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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.


Kevin Friend


Saturday, 12.30pm



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