Arsenal vs Burnley: Match Preview, The Stage, Key Figures & The Challenge.

THE STAGE

Both teams had an open-top bus parade last season, one for a first trophy in nearly a decade, the other for winning promotion back to the top flight.

Arsenal welcome a very underpar Burnely on Saturday with the expectation that the Clarets may not still pick up their first win of the campaign. Having won promotion from finishing second in the Championships last season for only their second ever Premier League campaign, it is already looking so ominous that this may end like the first. Burnley’s last competitive victory was at home to Ipswich on the 26th of April – their 26th win of that Championship season – 26 weeks ago. They lost their first three opening games of the season – Chelsea, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup – and have only managed to pick four draws from their past 9 League games, three of which were scoreless.

The story has not been all too pleasant for the Gunners either. With just one victory at home in the League this season, hearing Wenger talk about Arsenal’s chances of winning the title is not really taken serious by pundits. City, Tottenham and Hull have come to the Emirates and put us under pressure for long periods in the game. Whether the players appear to be under a little more pressure when playing at home has to come under serious consideration, Wenger does know that the League is mostly won at home.

KEY FIGURES

No rewards for guessing who Arsenal’s most important player is at the moment. With injuries and fitness issues spreading like a flu amongst Wenger’s stars, Alexis Sanchez has surely distinguished himself as not only Arsenal’s best player but one of the League’s stand out performers this season. Five goals and 2 assists in his first 8 Premier League games is the best return for a player not playing as a center forward in the League this season, and going by his constant drive an willingness to chase down every ball, there is no saying he will hit the trough anytime soon. The scare to Kieran Gibbs must be a worry to Arsene as the left back has been at his very best this season amidst the inconstancies of an ever flickering defensive set up. Monreal would have to readjust to his default setting if Gibbs proves unfit, but that must be a huge blow.

Burnley’s hopes for goals coming into the season were hinged on the shoulders of youngster Danny Ings and the fact he just managed to score his first of the season in their last game, a 3 – 1 defeat to Everton, would show how desperate Sean Dyche’s men have been. Yet, the 22 year old could still pose to be a handful for Per Mertesacker and whoever his partner will be on Saturday. Former Hull City man George Boyd would have watched us scrape a draw at home to his former teammates and must be fancying himself as leading him new teammates to do the same

THE CHALLENGE

It is another must win game for Arsenal. Indeed, for both clubs as Burnley lie 20th  and look certain to go down unless something drastic begins to happen by way of improvement before Christmas. Sean Dyche believes his lads won’t be going to the Emirates heads down, and neither must Wenger’s boys go in to th game as over – confident as they were against Hull. There is a real chance of some changes occurring on the League table this weekend with the Manchester derby coming up, with City stuttering over the past few games. Both Southampton and West Ham will have tough away trips this to Hull and Stoke respectively, presenting us with an opportunity to get a closer sniff at the zenith. Not that the players’ minds should be on those games as we’re still about 11 goals and 5 points away from the Saints.

Forced errors or own goals, Lads, just do the job.

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