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The famous Untold Arsenal prediction service: Burnley away.

by Phil Gregory

Three points at Anfield. Excellent. Exactly what we needed given the opportunity provided thanks to United and Chelsea’s poor results. The Gunners next trek up Turf Moor to face a Burnley side surpassing all expectations in the Premier League this season.

Recent form:

Arsenal secured their second win on the trot at Anfield, with Andrey Arshavin again proving pivotal on surely his favourite stomping ground. A lacklustre first half display was turned around in the last 45 minutes, and Arsenal’s confidence and belief will undoubtedly be restored.

The critics still point to three losses in the last five games, but two were Carling Cup sides so all is forgiven.

Burnley have been fairly average recently: home draws with Aston Villa and Fulham and ten goals conceded in three away games. That said, it is December and they are solidly midtable, a position they surely would’ve taken at the start of the season.

Injuries:

As ever, Arsenal’s injury list is seemingly ever growing, though Abou Diaby did make his return from injury at Anfield. Van Persie and Djourou are, as we all know, out for the season, while Niklas Bendtner’s injury was recently re-evaluated to a New Year return. Rosicky is expected back early January, so hopefully he’ll be back by the summer ready for preseason soon.

Clichy should be back soon (though Traore is performing above expectations – and appears now to be injured) and Gibbs is out until February. Denilson is unfortunately out until the weekend after picking up a back injury.  Eboue has recovered from injury.

Burnley are without academy product Jay Rodriguez, while Northern Ireland international Martin Paterson is a big loss for the Clarets, given he fired 19 goals in their promotion campaign. Long-term absentee Chris McCann is also expected to miss the game at Turf Moor.

Key men:

Arsenal will anticipate a hardworking, physical affair on Wednesday and as such will look to the likes of Diaby and Eboue to provide the strength and directness to deal with a Burnley team who can beat anybody in front of their own fans.

Burnley will look to ex-United winger Chris Eagles to take advantage of Traore’s defensive naivety after giving a solid player in Stephen Warnock a torrid time last time out in front of the home fans. Jensen, the Danish goalkeeper who proved the nemesis of Bendtner in the Carling Cup last season, has been impressive for much of the season and could frustrate Arsenal’s depleted frontline

Arsenal predicted line-up:

Almunia

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre

Song

Fabregas Diaby

Eboue, Arshavin, Nasri

Subs: Fabianski, Ramsey, Vela, Wilshere, Walcott, Merida, Eduardo

Despite a shaky performance at Anfield, I expect Almunia to continue between the sticks, but will have a changed back four in front of him. Quite a few knocks were picked up after the Anfield game, but thankfully we seem to have shaken the majority of the off.  Song, as ever takes the holding role, while Diaby replaces the injured Denilson.

This of course assumes he is believed to be fit enough, Nasri could slot into central midfield, and Arshavin wide right, with Eduardo returning to the centre. If, however Diaby is played central, I’m assuming Wenger will stick with a winning formula and keep Arshavin central, with Eduardo ready to come on if we need to change things around later on.

Eboue gets the nod instead of Walcott, but I am unsure about this one. I feel Eboue’s directness and ability to ride challenges will be vital on the right hand side. That said, Burnley aren’t going to sit back and play for a point, so Theo Walcott could find plenty of space down the flanks on the break. We will see!

Prediction:

Not easy to call this one. The team we have out is more than capable of getting us the three points, but Burnley too have match winners in amongst their side. It’ll be an open game, very unlike the usual “promotion side versus a top four side” clash, which is what gives me reason for optimism. Expect wingers, not a tight midfield from Burnley: they will be playing to win.

This though is probably to our benefit – as long as the defence keeps it together, and the midfield supports adequately we should be able to shut them out until we’ve scored. If we score one or two, they will press forward and the floodgates could well open. Let’s just hope we aren’t complacent: failure to win here and the result at Anfield means nothing.

Halftime musing:

A very good analysis of the likely impact of the African Cup of Nations can be found here. In short, by looking at the fixtures, it seems likely Cameroon will get to the quarters and then be knocked out by either Egypt or Nigeria. This would mean Song was back to us in time to face United at home.

Naturally, anything can happen and we have no idea what condition he will be in when he comes back, anyone unsure of the dangers of Angola should have a read here too. Admittedly, it is Daily Mail, but Samuel used to write for the Times and hasn’t completely lost the plot yet.

PS: From Tony. Ever wondered what others think of us?  Read a review of this site, and of the book MAKING THE ARSENAL.  There’s a review of Christmas football 100 years ago on the Woolwich Arsenal web site and now the prediction…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Burnley 1 Arsenal 3.

(c) Untold Arsenal 2009

30 comments to The famous Untold Arsenal prediction service: Burnley away.

  • walter

    That result would be fine for me…. unless if Burnley would play their reserves ? To save them selves for Sunday ?

    I think he will give Walcott a start and have Eboue on the bench. But who am I ….

  • LRV

    I am looking forward to a good win tonight.

  • Tommo

    Despite our injuries I am confident we will give Burnley a good old fashioned Arsenal kicking. With Wengers epic bollocking still ringing in thier ears I would expect us to give 100% for the whole 90 minutes and no mercy to be given.

    Whereas before I’d be concerned that our propensity for underestimating teams and a sense of complacency or entitlement would creep in to games like these, I’m hoping that being told whats what by the manager will having a lasting impact on the players – starting with the Burnley game.

    Good shout for the prediction, but I’m going for 3-0 a disciplined, powerful performance to show we’ve got what it takes to travel north of Watford. 😉

  • The only way for Arsenal to survive this nite against Burley is to have Eboue at Left back to tame the fluidity of Chris Eagles, cos with a Silvestre there ……then its 3 points lost.

  • One thing I must point out – when Phil wrote his piece the news that Traore was out had not come through. By the time I posted it on the site, that news was out, and I had to make a quick decision of how to adjust the team in the light of that news, and I went for Silvestre.

    I do take Kinsly tulio’s point – and maybe using Eduardo from the start and Eboue at full back would be a better solution.

    Tony

  • walter

    On arsenal.com it says that it will be Silvestre to start: “Traore is out,” said Wenger. “I am down to my fourth choice of left-back, it will be Silvestre [who plays at Burnley]. That’s not good news for Silvestre!”

    I hope he meant that he rather want Silvestre to play in the centre instead of left back ?

    Well anyway, just hope Clichy is fit real soon now.

  • tim

    wow, that silvestre comment can be read in so many ways…

    in any case, i’m sure the wily veteran will be fine. might be a little exposed on the left flank, but i’m sure we’ll find ways to compensate.

  • LRV

    Silvestre’s only problem is that he’s getting on a bit. Majority of criticisms leveled at him are really mostly because he has still not been forgiven for playing for ManU. He is not that bad really. Whatever we think, he wears the Arsenal shirt now. On the few occassions that he plays for us, he has put in his leveled best. Hell, he even showed that he has a grudge against ManU; not with words like that pratt who was pushed off, but on the field of play with his determination against them. As long as he puts in the effort, that’s okay by me.

    Trust me he will not disappoint, except if a bit of pace lets him down. But then, he will compensate with a bit of experienced positioning.

  • ignatz

    Well, we’ll have to see if the ear-bashing they received at half-time at Anfield really does have the deserved effect.

    Lately, Arsenal tend to swan around a little when they go to these smaller clubs in the North, feeling like a big team in a small town. I’d like to see some real humility, desire and ruthlessness in the performance.

    I have an inkling that I won’t see that and that they’ll score first, which is annoying. But I still think we’ll win it.

  • Phil Gregory

    Cheers for that adjustment Tony. Very strange the injury news didn’t come out in the prematch conference yesterday.

    I’m surprised it’s not Eboue at leftback, which suggests to me that Eboue will be playing elsewhere. Silvestre doesn’t have the pace to play as an Arsenal fullback, so he shouldn’t get forward at all – he won’t cover the space left behind him quickly enough. It limits our attacking outlets somewhat, but when three LBs are out, what can you do?

  • george rodger

    this is the best writen most fair minded and balanced site,, by a country mile,on the web.even the comentors are more sensible

  • Tommo

    @LRV

    Regarding Silvestre – I’d rather him at left back than in the centre. I find that he goes from the sublime to the ridiculous several times in the same match! He will be a solid powerhouse one moment – then the next panic like a chicken at a fox party.

    At left back there is slightly more room for error than in the centre, so I’d possibly expect attacks from Burnley down our left side. Hopefully our centre backs will stay strong for the inevitable barrage of crosses from wing play.

    As much as it is pretty cool seeing Gallas and Verminator power up the pitch, sometimes I’d just like to see them stay put and just concentrate on defending as opposed to getting forward.

    Unless we are 3-0 up, in which case chocks away chaps!

  • walter

    I must say that I think that when he played this season Silvestre always did a good job. Every player makes mistakes during 90 minutes but he was fine I think and I saw no need to write him off.
    I think he showed in those games he was fit enough to put on an Arsenal shirt. 😉
    But yes we will have to be more carefull going forward on the left hand side as he is not as quick as Clichy, Gibbs or Traore. I’m sure the players will take this in mind.

  • team spirit

    I somehow am anticipationg really high scores from us…. Not sure why? Guess someone is due that.

    12 – 0 will do nicely

  • Paul C.

    Let’s face it, as a No.4 left-back and No.4 Central Defender (if we assume Djourou is ahead when fit) then Silvestre is absolutely fine. Who would Chelsea have to play if they lost THREE left-backs to injury?

    Silvestre is exposed by extreme pace and power. Burnley have neither. I expect him to be fine tonight.

  • Tommo

    @Paul C.

    Good point well made. He is a backup defender, and for 4th choice it’s pretty much impossible to complain. Although that still doesn’t prevent me being at least a little concerned when he plays! He doesn’t get much game time and therein lies the risk. As experienced as he is, without regular games you run the risk of making more mistakes than those in the flow of playing as you get used to the pace of the game.

    When all is said and done he can do a job for us and his experience is vital in our dressing room.

  • Paul C.

    Tommo – dont get me wrong, I have heart palpatations when I see Silvestre’s name on the team sheet!!!!!!

    But if everyone was fit he would be nowhere near the team. And like you say, the manager seems to worship the guys influence off the field. All in all, not a bad buy for a “squad” player.

  • neutral fan

    who will score goals????

  • Phil Gregory

    Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, plus (of course) the centrebacks are due a goal. I wouldn’t worry about it, Neutral Fan.

  • LRV

    Please forgive me Tony but there is something hilarious that I think you guys should see. It is titled “Arshavin “Back to the Anfield” Vid and other tidbits” It even promotes Untold Arsenal. Please do check it out @ http://www.7amkickoff.com/2009/arshavin-back-to-the-anfield-vid-and-other-tidbits/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+7amkickoff+%287amkickoff%29

    Sorry Tony, I just couldn’t resist it.

  • diceman1984

    Paul c;

    Great point about the old lad being the 4th choice. I mean people do complain too much don’t they? And to me he’s not a bad left back at all, although I wouldn’t bet anything on him playing CB.

    Very excite to see this game….

  • diceman1984

    We didn’t do ourselves any favor but it’s a fair result, they played so hard and we just lacked the control we had before Cesc went off…

  • walter

    It is as if the devil is involved … now Cesc is also injured. 🙁
    Last year he fell out for a few months round this time of the year and now we have to wait with fear what the verdict will be.

    The first 15 minutes we should have been 3 – 0 up and this cost us in the end. A few players out of form for the moment and almost no back up any more with all the injured players.

    Well the only consolation we can have is that we done better then Utd did over there… but this doesn’t make me feel any better for the moment.

    that’s live….some good, some bad…

  • mark

    I’d give up the predictions Tony!

    I’ll make a prediction then, the next 6 PL games determine our PL fate this season. We need to be within 3 points of the top after the Bolton away game.
    Anything else and I think we’re clutching at straws, or we have to then beat Chelsea and Villa away to stay in it.

    I still think with a full compliment of players, we can beat anyone though.

  • tim

    ouch. recently, it’s as if anything bad that can happen will happen.

    burnley seems to be the real deal, though. better than those corrupt wolves raising the white flag in midweek!

  • Wonderinggoon

    I knew it, you jinxed it… 🙂

    Sad, I’m really saaaddd! ;(

    Until next game, better luck next time.

    *leaves football related internet*

  • Cape Gooner

    Well I’m not sad, I’m angry. In the first minute Cesc was lining up a shot when Mears put his elbow into Cesc’s back. Penalty and a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Soon thereafter, after the goal I think, Nasri was through on goal, one to one with the keeper when the defender grabbed his arm and pulled him. He didn’t even get a shot away. Penalty and a red card.

    Why did we get nothing? We even had the Sky commentator saying what a good game Dean was having! We should have been 3 – 0 up and playing against 9 men!

    Now that I have stopped crying, I would like to hear what you think about Theo. He had a poor game last night, but in the hour that he was on the pitch, we had plenty of possibilities. When he went off, it seemed as if we were playing against a bus – one that countered very well. I think that they always had a second player available for when Theo might get the ball, and that made more space for everyone else.

  • walter

    Cape Gooner, about the not given penalty decisions I wrote it like that in my life match report. On the moment Cesc was going to shoot he was clearly pushed in the back. There was also a pull on Nasri when he went trhough. I thought the foul was outside so no penalty bur definatly a foul and a red card. But when I saw the face of Mr. Dean on my TV as the ref I knew we would never have a penalty today what ever may happen and that we would get one against us.
    It came out like that but I’m nog going to argue the penalty awarded to Burnley as it was a clear penalty. But why is it always that mr. Dean always gives any penalty against us and never the one we should have got.

  • walter

    Cape gooner I never looked at it that way but you are right. He didn’t play good but because of the fear for his pace they let openings on the pitch for other players and when he went off they closed the whole thing down and got the bus on the field. One up front and the rest round their own penalty area but with always one or 2 people coming out to counter attack.

    I also thought we looked a bit tired when the game went on. The Liverpool game cost us a lot of energy and as we have almost no more backup with all the injured players you could see the fatigue kreeping in.

    But after all if one would have said 4 points out of 6 for those 2 games away from home I would have taken it. From the big 4 we had the games away and they had the (easier) home games and they also lost points.

    The one thing I really am sick of is the injury situation. Will this ever stop ?

  • t00farg0ne

    Not an awful result really, would have been nice to get a win and the injury to Cesc is not welcome but compare the result(s) to Man U and Chelsea.

    First off, Burnley at Turf Moor

    vs Man U – 0-1
    vs Chelsea – not played yet but burnley did give them a tough game in the Carling Cup last year. I can’t remember how the

    Second, this week

    Compare our standing this week and last

    We’ve stayed on track with Chelsea and gained a little on Man U in second.
    Chelsea got 4 points from two home games, Man U 3 points from two home games, Arsenal 4 points from two away games.

    Even if you ignore the home/away effect you could also have a good argument that Liverpool and Burnley are more difficult games than both Everton and Portsmouth and Villa and Wolves or at the very least on par. The additional effect of having two tough away fixtures in a row in December has also got to play a part here.

    The period between now and that difficult run of 4 games in January is very important but we’ve still got a lot to look forward to.