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22 December 2018 Venue Emirates Stadium Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Arsenal v Burnley

Tale of the tape as the Clarets head back to North London to face the Gunners

21 December 2018

The Clarets return to North London on Saturday to face an Arsenal side smarting from their Caraboa Cup defeat to local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Burnley were also on the wrong end of a defeat to Spurs last time out.

But Sean Dyche’s men were only minutes away from a big point at Wembley before substitute Christian Eriksen scored in stoppage time to give Mauricio Pochettino’s title hopefuls a 1-0 win a week ago.

The Clarets produced an impressive defensive display at Tottenham, but will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice following a run of late goals in recent games against the Gunners.

Arsenal have won with goals in the last minute or beyond in three of the last four meetings – and invariably with a touch of controversy.

 

“We’ve had some interesting times,” said diplomatic Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

“I don’t think you can rely on Lady Luck, though you always hope something comes your way.”

The Clarets need at least a point, or a two-goal swing with Huddersfield-bound Southampton, to avoid going into Christmas in the bottom three.

Fifth-placed Arsenal, meanwhile, are hoping to stay on the coat-tails of the top four.

But Dyche is looking to build on the Clarets' recent run of improved performances - with something concrete to show for it before his side faces big back-to-back home games against Everton and West Ham over the festive period.

"We’ve had a blip," he added. "Now it’s about changing results.

"We had a good performance last week against a top team. Performances are coming back, although we can still get better.

"And we have to get the reward of points, because that's the nature of business."

Team news

The Clarets will be without winger Aaron Lennon following knee surgery.

Steven Defour is also set to miss out and Robbie Brady requires a fitness check.

The possible return of wideman Johann Berg Gudmundsson after he missed last weekend's trip to Wembley would be welcome to increase manager Sean Dyche’s options.

Arsenal have defensive problems with Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Konstantinos Mavropanos all out.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny may start in central defence.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Sead Kolasinac face fitness tests but World Cup winner Mesut Ozil is expected to be in the squad after missing the mid-week defeat to Tottenham.

Form guide

The Clarets have just one win in 10 games to their name but have undoubtedly proved more difficult to beat in recent weeks.

Arsenal are one place outside the top four but go into the game on the back of successive defeats.

The Gunners also started the season with back-to-back losses but then went unbeaten until Charlie Austin’s winner for Southampton last weekend ended that 22-game run.

North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur then knocked Unai Emery’s side out of the Carabao Cup in mid-week.

Opposition camp

Arsenal manager Unai Emery: “I trust in my players, I trust in our strikers, and tomorrow we need every supporter to help us.

“We are also going to push to give them a good match with energy, by playing well, and also with the three points in victory.

“We will play with a big respect for Burnley because they are a very good team with very good players.

“They played very well organised and also defensively they are very strong, and they have the personality to play with the long ball, the second action, a lot of crosses and have players with quality to score. This is a big match tomorrow.”

Match stats

The Clarets are looking for a first win in 11 games against Arsenal.

Arsenal's two home defeats in the Premier League in 2018 have both come against Manchester City.

The Gunners have not led at half-time in any of their 17 Premier League games so far this season.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has made a league-high 15 substitutions before the start of the second half.

Referee

Kevin Friend

Kick-off

Saturday, 12.30pm

 

 

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Match Reports

Arsenal 3 Burnley 1

Fightback falls short as brave Burnley finally out-Gunned

22 December 2018

The Clarets are heading towards Christmas in the bottom three of the Premier League but showed the fighting spirit they will need to get out of trouble by pushing Arsenal all the way at the Emirates Stadium.

Burnley remain without an away success since the end of September and were unable to break the stranglehold Arsenal have inflicted on them in winning 10 of the past 11 fixtures between the two clubs thanks to two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an injury-time strike from Alex Iwobi.

But even taking into account last-minute winners in three of the last four meetings, few of those victories have had to be harder earned as Sean Dyche’s men bossed a second half book-ended by goals from Aubameyang and substitute Iwobi.

Ashley Barnes reduced the arrears with half an hour to go and the Clarets sniffed the possibility of a point as Arsenal were hanging on to try and close out the win that would keep them in touch with the top four.

But a second goal wouldn’t come and Burnley now return to Turf Moor for back-to-back home games against Everton and West Ham knowing they now need to put points to performances to give their survival bid added momentum.

With Aaron Lennon and Robbie Brady both on the injured list – and Johann Berg Gudmudsson not quite ready to return – the Clarets were shorn of all their senior widemen and named teenage defender Ali Koiki on the bench for the first time.

The changes meant a return for Chris Wood and Jeff Hendrick in a narrower midfield three and Wood as a forward partner for Barnes.

The result was an increase in attacking options and more of a threat going forward than the Clarets had provided at Tottenham a week earlier.

But Arsenal were also able to carry more of a cutting edge than their North London rivals had done and in a dramatic passage of play just two minutes in, both sides had chances to score.

It took the combined efforts of Joe Hart and James Tarkowski to keep Arsenal out with Hart saving well from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Tarkowski bravely getting ahead of Aubameyang to block the follow-up.

And the Clarets then immediately broke away with Barnes releasing Ashley Westwood for an effort which would have brought the midfielder his first Burnley goal but for the toe-end of goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The Clarets certainly had the ability to rattle an Arsenal side which had lost only twice in the Premier League at home in 2018.

But crucially the Gunners drew first blood after a quarter of an hour with the only goal of an occasionally fractious and feisty first half.

Club captain Mesut Ozil couldn’t get a game in Arsenal’s mid-week Caraboa Cup defeat to Tottenham but returned as captain here and showed a fleeting flash of class with a defence-breaking pass.

Left-back Sead Kolasinac was the beneficiary and when he knocked the ball back across goal, Aubameyang steered the ball into the corner of the net to claim his 12th Premier League goal of the campaign as Arsenal led at the break for the first time this season.

The Clarets were far from out of it, although three minutes into the second half their task became twice as difficult in the blink of an eye as Arsenal pounced to double their lead.

From pressing for an equaliser at one end, Burnley were suddenly undone on the break as Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette combined to release Aubameyang to rifle home his second of the afternoon.

That could have finished the Clarets, but they responded superbly.

Wood, despite looking well off-side, passed up a chance when he was slow to pull the trigger and Sokratis got back to clear before Kevin Long was pushed in the back by Kolasinac but Burnley’s wait for a Premier League game extended beyond a 60th game.

But with 63 minutes gone the Clarets were firmly back in the hunt as Barnes struck to raise hopes of a successful fightback.

Barnes had been a handful for the Arsenal defence all afternoon and got his reward when Long’s block following a melee in the penalty area fell for the striker to drive home his first Premier League goal since a double to help beat Bournemouth in September.

Jack Cork then had a sight of goal from Wood’s lay-off but sliced his effort wide as the Clarets gave everything to try and force an equaliser.

But the Gunners have made a habit of hurting Burnley with late goals and in stoppage time they grabbed a third to finally bank the points.

Again, the Clarets had to commit men forward and after breaking from inside his own half, Iwobi was then in the right place to collect a mis-hit shot from Ozil and slot home the goal which gave the scoreline an unflattering look for a Burnley side which could have given little more.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Monreal (Lichtsteiner, 37), Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Elneny (Torreira 59), Xhaka, Ozil, Lacazette (Iwobi 78), Aubameyang. Substitutes: Cech, Ramsey, Nketiah, Saka.

Booked: Sokratis, Guendouzi.

Burnley: Hart, Bardsley (Lowton 83), Long, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Westwood, Cork, Hendrick, Barnes Vokes 77), Wood (Vydras 77). Substitutes: Heaton, Lowton, Gibson, McNeil, Koiki.

Booked: Barnes, Wood, Mee, Cork

Referee: Kevin Friend

Attendance: 59,493

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