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In mid-December 1973, Burnley came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Turf with second half goals from Ray Hankin and Colin Waldron, a result that left us third in the First Division and Arsenal some way behind us in twelfth place.

That game was over fifty years ago but Arsenal haven’t lost a league game at Burnley since. There have only been ten but they’ve beaten us six times with the other four ending in draws with two of those defeats coming from stoppage time winners courtesy of awful decisions from Craig Pawson and Lee Mason. The only home success we’ve had was back in our 2008/09 promotion season when we beat them 2-0 in the fifth round of the League Cup with two Kevin McDonald goals.

They arrive at Burnley this season with the second best away record in the Premier League to take on the team with the worst home record. It’s not just the home record that’s leaving us in the bottom three; only Sheffield United have picked up less points than us on the road, but our home record is frightening and here we are in mid-February with only one win and that against the one team who sit behind us in the table.

We are fast approaching the time when even our most optimistic supporters will accept that avoiding the drop is going to be beyond difficult but, as things stand, we are only eight points from safety although that’s a lot of points for a team who have picked up just thirteen all season.

Last time out at home we scored two second half goals to rescue a point against Fulham but this was a performance that offered precious little hope, but then last week, despite losing 3-1, the performance at Liverpool was much, much better.

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It’s been like that all season, an occasional performance that has offered some hope but then other games that have left everyone flat and our inability to offer much at home, just five points from twelve games, has left the Turf a totally different place to that we were experiencing last season.

It would be fantastic to get some more wins on the Turf and even more so if we could kick off a good run of home form tomorrow against the side who have picked up so many undeserved points here over recent years with those shocking decisions.

Last week at Liverpool, we were without Charlie Taylor, Jordan Beyer, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson and Lyle Foster through injury to add to the long term injury victims Nathan Redmond and Luca Koleosho. Taylor was seen warming up pre-match at Anfield and Vincent Kompany confirmed yesterday that he’d been close for that game. As for the others, we know Beyer and Foster won’t be back tomorrow with Foster having had surgery this week on his injury. It’s likely that all of the three January signings – Lorenz Assignon (pictured above), Maxime Estève and David Datro Fofana – could all start again with the latter two getting their first Turf Moor starts.

Last week’s team was: James Trafford, Lorenz Assignon, Dara O’Shea, Maxime Estève, Hannes Delcroix, Aaron Ramsey, Sander Berge, Josh Brownhill, Wilson Odobert, Zeki Amdouni, David Datro Fofana. Subs: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho, Hjalmar Ekdal, Han-Noah Massengo, Josh Cullen, Jack Cork, Manuel Benson, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Jay Rodriguez.

Our visitors Arsenal are currently third in the table, behind Manchester City on goal difference and two points behind leaders Liverpool. In our previous two seasons in the Premier League they’d finished eighth and fifth and looked anything but a team likely to challenge at the top. That’s changed dramatically since. They ended the 2022/23 season as runners-up, just five points behind winners City and a massive nine points clear of Manchester United in third place. There was a time when they looked likely winners; that was until City went on a run of twelve successive wins.

They’ve enjoyed spells on top this season too but the City juggernaut seems to be underway again although Arsenal arrive at Burnley having won each of their last four league games which included a home win against Liverpool.

They’ve won nine of their twelve home games to date. Away from home they’ve won seven times although have been beaten on three occasions. They’ve recorded victories on the road at Crystal Palace, Everton, Bournemouth, Brentford, Luton, Nottingham Forest and West Ham but have been beaten at Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham. That win at West Ham last week was by a 6-0 scoreline and is the second biggest win in the league this season, home or away, beaten only by Newcastle’s 8-0 win at Sheffield United back in September.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more goals than them this season but defensively they have the best record in the league with just 22 goals conceded.

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For tomorrow’s game they could have a number of players available to them again with manager Mikel Arteta reporting that all of Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko (pictured above) could all be ready to return. He will still be without Thomas Partey,

Whoever does and doesn’t play for them, this is a really tough game for us, but it’s about time one of these games went our way. We played well down at the Emirates before conceding two set-piece goals. We need to repeat that, have things go our way and not concede those soft goals.

The Arsenal team that beat West Ham last week was: David Raya, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, Martin Ødegaard, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli. Subs: Aaron Ramsey, Cédric Soares, Jorginho, Reiss Nelson, Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Mauro Bandeira, Ethan Nwaneri, Reuell Walters.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

This game came early in the 2021/22 season. We were still looking for our first win of the season and the wait was to go on a while longer after this 1-0 defeat against what was probably the poorest Arsenal team to play a Premier League game at the Turf.

The only goal of the game came on the half hour and it was a goal that featured a number of poor mistakes by our players, starting with Nick Pope unnecessarily kicking the ball out of play. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed the attention of both our central defenders and that allowed Bukayo Saka space to run into. Even so, there was no need for Ashley Westwood to foul him. Martin Ødegaard took the free kick which too easily cleared the wall and into the net.

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Behind at half time, could we get back into it? We might have done when Aaron Ramsey brought down Matěj Vydra and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. It was so similar to the penalty given against Pope at Leeds in the previous season. This time, I think, the officials got it right after VAR man Lee Mason invited Taylor to take another look.

The game petered out and it was Arsenal who, as so often they do at Burnley, took the points.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson (Maxwel Cornet 57), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes (Matěj Vydra 57), Chris Wood (Jay Rodriguez 82). Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Erik Pieters, Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon.

Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney (Nuno Tavares 78), Thomas Partey (Ainsley Maitland-Niles 75), Nicolas Pépé, Emile Smith Rowe (Albert Sambi Lokonga 61), Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Subs not used: Bernd Leno, Rob Holding, Cédric Soares, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette.

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