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arsenal 2 1000x500Burnley will be looking to end a horrible run of ten successive defeats against Arsenal tomorrow when we kick off our away programme in the Premier League this season.

Back in December 2009, a Graham Alexander penalty just before the half hour earned us a point in a 1-1 draw against them at home in what was the  first occasion the two sides had met in the Premier League and the first time in league football since 1975.

We might have been very fortunate that night to see Cesc Fábregas forced off just before half time but by the end of the game we might well have won it and would have done but for an incorrect assistant’s flag wrongly disallowing a Steven Fletcher goal for offside.

Bad decisions going against us has been something of a flavour since in this fixture that has seen us, since that draw, lose on all ten occasions, nine of them in the Premier League and once in the FA Cup when they beat us 2-1 at the Emirates in January 2016.

It will be seven years in October since Sean Dyche became Burnley manager. Since that day we’ve played 49 different clubs in league football, Norwich will become the fiftieth soon, and Arsenal are the only one of those 49 we haven’t won at least a point against. In fact they are one of only three teams we haven’t beaten, the others being Manchester United and Peterborough, the latter who we have played just once in the Dyche era.

We are never going to be anything but underdogs I suppose in this fixture given Arsenal are very much one of the big six in the league, if not anywhere near close to being up at the top now, but we know, yet again it will be a very difficult game tomorrow unless we play out of our skin and they have an off day.

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New club captain Ben Mee has been delighted with the pre-season and the win last week on opening day. “It’s only one game in but we are determined to show everyone what we can do and how much we do deserve to be in this league,” he said. “We want to do better than last year and be more consistent in our season.”

With the trip to Arsenal to come , he added: “We always look forward to going there and I always feel we’re close to getting something, but for one reason or another we haven’t managed to do that.

“They’ve always been interesting games and hopefully this time we can be on the right side of the result. It would be nice for something to go our way. We’ve had a bit of bad luck, but we generally play well there, and we will go there with full confidence from the weekend and I don’t see why we can’t go and get something.”

Mee, alongside partner James Tarkowski, was in good form last week and it is unlikely Sean Dyche will be too keen to make changes to the team. He does have Charlie Taylor fit and available again although Erik Pieters, on last week’s form, might take some shifting. Robbie Brady is still troubled with his rib injury while Steven Defour remains some weeks away yet from full fitness. There will be no place in the squad either for latest recruit Danny Drinkwater; he’s fit but not yet Dyche fit.

I think the team is likely to be: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon, Matěj Vydra, Jay Rodriguez.

Arsenal were also winners last week. They beat Newcastle 1-0 at St. James’ Park with a goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He likes playing against Burnley; three times he’s lined up against us, three times he’s scored twice.

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They’ve spent big in the transfer market this summer. None of those new signings started at Newcastle although Dani Ceballos, on a season long loan from Real Madrid, and Nicolas Pépé (pictured above) both came on as substitutes in the second half.

Missing last week were Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac for security reasons. Both are available this week, although Özil isn’t likely to feature. Arsenal will also be without the injured Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Dinos Mavropanos and their recent signing from Celtic Kieran Tierney. Granit Xhaka is being assessed with bruising to his lower back and leg but could feature. The new pair who came on as subs could get their first starts while Mr Anti-Football David Luiz could get a debut following his move from Chelsea and there could be a return for Alexandre Lacazette who wasn’t fully fit and sat on the bench last week.

The Arsenal team at Newcastle was: Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Calum Chambers, Sokratis, Nacho Monreal, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Martinelli Silva), Joe Willock (Dani Ceballos), Reiss Nelson, Nicolas Pépé, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Subs not used: Emiliano Martínez, David Luiz, Lucas Torreira, Alexandre Lacazette.

 

LAST TIME WE WERE THERE

 

Things hadn’t been going too well for us but one week earlier we’d fielded a back five at Wembley against Spurs and were very close to getting a point from a 0-0 draw and that prompted Sean Dyche to line up similarly at Arsenal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who else, opened the scoring early in the game after a link up between Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac but that proved to be the only goal of the first half which left us very much in the game provided we didn’t concede early in the second half.

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We did just that, Aubameyang getting his customary second very early in the half, but we fought back and gave it a really good go. Ashley Barnes pulled one back after the ball had been headed across the box by Ben Mee and touched on by Kevin Long, and that just after we’d been denied a clear penalty by referee Kevin Friend.

Arsenal were worried but it got to the ninety minutes still 2-1 in their favour and the usual happened in stoppage time. Alex Iwobi made it 3-1 and it was blatantly offside, something we’ve become so accustomed to in games against Arsenal.

We were back in the bottom three and our next game was the Boxing Day home fixture against Everton, and we know what happened then.

The teams were;

Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Mohamed Elneny (Lucas Torreira 59), Nacho Monreal (Stefan Lichsteiner 37), Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac, Mesut Özil, Alexandre Lacazette (Alex Iwobi 78), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Subs not used: Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka.

Burnley: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley (Matt Lowton 83), Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Barnes (Sam Vokes 77), Chris Wood (Matěj Vydra 77). Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Ben Gibson, Ali Koiki, Dwight McNeil.

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