Artillery vs Cavalry: Burnley Prematch & Predicted Line-Up

Incoming! The Burnley squad limber up for today’s visit of The Arsenal

We have five full days before a Europa League away trip to Athens so, even though it is generally agreed around these parts that the EL is our top priority for the rest of the season, we may well see something close a full strength side from Mikel Arteta today.

Our visit to Turf Moor won’t be easy. Despite a recent thrashing at the hands of the Spuds, Burnley have been hard to beat lately (that defeat was the only one in their last six games). On the other hand they’ve been clocking up a lot of draws and struggling to score goals (a 3-0 win over Palace being the exception).

The Clarets’ main threat is in the air. They’re a big team with the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes dangerous from set pieces. For once, despite our nickname, it’s the opposition who will be providing the artillery (a barrage of long balls into our box) so we’ll need to keep our tin hats on, be brave and hit them with speed and movement when we attack (the cavalry).

This could easily be a draw but, if our recent form continues, I fancy us to take the points provided we avoid any of those self-inflicted wounds which we’ve seen rather too often this season. Let’s not trip over and fall on our sabre today.

The only injury doubt we have is Emile Smith Rowe (hip strain), so my predicted starting eleven is:


Bellerin – Holding – Luiz – Tierney

Xhaka – Partey

Saka – Odegaard – Aubameyang


If El Patron decides to start with Auba down the middle, then I would expect to see either Pepe or Willian as the wide left attacker with Laca on the bench. There’s a case for Ceballos to play in the spot I’ve allocated to Odegaard, but Arteta seems to really like the young Norwegian.

I’ve gone for Holding and Luiz at the back but, in truth, any combo out of Holding, Luiz, Mari and Gabriel would not surprise me.

The EL may be our priority, but maintaining momentum in the Premier League is also important, if only for the psychological boost it will give us in the European competition.

Come On You Gunners!



39 Responses to Artillery vs Cavalry: Burnley Prematch & Predicted Line-Up

  1. LB says:

    Thanks for the read Rocky, I am not so sure that he will field quite such a strong team; he may continue to rest Saka in order to release him on Thursday, Pepe should be strong enough today, same goes for Willian on the other side, although, I would still like to see Martinelli there. Xhaka needs a breather, if we expect him to be able to give his all in the next 3 games.


    Soares, Holding, Mari, Tierney

    ——Ceballos, Partey


    Pepe, Lacazette, Willian

    This is my punt at Arteta’s team, not my first choice.

  2. RockyLives says:

    Chambers – Luiz – Mari – Tierney
    Xhaka – Partey
    Saka – Odegaard – Willian

  3. RockyLives says:

    Chambers at RB !

  4. LB says:

    Arteta will do anything to make Willian work, too personal, his own signing and all.

    Should be interesting to see Chambers again, been a long time.

  5. LB says:


  6. LB says:

    Cedric must have an injury.

  7. RockyLives says:

    I wonder if Chambo ahead of Belli is partly because of Burnley’s aerial threat.

  8. LB says:

    Possibly, but if Cedric is injured and Bellerin play on Thursday and get an injury mid game then I think we will need a more up to speed replacement in Chambers than we will have had if he were on the bench today.

  9. RockyLives says:

    Yep – makes sense LB

    I feel a bit sorry for Chambo – he generally does OK as CB but can be caught out at RB.

  10. LBG says:

    Why would you play Chambers at RB? Despite his heart, he has proven he is NOT a full back.
    If, as we know, he needs playing time if he is to play an active part in the rest of the season, play him in front of the back four with Partey and “rest” ( drop) Xhaka.
    So based on my criticism last week, Chambers to play a blinder, including a last minute goal. Get on it!

  11. LB says:

    If Cedric is injured is there anyone else who can be back up for Bellerin?

  12. Las says:

    Thanks Rocky! Good read as ever.
    Strange back four, especially choosing Chambers as RB when Bellerin is the bench, he might be slightly injured.
    In attack I would rather went for Laca in the middle and Auba i the left attacking positioni stead of Willian but who knows. El Patron is getting right recently so let’s hope Willian could continou his run of assists.

  13. LBG says:

    If Chambers has a mare, it will be the end of him at the Club he has always loved. Good luck Callum.

  14. RockyLives says:

    Another assist for William 😀

  15. Las says:

    Unusually good start from us. Long may continue. 🙂
    Looks Willian picked himself together. Makes good runs, pressing and gives assists.

  16. RockyLives says:

    Come on lads, let’s get a second and give ourselves a buffer.

  17. LB says:

    Can’t see support for Xhaka increasing.

  18. Las says:

    I don’t get it…. what the hack… why Leno passed to Xhaka? Why not hacking the bloody ball away?
    And Xhaka? What he thought? Is he playing with closed eyes????

  19. RockyLives says:

    Bit early. We normally wait until just before half time to shout ourselves in the foot.

  20. Las says:

    Just get our shit together and play.

  21. RockyLives says:

    We’re missing ESR. Odegaard dwells on the ball too much

  22. RockyLives says:

    We should bring Ceballos on.

  23. fred1266 says:

    Willian also dwells on the bAll

  24. Las says:

    Willian going into middle Auba left and Laca up front. I would also go for Saka/Pepe change

  25. LB says:

    Nailed on pen

  26. RockyLives says:

    Yep. That’s a pen in any other game this season.

  27. fred1266 says:

    This is getting ridiculous Fulham vs spurs, goal ruled of cause of hand ball, player hand at his side

    So how a player hand in the air is not hand ball

  28. RockyLives says:

    About time we got Ceballos on – we just haven’t been able to control the ball in the middle of the park.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Dear God!
    Now Pepe has a ‘Gervinho at Bradford’ moment

  30. fred1266 says:

    Happened in Chelsea vs Liverpool and wasn’t given

  31. RockyLives says:

    Too many players having average games today, including some of our more reliable players like KT and Saka

  32. RockyLives says:

    How are there only 4 minutes of added time when we’ve had two long VAR checks?

  33. RC78 says:

    2 points dropped…Weird VAR decisions. Overall a frustrating game.

  34. RC78 says:

    Rocky – shall I do a post-match report?

  35. Sue says:

    Burnley unbeaten against us – you couldn’t make it up!!

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    Let’s get excuses out of the way:

    Dreadful surface, BT commentary made a point of saying no sprinklers were on before game or at half time. It’s a home match so it’s Burnley’s perogative I guess, but with modern drainage systems on PL pitches it looked like it played very badly, ball was slowed when trying to play the ball on the ground.

    Thought Pieters should have been a penalty, the question used to be did the player gain an advantage from using the hand regardless of accidental, and also ball to hand or hand to ball should be considered. His arm wasn’t there for balance and to me made a definite movement towards ball and being more out stretched. I would have been screaming blue murder at red and VAR.

    Now let’s tear into the performance:

    Well actually first half wasn’t so bad, got the early goal and attempted to sit on the ball and control the game.

    And then the question of the day at what point between Leno passing to Xhaka and the ball going in did you shout “what the f*** are you doing?”…..for me it was the moment he looked up and then took the touch. Why Granit why? The pass you attempted was far easier first time, you saw Woods moving out and you tried to be clever and bend it round where he was running from, but he stopped and you looked very very silly.

    Second half was atrocious from back to front, I can’t lay too much blame at the door of the most advanced three the link up offered by the midfield just wasn’t there Partey, Xhaka or Odegaard. The latter could easily be accused of hiding at times wandering into spaces where he couldn’t be passed to between Burnley defenders/midfield.

    We left it far too late to start moving the ball quicker, if we’d played the second half like we ended it we may have got a winner.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Thanks RC

  38. RC78 says:

    New post

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