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1516 burnley turf moor 04I watched Arsenal beat Chelsea on Match of the Day last weekend. If I thought tomorrow’s home game against Arsenal might be difficult, that performance sort of confirmed it as goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ӧzil gave them a 3-0 win.

Two days later, we turned in our best performance so far this season in beating Watford when Jeff Hendrick scored his first Burnley goal and Michael Keane netted in the Premier League for the first time.

Arsenal have since won a Champions League game so there is no doubt that both teams are going into the game tomorrow in good form as Burnley, for the second successive week, play in the last fixture in the Premier League game week.

I was asked yesterday when we last beat Arsenal in a league game at home. We can all remember the 2-0 win in the League Cup when Kevin McDonald got both goals and Brian Jensen made more one-on-one saves than we could count, but it is a while longer since we took maximum points from them.

The last win was actually at Highbury in February 1975 when Peter Noble scored in a 1-0 win, while the last home victory came in the previous season, in December 1973, when second half goals from Ray Hankin and Colin Waldron, with a volley, turned it round after John Radford had given Arsenal an early lead.

We move on almost 43 years as we look for that coveted victory over one of the best teams in the Premier League, a team who kicked off the weekend in third place behind leaders Manchester City and their rivals Tottenham.

But I’m no prophet of doom. This will be a difficult game for us, no doubt about that, but we have a team that was capable of deservedly beating Liverpool and there is no reason why we can’t repeat that against Arsenal.

Michael Keane has been in the news this week. Having got that second goal on Monday there has been speculation of a Chelsea offer set to come in during the next window and a firm message from the manager that he is not for sale.

Keane just gets on with his job, commenting only when pushed, and he’s certainly been doing his job this season with some pundits giving him an outside chance of being in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

He’s just enjoying playing for Burnley, especially at home, and said about playing at the Turf: “It became a fortress for us last year and we’ve kicked on, apart from Swansea on the opening day, which was disappointing. We fell like the fans really get behind us here and we feel that anyone who comes here won’t enjoy it.”

With the two goals coming from Jeff Hendrick (a midfielder) and himself, he said; “We’ve got goals coming from everywhere now, whether it’s strikers, midfielders or defenders, that can only help us going forward.”

Since the start of last season, when he claimed a regular place following the departure of Jason Shackell, he’s missed only two league games, through injury, those against Nottingham Forest and Bolton in February when James Tarkowski deputised for him.

He’s very much a first choice on the team sheet now and I would be somewhat surprised if there are any changes in personnel from Monday’s team with Andre Gray serving the second of his four match ban. Ashley Barnes is getting closer but given he hasn’t played since 23rd July it is very unlikely he would be thrown straight back in, even from the bench.

The likely team is: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jeff Hendrick, Dean Marney, Steven Defour, George Boyd, Sam Vokes. Subs: Paul Robinson, Jon Flanagan, James Tarkowski, Aiden O’Neill, Scott Arfield, Michael Kightly, Patrick Bamford.

Arsenal’s season didn’t get off to the best of starts. They played Liverpool at home on the opening week and despite going in front they found themselves 4-1 down early in the second half. They did come back to 4-3 and then drew their next game 0-0 at Leicester.

It’s not been bad since though. They’ve won four out of four in the league, won through in the League Cup and started their Champions League campaign with an away draw against Paris Saint Germain and a 2-0 home win against Basel with Theo Walcott scoring both goals.

Walcott has also scored three league goals but that’s one behind team mate Alexis Sanchez who leads the way with four.

Since that draw at Leicester, they’ve picked up maximum points on the road at both Watford and Hull but it was last week’s 3-0 home win against Chelsea that left Arsène Wenger purring, describing it as one of the best Arsenal performances under his management. It was 2-0 after just 14 minutes with Sanchez and Walcott both scoring. The third and last goal came from Mesut Ӧzil five minutes before half time.

They will provide us with a tough task but they are not unbeatable and I’m looking forward to a good game of football.

Arsenal are likely to have a similar team to the one that beat Chelsea. There was a doubt about Francis Coquelin but he’s recovered from a knee injury quicker than expected and should be available. They will be without Aaron Ramsey, Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson while Olivier Giroud is a doubt.

Their team against Chelsea was: Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ӧzil, Francis Coquelin, Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez. Subs: David Ospina, Lucas Perez, Rob Holding, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka.




Burnley went into the home game against Arsenal in April 2015 having picked up points from both of the previous home games and having kept clean sheets in both. We’d beaten Manchester City 1-0 with a George Boyd goal and then drawn 0-0 with Spurs but little did we know at the time that we wouldn’t score another home Premier League goal until Sam Vokes gave us the lead against Liverpool just six weeks ago.

Any chance of a clean sheet in this one ended in only the 12th minute when Aaron Ramsey scored what proved to be the only goal of the game. “It was an awful goal from start to finish,” said Sean Dyche and it was difficult to argue from the minute Tom Heaton threw the ball out to Jason Shackell.

It came straight back and Alexis Sanchez got in a shot that Shackell blocked. It rebounded to Mesut Ӧzil and this time Kieran Trippier got in the block only for the ball to smack Michael Duff in the face and drop for Ramsey who made no mistake.

It was just the start we didn’t want but we did recover and got more into the game as the first half progressed. It was still Arsenal in front but we certainly improved in the second half with George Boyd and Danny Ings having the best opportunities.

Unfortunately, they saw the game out but Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger was singing our praises after the game as were both Thierry Henry and Harry Redknapp on television.

Four points from three home games against Man City, Spurs and Arsenal had been a good return. We were still next to bottom but we had high hopes with most of the remaining games against teams from much lower in the table.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones (Matt Taylor 90+3), Ashley Barnes, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Stephen Ward, Fredrik Ulvestad, Michael Kightly, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Yellow Cards: Ben Mee, Michael Duff.

Arsenal: David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ӧzil, Alexis Sanchez (Calum Chambers 90+3), Olivier Giroud. Subs not used: Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky, Mathieu Flamini, Theo Walcott.

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