Burnley host Arsenal in what is going to be a fascinating fixture. It is a huge test for Mikel Arteta, as he will be facing a physical side capable of causing an upset. The Gunners have been mocked at the beginning of the new season, but they won their last fixture. Supporters will be expecting them to start climbing the table. However, they showed on the opening day that they can be beaten in matches like this one. The hosts have had a poor start to the campaign, but they will know that they can beat Arsenal.
Sean Dyche signed a new contract during the week, which suggests that he is now feeling like the club is headed in the right direction. There had been conflict with the previous owners, but the new ownership backed him towards the end of the transfer window. There is hope that there is ambition to get better and that was lacking at times under the previous regime. Burnley have only managed to take one point from the first four matches. This is a chance for them to get their first victory of the season.
Arsenal spent a lot of money during the summer. Their critics will say that they didn’t really strengthen the team, despite a lot of resources being put into recruitment. That is a little unfair on some of their recruits. A lot of young talent has come into the club and there is hope that they can now develop under Arteta. Although the head coach has his critics, there is still belief that he is the right man to take the club forward. It is important that they avoid any more poor results like the one at Brentford. This will be seen as a fixture he must win.
- Burnley are currently on their longest run of matches without a win at Turf Moor in the Premier League. They have failed to win any of their last 12 home matches.
- Arsenal have a good record at Turf Moor. The last time they lost at the stadium was in 1973.
In recent seasons, Chris Wood has been the most reliable source of goals in the Burnley team. It is still an area of the game that they struggle with, but it will be hoped that the New Zealand striker can score double figures again. He has already managed to find the back of the net once and he is the profile of striker that can cause a lot of problems for Arsenal. Wood is tall, physical and capable of winning the battle against Ben White. There will be a lot of balls into the box and if Wood is on his game, he could have a decisive impact on the match. He carries a threat throughout matches, as shown by his 2.5 shots per game this season. Ivan Toney and Romelu Lukaku have already shown how to cause problems against this Arsenal team. Wood should take confidence from those two matches, as he can have a similar impact on Saturday.
Bukayo Saka is no longer a secret, after his performances at the European Championships. Every team will be more aware of the threat that he carries. Although his attacking quality is his main asset, he is a hard working player. This makes him perfect for difficult matches against physical teams like Burnley. He won’t get intimidated and it is an opportunity for him to show his quality in the Premier League. The England international has been building his match fitness. He has yet to kickstart his 2021/22 season. The attacker contributed five goals and three assists last season. After his excellent summer, he will now be trying to increase his number of goals and assists. That is the next step in his career.
Connor Roberts and Nathan Collins are both doubts. The summer signings are unlikely to have started in any case. Dale Stephens and Kevin Long are longer term absentees.
Granit Xhaka is still suspended following his red card against Manchester City. Rob Holding is a doubt, while Mohamed Elneny will be unavailable.
Burnley have had a worrying start to the season. They continue to drop points from winning positions and that is unlike the Burnley that we have become used to in the Premier League. Their ongoing issues at home are another concern. Although Arsenal lost their first three matches of the season, they should have the talent to go to Turf Moor and win. The victory last weekend has taken some of the pressure off, but it is key that they follow that up with another win. They should have the quality to beat Sean Dyche’s men.
Burnley 1-2 Arsenal