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Dyche Keen To Test Against The Best

Rating his team not revenge is manager's mission against Gunners

25 November 2017

Sean Dyche says competing against one of the Premier League’s big guns is his priority – not seeking pay-back for two controversial decisions against Arsenal last season.

The Clarets lost to two single-goal defeats to the Gunners last term, with both winning goals highly debatable.

Laurent Koscielny’s final touch in claiming a last-gasp winner at Turf Moor came via his arm.

And when Burnley were beaten by another extra-time goal at the Emirates Stadium in January, they felt hard done to by the lack of an off-side decision in the build-up to the decisive penalty.

But that’s history to Dyche, with the Burnley boss more interested in how his in-form side deals with another top-six side.

“It’s an opportunity to measure ourselves, yet again, against one of the top clubs in the division,” said the Burnley boss ahead of the Sunday afternoon meeting at Turf Moor (kick-off 2pm).

“We’re not really worried about righting wrongs.

“I’m sure Arsene would probably be similar to me in thinking two big decisions went against us. I certainly didn’t get the feeling he was ever trying to think anything different than that.

 “It’s not about righting wrongs, it’s about us building on what we’re trying to do.”

The Clarets’ record against top-six opposition so far this season is highly impressive, with Dyche’s side taking points from three of the four teams they’ve played so far.

That has helped the Clarets up to seventh place – one below Arsenal – knowing that a first Premier League win against the Gunners would lift them into the top four.

“So far we’ve done well with that, but these are one of the top sides, as I see them,” added Dyche, who has overseen three successive league wins without conceding a goal.

“There’s no exact measurement. The result is the obvious one, but beyond the result, how are you performing against some of the biggest teams, the most powerful teams?

“Not on a one-off basis, but over a season, playing against the super-power clubs. Not just the score, but how was your performance level?

“I think that’s something to look and add into the bigger picture of ‘are we moving the team forward?’

“I believe the team is, and not just defensively. We are finding a calmness to our play at times during games.

“We can still mix our play, which like I do, and the style of what we do is changing slightly and building slightly and moving forward. But it does take time.”

No-one has had more time in the Premier League to shape their team than Arsene Wenger, who has been in charge of the Gunners since 1996.

He has led his side to a 100 per cent home league record this season, but Arsenal have won just once away from home so far.

And the Frenchman admits his side must try and re-create the intensity they showed when beating North London rivals Tottenham last week if they are to avoid becoming another high-profile victim of the Clarets.

Wenger said: “The intensity of the [Tottenham] game was total because both teams went for it.

“Both teams, every time they won the ball, went forward so the intensity was higher.

“Every game gives you a different problem to sort out, for you to find a strategic solution to be efficient.

“Against Burnley, that will be different. They are a team who maybe play a bit deeper than Tottenham because they have a strong defensive efficiency.

“You have to keep your nerve, even if you have the ball, to be calm and accurate. You have to be defensively strong as well because they are very efficient going forward.

“Burnley are the most unexpected team to be there with 22 points. You cannot deny that, of course.

“But if you analyse our games physically, we have been strong physically since the start of the season.”

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