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It’s Arsenal at home tomorrow with us still searching for a first win of the season, having picked up just the one point, from a home draw against Leeds, so far this season.

I keep looking back at the first four games and thinking that I’ve been quite pleased with the performances but there clearly is more than a little problem when you only get one point from four games, and, worse still, drop eight points from winning positions.

In some ways, we followed on from the latter part of last season when we were beaten at Southampton and then at home against Newcastle and West Ham at home having been in front in all of them.

This season, Brighton scored two in goals in five minutes to beat us 2-1, Leeds scored a late equaliser and then, at Everton, we somehow allowed them to score three times in six minutes when I thought we looked more than comfortable with the 1-0 lead gained from Ben Mee’s goal.

Yes, we are playing reasonably well, much better than at this early stage last season, but it’s no use if you concede goals as we’ve been doing.

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Fit again Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson had an excellent game against Brighton and got himself an assist at Everton said: “It’s been a mixed start really. We’ve had some good performances but just not got the results. On Monday, it just wasn’t good enough for those six minutes.”

He added: “Both in the Brighton and Everton games, in a big part of those games we have done really well, but a sloppy spell has cost us.”

Burnley fans have been delighted to see JBG report fit for the first four games of the season after a couple of injury hit years but are also now aware of the new man in the building in terms of playing in a wide position.

That new man in the building is, of course, Maxwel Cornet who has joined us from Lyon since we last played at home and was on the bench at Everton. I suspect he will be again tomorrow and could be joined by Nathan Collins who missed out at Everton with an injury he picked up on international duty.

Kevin Long is getting closer having featured in two games but is probably going to be given another game before he is considered. Conor Roberts, our deadline day signing from Swansea, is not far behind him and that just leaves Dale Stephens in the injury list but he’s according to Sean Dyche, making good progress.

I’m not sure there will be many changes, if any, from the team beaten last Monday at Goodison Park, but I suspect there might be a first start this season for Matěj Vydra.

The team could be: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Matěj Vydra. Subs from: Wayne Hennessey, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Bobby Thomas, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Jack Cork, Maxwel Cornet, Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez, Lewis Richardson.

Arsenal’s start to the season hadn’t been any better than ours until a week ago when, after suffering three successive defeats, they beat Norwich 1-0 at the Emirates with a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal.

They’ve made some big signing over the summer. Brighton central defender Ben White was the most expensive at £50 million, but they also spent big on goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United, Martin Ødegaard (pictured below), who made his move from Real Madrid a permanent one, Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna) and Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht).

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In fairness, they weren’t given the easiest of starts. They opened the season at newly promoted Brentford and then faced Chelsea at home. Both ended in 2-0 defeats and then they did a Burnley and lost 5-0 at Manchester City. But that Aubameyang goal last week gave them their first points, their first win and to 16th in the table, although Leeds have move ahead of them tonight.

They have a couple of injury problems with Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny ruled out with knee and hamstring injuries respectively. They will also be without Granit Xhaka who hasn’t always bothered playing the full ninety minutes against us in any case.

Last week against Norwich, they lined up: Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nicolas Pépé, Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Subs: Bernd Leno, Thomas Party, Alexandre Lacazette, Emile Smith Rowe, Cédric Soares, Varela Tavares, Calum Chambers, Pablo Marí, Gabriel Martinelli.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

The home game against Arsenal last season ended in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal scoring after six minutes and Burnley equalising six minutes before half time but there was to be plenty of action after the break, much of it involving substitute Erik Pieters.

There didn’t seem much danger when Willian found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but he got past Matt Lowton and fired in a shot that beat Nick Pope at his near post. We were a goal behind.

The equaliser was something else. Well done to Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Chris Wood and Matěj Vydra who pressed them as they tried to play out from the back. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno stupidly played the ball to Granit Xhaka whose ball across the box went into the net off Wood’s hip.

We played so well in the second half at times that we probably should have gone on and won it but what an afternoon Pieters had having replaced the injured Charlie Taylor just past the hour.

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He got away with a potential penalty for handball, although it would have been harsh, he was yellow carded because Alexandre Lacazette rolled around and then squealed loud enough, and the forced Bernd Leno into a terrific save.

That wasn’t all, he was then sent off for handling the ball on the line, a double whammy with referee Andre Marriner pointing to the spot. Pieters looked bemused. He knew it had come off his shoulder, the replays showed it and VAR rescinded the red card and the penalty.

Arsenal almost did what Arsenal do against us at the end, but the post saved us, and anything less than a point would have been a rank injustice.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor (Erik Pieters 63), Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady 68), Ashley Westwood, Josh Brownhill, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Matěj Vydra (Jay Rodriguez 86). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Dale Stephens, Josh Benson.
Yellow Card: Erik Pieters.

Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, David Luiz, Pablo Marí, Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey (Dani Ceballos 80), Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard (Alexandre Lacazette 63), Willian (Nicolas Pépé 69), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Subs not used: Mat Ryan, Héctor Bellerín, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Gabriel Martinelli.

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