By Bulldog Drummond
Burnley were relegated from the Premier League and are now looking to come back up, so an FA Cup run is not the primary thing on their mind – promotion is much more important, as is not getting anyone injured at this stage of the season. The income from today’s game will be most welcome but that’s about it.
The top two go up and the next four enter the play offs, so Burnley’s priority will be to catch Middlesbrough – a fairly tough call, but teams can and do collapse as the season goes on, so they keep hoping.
The former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson is said to be in the Burnley squad after joining on a short-term deal and their midfielder Dean Marney is doubtful. But there is every chance they will rotate the team a little not least because of their schedule.
- 30 Jan: Arsenal v Burnley
- 02 Feb: Sheff W v Burnley
- 06 Feb: Burnley v Hull
- 13 Feb: Reading v Burnley
- 20 Feb: Burnley v Rotherham
- 23 Feb: Burnley v Nottm F
- 27 Feb: Bolton v Burnley
That’s an average of around one game in every four days, including a prime match against the league leaders in one week’s time. What they don’t really want is another match in terms of a replay, and moving a game to fit in a 5th round tie. Of course they would take both for the money and the prestige, but in terms of throwing everything into this match, I suspect not. A tight defence, stop Arsenal from scoring…
Tomas Rosicky could play at the age of 35 for Arsenal for the first time this season and Francis Coquelin, out since November will probably be on the beach covering for his replacement. That suggests Flamini drops back down along with Arteta.
Mohamed Elneny surely must play especially after Olivier Giroud called him as “a complete player” which means showing Joey Barton who is the boss. Meanwhile Arsène Wenger said Elneny has the same “competitive instincts” as Jean Tigana. Wow and again wow.
“Winning the ball is not only down to power, it is to switch on at the right moment – it’s a technique,” Mr Wenger said. “You have players who are muscular who lose fights against small players who are very slim because small players switch it on at the right moment. When do you switch your muscle on, when the guy is in a weak position, it is a real technique.
“I remember Tigana was 63kg, a defensive midfielder and he was unbelievable defensively. He had that technique. I played against him at the European Championship in Sweden in 1992 and he was still the same – he won every challenge.”
So we have now our long run without defeat in the cup stretching beyond two years, and on the Burnley front we have won the last five FA Cup ties against Burnley, scoring 16 and conceding… one and that was when the score was Burnley 1-7 Arsenal, in 1937. Ted Drake got four, Bastin, Kirchen, and Crayston the rest.
We have lost one our of 40 FA Cup games against lower league clubs during the reign Arsene Wenger. But on the other hand Burnley have gone beyond the the fourth round in five of the last six years.
Looked at another way, Arsenal have won 32 of the last 39 home FA Cup ties at home and that old fella who ain’t no good at scoring goals Olivier Giroud has scored nine goals in his last 13 FA Cup games.
But Burnley have won their last three away games scoring 10 goals and conceding just two. They have won 5, drawn six, lost 3 away from home this sesaon, scoring 17 letting in 13.
Anyway, here’s the line up…
Chambers Gabriel Koscielny Gibbs
Oxlade-Chamberlain Ramsey Campbell
On the beach… Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Walcott, Coquelin, Cech, Sánchez, Bellerin,
In 2013/14 Arsenal scored 16 goals en route to winning the FA Cup. In 2014/15 it was 15. This season after one game we have scored three. 12 or 13 to go.
And just one last thing. Although we won’t see that many of them today, in the Telegraph’s report on the top players in the Premier League Arsenal have four in the top 12, way ahead of any other team.
They are (as if you didn’t know)
No other club has four even the top 20. Mind you that Ozil is nicking a living, Giroud is hopeless and shouldn’t be in the team, and as for Kos, obviously not premier league material.
Makes you think.
The Untold Books
Our latest is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with an introduction by Bob Wilson. Details of this and our other titles can be found Arsenal Books on this site.
- Bob Wilson writes for Untold Arsenal: that most unforgettable of days
From the anniversary files
- 30 January 1954: Following a 1-4 home defeat to Sunderland in the league Arsenal lost 1-2 at home to Norwich City of the Third Division South in front of 55767. Logie got Arsenal’s goal. It was the first and last time Arsenal lost an FA Cup tie at Highbury to a team outside the top 2 divisions. Alex Forbes of Arsenal and Bobby Brennan of Norwich City were both sent off early in the match – the first double sending off involving Arsenal since September 1922 (against Tottenham Hotspur).
- 30 January 1965. Arsenal lost away to Peterborough 1-2 in cup and started a downward spiral which 18 months later led to the dismissal of Billy Wright as manager. Radford scored the goal.
Insult of the Day: You do advance your cunning more and more (Midsummer Night’s Dream)