Burnley vs Arsenal
Who would have thought at the start of this season that this Premier League match on February 2 would see the two clubs level on points?
Admit it, none of you would since the SBOTOP Premier League on Burnley and Arsenal are simply poles apart.
Even now, the chances of Burnley, who are in 13th place, being relegated stand @ 12.00, with the Gunners priced @ 151.00.
Yet here we are, nearly two-thirds of the way through the 2019/2020 campaign and only goal difference separates the sides in the standings.
Despite Arsenal’s fall from grace in recent times, what Burnley boss Sean Dyche has achieved with a small budget and a small squad in the foothills of Lancashire is one of the Premier League news stories to savour.
But can they really overtake them in the league?
Burnley looking to end futility against Arsenal
Last time out they showed their mettle, albeit against a Manchester United side which could be described as ‘mediocre’ at best.
They also have a double incentive. Burnley are now looking to record three successive league wins for the first time since April.
And back-to-back league wins have dramatically improved the Clarets’ chances of ending a personal hoodoo against Arsenal as Dyche has lost all nine Premier League matches against them – a joint competition high for a manager against a particular opponent.
In fact, the Clarets are winless in 14 top-flight fixtures against Arsenal since a 1-0 victory at Highbury in September 1974 (D3, L11).
Team news wise, they are unlikely to start new midfield signing Josh Brownhill but he is included in their squad.
Ashley Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson remain injured but the experienced Phil Bardsley returns after a back problem.
Arsenal building some confidence
It would be understandable to think Arsenal are confident.
They have won their last 10 league games against the Clarets with a number of them controversial, and 11 in all competitions – a run stretching back to March 2010.
Arsenal are also unbeaten in their last six away league games, drawing each of the last four, and they have captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz available again following suspensions.
Aubameyang has scored seven goals in four league appearances against Burnley by averaging a goal every 51 minutes, including nine of Arsenal’s 14 away league goals this season so it’s quite clear who their main dangerman is.
The Gunners are assessing the fitness of Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Reiss Nelson ahead of this one, and we may get a glimpse of new defensive signings Pablo Mari and Cedric – although more likely from the bench.
After what you have just read, you won’t be surprised to hear that Arsenal have the edge historically.
In total they have defeated the Clarets on 54 occasions – including earlier this season – with Burnley triumphing 33 times and a further 21 matches ending level.
You have to go back to December 2008 to the last time Burnley beat the Gunners and that was in the League Cup when a double from Kevin McDonald secured a 2-0 success against a side comprising a handful of senior pros and mainly youngsters – Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere among them.
The only time they have taken points off them in the Premier League was in December 2009 when Cesc Fabregas put Arsenal ahead before club favourite Graham Alexander netted the equaliser from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw.
Their last league victory over Arsenal was 46 years ago in a 1-0 win at Highbury.
Their last success against them at Turf Moor in the top flight was a year earlier when Burnley sealed a 2-1 win when two goals in stoppage time from Colin Waldron and Ray Hankin sealed a famous success.
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