Arsenal are on a roll, and it is exactly how Arsene Wenger would want to celebrate his 20year anniversary. The confidence is high within the team, and four wins on the trot in all competitions, with just one goal conceded is the icing on Wenger’s proverbial cake.
In terms of the Premier League, our last outing couldn’t have been much better – our 3-0 hammering of Chelsea ended a five year winless run against the Blues, and the manner in which the victory was obtained really pleased not only the manager, but every Gooner who witnessed the game.
It has invigorated belief that this season may be the watershed campaign for the Gunners. The squad looks complete, and our key players are approaching their peak years. We have upper echelon talent in each position, and the emergence of Alexis as a striker has allowed the inherent strengths of the team to come to the fore.
Olivier Giroud has seen precious little game time, but this is largely down to a troublesome toe injury, and, in terms of our match against Burnley, it is this that again will keep the French striker out of the team. That, and Alexis’s red hot form.
Francis Coquelin’s injury in the Chelsea game looked to have ruled the battling midfielder out for three to four weeks, but surprisingly, he will face a fitness assessment before the game to judge on his availability. Surely though, this game will be too soon for him, and the partnership of Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla will get another game to flourish – which it has done in the last two games. Petr Cech is also expected to regain his place after cup keeper David Ospina took the gloves for the 2-0 win over Basel in the Champions League in midweek.
Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Ramsey are all still unavailable, but Jenkinson recently rejoined first team training, so the lifelong Gooner will hopefully get an opportunity at right-back soon.
Burnley are one of the main reasons why the Premier League is considered the most competitive in the world. Operating on abudget that is dwarved by their opponents, yet they lie a mere three points from Chelsea who are in 8th position. Not only this, but they have broken their transfer record twice this summer, with the captures of Belgian Steven Defour and Irish midfielder Jeff Hendrick from Derby County.
The two expensive additions to the Turf Moor outfit were key in their last win – a 2-0 victory over Watford, and the set-pieces from Defour will be a huge threat in this game.
It is a good thing we have a sound backline now then. Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi are quickly developing a partnership that is scarily effective so early in their joining together. In this current run of only one goal conceded in the last four games, these two have been the main reason for such watertight defending, and they will need to be on top of their game.
The last three games between the two sides at Turf Moor have seen a total of three goals – one for Burnley and two for the Gunners – so a tight contest looks to be on the cards. Alexis may be the prime contender for breaking the potential deadlock, he has three in three against the Clarets.
If we can maintain fitness to our key players, then we have a huge potential for this season. Games such as this one though, will be just as big a hurdle as any other, but still one we are expected to vault over.
With tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool keeping their foot on the gas, we must do the same to keep the pressure on our rivals. We must now show we are more than ready for the fight.
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Walcott, Xhaka, Cazorla, Iwobi, Ozil, Alexis.
Predicted Scoreline – 2-0 Arsenal.