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Beaten at Brentford three weeks ago, we are back in London tomorrow for what is expected to be a difficult game for us against last season’s Premier League runners-up Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

With a break to come after this game for the internationals, it couldn’t be a much tougher assignment for us against a team we’ve beaten just once in eighteen attempts in the Premier League and a team who are currently fourth in the table, just three points behind leaders Manchester City.

That solitary Premier League win against them came three seasons ago and was a game we couldn’t attend although a limited number of Arsenal fans were allowed to watch. We won it with a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal on a day when they had Granit Xhaka sent off for a second time against us.

Other than that, it doesn’t make good reading against them with one draw and six defeats against them there while drawing three and losing five at home.

We make the journey having dropped into 19th place in the table last Saturday. We are ahead of Sheffield United only on goal difference, thanks to their hammerings against Newcastle and Arsenal, and we sit two points behind the next two, Luton and Bournemouth, although now seven points now behind Everton who sit sixteenth.

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Speaking ahead of the trip, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson said as we continue the search for the points to get us away from the bottom positions: “I think it’s just important to keep calm heads. It’s still really early, there’s loads of games to go.

“When the wins come, it’s important not to get too high and when the losses come to not get too down and low about it. I think if you can stay in the mindset and mentality across the whole season then it can help you massively.”

He said of last week: “Against Palace we started well, then, it’s a mistake that costs us and it’s mistakes we need to learn from. The performance overall was good but we need to start getting the points. The game is decided in both boxes, you need to be tight and compact at one end and then clinical and ruthless in the other end. That’s definitely something we can fix with the players and talent we have in this team.”

Guðmundsson has been back for the last two league games having been out for around a month with an injury, and his experience is going to be invaluable going forward. He’s likely to play tomorrow but we are still without a number of players. Hjalmar Ekdal, CJ Egan-Riley, Manuel Benson, Darko Churlinov and Michael Obafemi all played in the under-21s last week but the manager was hesitant to suggest that any of them might be ready for a first team call yet. None of them are involved with the under-21s at Fulham tonight.

We are also still without Aaron Ramsey; he’s been ruled out since with an unknown injury; he last played five weeks ago at Newcastle. Also out is Lyle Foster. He has missed the last two games. We all now know why and Up the Clarets wish him all the very best in his recovery.

Back in the reckoning for tomorrow is Josh Cullen who was ruled out last week with a suspension brought about having collected five yellow cards.

Our team against Crystal Palace last week was: James Trafford, Vitinho, Dara O’Shea, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Sander Berge, Luca Koleosho, Zeki Amdouni, Jay Rodriguez. Subs: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Hannes Delcroix, Han-Noah Massengo, Nathan Redmond, Mike Trésor, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Anass Zaroury.

It’s fast approaching three years since we last played Arsenal. We went into that game bottom of the Premier League while Arsenal were seventh although a long way behind the top three at the time who were Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

They ended that season in fifth place but 24 and 23 points behind City and Liverpool who were the top two, but I think it is fair to say there has been a remarkable improvement since. For some time last season it looked as if they might win the league for the first time since their third Premier League success in 2004.

Successive 4-1 wins against Crystal Palace and Leeds left them eight points clear at the beginning of April although Manchester City did have one game in hand. But Arsenal faltered with only three wins in their final nine games and left them as runners-up, five points behind.

This season, currently, they are up in fourth place, behind Liverpool on goals scored and just two points behind their north London rivals Spurs who are second. They were beaten last time out at Newcastle, a 1-0 defeat from which the goal has left both the club and manager Mikel Arteta ranting at the state of refereeing, believing Newcastle’s goal should have been ruled out because the ball went out of play, there was an offside and a foul.

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It was their first defeat of the season with points also dropped on the road in their previous away game at Chelsea where they drew 2-2, this having won at Crystal Palace, Everton and Bournemouth. At home they’ve won four and drawn two. The wins have come against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Manchester City and Sheffield United. The two teams to take draws from the Emirates are Fulham and Tottenham who both picked up a point in 2-2 draws.

In that top group of seven teams, they’ve scored the least number of goals with 23 but defensively only Manchester City have conceded less than the nine Arsenal have conceded. Eleven different players have scored for them too with Eddie Nketiah (pictured above) leading the way with five, three of those coming in the 5-0 win against Sheffield United.

They have been busy this week in the Champions League, beating Sevilla 2-0 at home in the Champions League, the win coming with goals scored by Landro Trossard and Bukayo Saka.

Saka is one of a number of players being monitored ahead of tomorrow’s game along with Eddie Nketiah, Martin Ødegaard and Gabriel Jesus. Emile Smith Rowe is a doubt while Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey are ruled out.

Last time out in the league at Newcastle, their team was: David Raya, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Kai Havertz, Jorginho, Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli. Subs: Aaron Ramsdale, Karl Hein, Jakub Kiwior, Cédric Soares, Leandro Trossard, Fábio Vieira, Reiss Nelson, Mohamed Elneny, Oleksandr Zinchenko.




We were hardly in the form of our life when we last visited the Emirates. We were bottom of the league and in our previous league game had turned in an abject performance at Leeds and followed that up with a quick exit from the FA Cup, beaten 2-1 at home by Huddersfield after leading 1-0.

But we turned in the sort of performance we’d so many times during our successful seasons in the Premier League. It was a battle at times, but battle we did and we defended superbly with the team back to what they did best, putting their bodies on the line and fighting for every single ball.

The line up showed no fewer than six changes from the team beaten at Leeds with all of Nick Pope, returning from injury, Connor Roberts, Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill, Jay Rodriguez and Matěj Vydra in the starting eleven. For Roberts it was a first ever start in the Premier League.

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Arsenal had more of the ball in the first half but we were never second best to them and throughout the half Pope was only really called into action once. At the other end, Dwight McNeil forced Aaron Ramsdale into a good save and by half time we were fully deserving to still be level.

The second half started in similar fashion before they stepped things up for a short period midway through the half. We had to withstand around six or seven minutes of pressure but we got through it unscathed with James Tarkowski and Ben Mee standing out like beacons.

It was Burnley, close to the end, who threatened and I can still see McNeil making those three superb runs down the left with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, for whatever reason, chasing him down the touchline.

This was what I called proper Burnley at the time, a Burnley who dug in and made it so difficult for Arsenal. And I felt we were back on track.

The teams were;

Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Albert Lokonga, Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Emile Smith Rowe (Eddie Nketiah 77), Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette. Subs not used: Bernd Leno, Nuno Tavares, Calum Chambers, Ryan Alebiousu, Mika Biereth, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, Omari Hutchinson, Charlie Patino.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Connor Roberts, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Matěj Vydra, Jay Rodriguez (Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson 83). Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Matt Lowton, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Bobby Thomas, Jack Cork, Dale Stephens.

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