The last Arsenal League Preview of the season, and it would appear that most pundits agree that Unai Emery will be making wholesale changes from Thursday’s line-up despite our very slim chance of still achieving the Top Four (and also in big danger of being demoted to sixth behind Man United). I myself don’t think that Emery will rest everyone. For starters Aubameyang could do with another hat-trick to put him in the pole position for the Golden Boot, and if we could have a healthy lead at half time with the Spuds losing, we may go all out for the big score. It could be an exciting game! It is worth noting that Aubz has only faced Burnley twice and scored two goals each time (both at the Emirates).
But the facts are that our away form has been terrible again this season, and we just don’t have the confidence away from the Emirates. Let’s look at our last six away League games…
We have two wins against lowly sides, and in fact we didn’t win any of our previous six away either, so 2 wins out of our last 12 doesn’t inspire confidence. This form makes our wins at Valencia and Napoli in the Europa League even more astounding!
So what about Burnley’s form at Turf Moor…
The Clarets had an awful start to the season, but improved to pull themselves away from the relegation zone and are a side that is notoriously hard to beat at home, especially from an Arsenal point of view. We may have won our last 9 meetings between us, but at Burnley we have only won our last three visits by narrow 1-0 scorelines, and two of those were last minute winners. In fact we have to go back to 2008 to find the last time we scored more than one at Turf Moor. Maybe it won’t be so easy to get the 6-0 win I am hoping for!
We won the return match at the Emirates 3-1, but made hard work of it until we got the decider in the 91st minute, and Emery knows today’s game won’t be easy. “We struggled a lot here against them.” the Boss said. “I remember this match and I watched it two weeks ago when they drew with Chelsea. It was a very tough match against Chelsea and I’m expecting the same on Sunday in Burnley. We are going to play with the idea of imposing our gameplan, our capacity and our team against them. We know it’s going to be a difficult match with long balls, second actions and set-pieces, so we need to defend well in these situations.”
We can hope that Burnley switch off as they have nothing to play for, but Emery is aware that Arsenal still need these three points. He said: “We are fifth in the table and our target is that. We going to play Burnley not with the possibility of getting into top four, but it’s one to keep the fifth position and we are going to fight against Manchester United now. It’s going to be a difficult match but for us it’s a big challenge playing Burnley away. They are having a good season and last year they played in the Europa League. For us it’s one step more in our progress and our process. Also, yesterday night we arrived very late so there are going to be some players who are tired and some players with problems to play Sunday, but we are going to play with the players who have been hungry to play, win and keep this fifth position.”
So I personally don’t believe that Emery will field a totally changed side, although he will want some fresh legs on the pitch. Hopefully the players that do come in will want to impress the Boss to try and make the team for the big Final as well. Emery wants to see some more hunger! “We were very late yesterday. We arrived at 6am and today we cancelled training for today because it’s important to rest. Tomorrow we are going to prepare for Sunday’s match but I am going to decide with the players who are hungry and in good physical condition to play this match.”
So who could be in the starting XI? We have no new injuries, which means Holding, Bellerin, Ramsey, Welbeck and the hapless Suarez are all still unavailable. I am sure that in defence Koscielny won’t play today, but Mustafi will, and I am pretty sure that we will start the game with both Laca and Aubz up front. They are on fire at the moment and I think Emery will be going all out for a quick attacking start to the match. I also think Ozil may get one last chance to try and prove he deserves a start in the Final.
So here is my line-up prediction….
Maitland-Niles.. Nacho.. Sokratis.. Mustafi.. Kolasinac
That is a real attacking line-up in my eyes as we go for the jugular from the off, but then again, we know that Emery wants the three points above all so he may be a bit more conservative in the beginning..
Any way here are my betting suggestions to make the game more interesting…
I have found this great betting exchange site called MustardBet, and the prices are excellent and rapidly change in real time according to bets placed, so I will be using their prices today….
Considering that Arsenal have won the last nine meetings with Burnley, the price of an Arsenal win at 2.155 from MustardBet looks amazing value.
With the last three visits to Turf Moor having been the same score, should we bet on 1-0 to Arsenal at 11.72. It’s the points that matter!
But I still think it will be a high-scoring end to the season, for all the reasons I have highlighted above. So I recommend over 3 goals at 1.919 from MustardBet
I am so looking forward to an excellent end of season game from the Gunners. COYG!!!