Back on the road after a couple of lovely games at The Emirates and where do we go? You guessed it, Up North.
I have never been to Burnley, perhaps in the future I will be fortunate enough to visit the historic town but given my aversion to any UK trip North of Barnet, it seems unlikely.
In my youth Burnley were a massive club; unlike our opponents last weekend, they have history. 150 years ago Burnley was the largest cotton cloth producer in the world! Can you imagine? And in the 50’s/60’s their football club was their pride – a town of under 60k inhabitants had a team which won the League, the FA Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup.
Things have changed as the clubs from the large metropoles control the top of the leagues – Manchester, London, Barcelona, Munich, Paris, Madrid. Only Leicester have been able to break the monopoly.
Burnley’s ambitions this season will be survival in the Prem and to take a couple of big scalps. Beating us would be huge so, as always, our chaps should expect a battle.
My main concern is the pitch. Arsenal play fast-flowing, passing football which depends upon a decent playing surface – if I were the opposition manager the first thing I would tell the groundsman to do is make the pitch as bumpy as possible, especially if you play hoof-ball like Burnley or Chelsea. Big chaps like Grey and Vokes are more used to a Hackney Marshes than the Emirates.
For that reason, if fit, I would start Giroud, if not then Perez. I would also look to the Elneny/Xhaka axis and give Santi a rest.
Bellerin Mustafi Kos Gibbs
Xhaka Elneny Iwobi
Walcott Perez Ozil
I would prefer AW to continue with the starting 11 which marmelised the Chavs and Basel but what is the point of a large squad if we do not rest some players?
I would even be tempted to drop Ozil for Santi or Theo for Ox. This is not under-estimating Burnley but we have important games ahead and over-playing chaps who have not had full summer breaks results in a Ramsey situation.
Given the unpleasant manner in which the title contenders have started their seasons a win is important today and, of course, this is an anniversary weekend. Chapeau Arsene.
Let it be so