’s last loan bung. Hence Willock coming on ahead yet another example of the Don’s footballing genius.

    no doubt Shotts as soon as Xhaka had to vacate the midfield and become the LB after Saka was hobbled (classic Burnley as predicted on here by Shard hehe) early on then the Gunners ability to play make become nullified as it became easier for the home team to mark the one playmaker in ozil, as opposed to two when Xhaka was in his usual role.

    So the usual pattern of play as witnessed here was broken


    Saka has been a revelation since early looking on more ready for the PL then the Don’s Pepe, and a loss in this game with other players in the squad just not quite ready.
    No doubt Kolasinac would’ve started given his good form pre-injury and Shard’s observations above, not having him or the new signing available on the bench was a blow too once Saka was taken out.

    the officiating in away games since stoke 17/18 has been wwf levels, look at the farce on the VAR call in the Tottenham City game it’s a joke not least the inability to call that the keeper was off his line

    I celebrate any point away against these cheats.

    • Arteta certainly saw this level of “officiating” at City, as everyone can see right now, like the Gunners they’re not a favoured club,

      Arteta knows

    • Good spot about getting at least a point away from home. I may only be a layman but as a close observer of this Arsenal squad for years I feel qualified to question Arteta for making Guendouzi our starting #7 instead of Torreira. Going by Arteta’s emphasis on energy, Guendouzi may fit the bill. But as was apparent under Emery he is no passer nor is he a dribbler that forces defenders to drop back in a deep block. IMO If he persists with this experiment it will cost us points as we try to distance ourselves from the drop zone.

      • I am also a know-nothing numpty.

        I see Guendouzi as an 8 and only an 8 in the future, if we number the other two midfield positions as no.6 and 10(ish), all depending on the styles of the players in question.

        But given Torreira was pushed over within minutes and no foul was called, I feel that we can understand the decision to try Matteo today.

        Coquelin (& Gabriel) started for Valencia in their win over Barca this week. Some at the club hobbled AW withholding on a replacement for coquelin till Torreira arrived.

        I hope that Arteta’s plan is to have Niles as his back up no.6, for the rest of this season at least. Too early today for him to try and start in that role, and I think he had an injury too.

        But overall the biggest problem was losing Xhaka from CM. So Arteta will be wanting some more spark plugs in that midfield in the future no doubt about it. The rumours about Lemar were probably more then rumour.

        • It still amazes me how the vast majority of fans are oblivious or in denial of the fact that the Arsenal midfield has been destroyed by Don Raul. Wenger always emphasized a vast variety of midfield options. When he left our active midfield comprised Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, Mikhitartyan, Iwobi and AMN. Out injured were Santi, and Jack. Jeff was out on loan. After one year only three players remain; Ozil, Xhaka and AMN. Of that lot none are dribblers, nor can they break from box to box and score.

          Wenger used to hoard attacking midfielders like Rosicky and Diaby hoping they would recover from injury as these were special players who could both create chances and finish them. Compare Guendouzi or Willock to the latter and marvel at the drop off in quality. Yet people wonder why we can’t consistently dominate midfield and create chances.

          If you claim to be a Arsenal fan then it is important to demand that Raul Sanllehi, who oversaw this disaster, be fired and a new executive put in charge to help Arteta rebuild. Anything less is having a whinge and not addressing the problem at hand.

          • Ah Shotts you and George were unfortunately bang on the money.

            The same know nothing Arsenal holes who went all in on Ozil when the opposing coach was singing his praises just last week are at it again, this week.

            Yes. The same reprobates who composed the humiliating “ozil and Ramsey can’t play together” gibberish last year whilst the midfield was being dismantled, they are back to their old ways, back on the crack, chasing the clicks.

            The same clowns who as you highlight openly attacked the club at times for holding onto footballers like rosicky and Diaby.

            Not long till they go for Arteta then.

            Basically these clowns know even less about the football then the clown Sanllehi, which is why they laud the management consultant who knows nothing about football running a big club: he is living their dream (including the bung on Pepe, as ultimately it’s all about themselves anyway…).

  5. << the same clowns who celebrated when the club sold even a back up CM like chamberlain yes the same Chambo excelling for Liverpool at the moment.

    Yep. They truly know fuck all about the footy.

    Never mind that they celebrated AW having his squad sold out from under him as he didn’t want to lose the players prepped to be the CMs of the future, like Ramsey and Chamberlain, years of investment down the tube, that AW was hobbled by the like of Raul in those final few seasons and that he’ll do the same to Arteta just as soon as he can get away with it. These Arsenal blaggers misleading their listeners so awfully this past period, they are:

    Absolute. Morons.


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