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Sexy Arsenal vs Dirty Burnley?

BURvARS match preview by @ShardGooner

Arsenal is keen to portray the first league win of the season as a fresh start, a new dawn, a bright and shiny future. There is some cause for hope. The first choice defense has now played together, new partnerships are being formed further ahead, and importantly, Aubameyang scored the goal.

The European fixtures midweek had a lot of us feeling left out. But if you believe in fate, or in Arteta, then that will all prove to be for the best. Indeed, that was the popular idea, that a year out of Europe will allow us the ability to challenge for the top 4.

Reality over ideas and slogans

But ideas and slogans eventually have to deal with reality. So far, we’ve not passed that test. If indeed this is a new dawn, we ought to see not just good results, but good performances from the team, starting against Burnley.

I was surprised to read that the fearsome reputation of Burnley at Turf Moor notwithstanding, they haven’t won there in their past 12 PL games, including a loss and a draw this season. That is a good sign for us, just as long as they don’t have their own new dawn following Sean Dyche’s contract extension and with some new players, which may or may not indicate a new direction for them.

Of course it would be naive to go there expecting anything other than a bloodbath, especially considering the new ref directives, and the events of the past couple of weeks where Xhaka winning the ball was red while Burnley could get away with multiple dangerous tackles. The referee is Anthony Taylor.

Roughnecks and gruff-throats

In older days, we could have classified this as sexy Arsenal vs Dirty Stoke’s successor. But now that script may no longer hold. I hope Arsenal can find some of the old joie de vivre they have built their reputation on. Going go into this game with a near clean bill of health, except for Elneny and Holding, will help. They’ll need to stick together against the roughnecks and gruff-throats of Burnley and maybe even fight fire with fire. I certainly hope we’re training for being down to 10 men. But Partey should be back and honestly, I hope to see more from him this season. Injuries haven’t helped him, and it’s not like he’s been bad, but he really ought to do and be more. A good performance from him will go a long way towards helping us win. I also hope we find some more variety in attack and I would be tempted to start with Martinelli instead of Saka, who great as he is, has looked a little tired and off form to me. This should also be an interesting challenge for the two new defenders, White and Tomiyasu. Burnley will surely look to challenge White in the air, and Tomiyasu will need to build on his impressive debut last week, and help out his CB while also contributing in attack.

In other news, we seem open to welcoming Wilshere back at the club to help him in his training to keep fit and find a new club. It would be great to see him back, even though it is not going to be as a player. Hopefully some of the old Arsenal spirit comes back with him and rubs off on our current squad. For now though, it is up to these players to find their belief.

The mood is certainly brighter after we scored our first goal in our first win. Last season this fixture finished a 1-1 draw. We have a chance to start to improve on last season’s results being 6 points down already. Win and maybe we can start to believe. Anything else? Not unthinkable, but unacceptable? Maybe. But it won’t come to that hopefully. Here’s to a good game and the 3 points.


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  1. Rosicky@ArsenalSeptember 18, 2021 at 5:09 am

    Nice read Shard. Haven’t seen Arsenal play this season as it is dire stuff.
    I’ll prefer watch Leeds play than us. Bad days to be an Arsenal fan.
    Wonder if we can play like the mighty old Arsenal under Wenger.
    It will be a tight affair with Burnley playing on the counter. The pigmob will make sure that we are cut into pieces by Sean Dyche men without any warning to them.Lets see if Arteta can change our style of play and learn from Wenger but it seems a bridge too far.

    • My problem with Arteta is not his failures. That can be expected and excused on account of his inexperience. My problem with him is that he doesn’t seem at all inclined to learn. Preferring instead to portray himself as only being let down by others, while playing to the crowd about how he takes responsibility.

      If he had any humility, he would absolutely learn from Wenger. He doesn’t, and he won’t.

      • There was an interesting piece of psycho babble by Arteta in his presser last Thursday. It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to figure out what he means when he said:

        “When I was a player, I made a decision in my career because I had a personal issue with my parents. I decided to go to my former club, Real Sociedad, and that was tough because I had other opportunities, but I did it to be at home next to them, because I thought that was important. I suffered. I didn’t play – I was on the bench and I always said that was the key moment in my career to have more success after. I don’t know how you measure success but to enjoy [it] more, to go to bigger clubs and do that, that was the right moment. Everybody that made those decisions, and the experiences that I had there, it was the right thing that I needed in that moment. At that moment, I couldn’t see it. I was annoyed, upset, angry. I was really bad with myself and everybody but, today looking back at it and reflecting on it, it was the perfect moment in the right time.”

        Apparently being manager at Arsenal is Real Sociedad all over again. But he will persist and he will eventually succeed. The proof is when he ends up at a bigger club. There is absolutely no humility, contrition or self-criticism. between him and Josh Kroenke I think we are screwed for a very long time.

    • Well you were right Roa. It was tight only because frankly we are now a mid table team that allows 40 crosses from the 2nd worse team in the league. They outshot us and had more shots on goal but we squeaked by a single free kick which was magnificently struck tbh. “1 free kick vs 40 crosses” is vampire football as me and George described in our YouTube. It is pathetic.

  2. Rosicky@ArsenalSeptember 20, 2021 at 4:21 am

    Tks Shotta. I did not see the game and it seems it was the right decision as it was a lackluster game.
    The Wobs are celebrating the win however. Let’s see how long their celebration last.


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