Mikel Arteta already knows how tough it is take points from Sean Dyche’s team, and Burnley seem to be proud of the fact that they will kick talented teams into submission in the search for points in the League, as Arsenal learnt to their cost last season.
But Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool managed to beat the Clarets a few weeks ago, and the German thinks that referees have now even made it easier to get away with fouls due to the new rules of “letting the game flow” as he described after the feisty game at Anfield.
“We always had to be ready for a proper fight and we were,” Klopp said on the BBC.
“You saw these challenges with [Ashley] Barnes and [Chris] Wood and Virgil [van Dijk] and Joel [Matip].
“I’m not 100 per cent sure if [officials] are going in the right direction with these decisions.
“It’s like we’re going 10 to 15 years backwards. The rules are like they are, but you cannot defend these situations. That’s how it makes the game really tricky.
“I don’t think it’s right, but I cannot decide these things. I heard about leaving the game [to] flow, but now we have these situations.
“The second goal from Brentford [against Arsenal on the opening day] must be a foul – you cannot clip the arm of the goalkeeper and say, ‘that’s football’. I think maybe we have to think about it a second or a third time.
“The message now is let the game flow, but nobody exactly knows what that means.
“I like decisions that favour the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling.
“In a lot of moments, we played a brilliant game without scoring. In all the other moments we had to fight incredibly hard. We won it and nobody got injured.”
So this is yet another reminder of what Arsenal players can expect when they go to Turf Moor this afternoon. The Clarets winger Johann Gudmundsson has already declared that Burnley are setting out to make things as “uncomfortable as possible” for the Gunners, and I’m sure our players haven’t forgotten the treatment they got last season.
We only managed one point from both fixtures last season, let’s hope Arteta has got a plan to overcome Dyche’s tactics this time around…