Burnley v Arsenal: could Burnley’s recent home scoring bonanza save them against Arsenal?



By Sir Hardly Anyone

I have sometimes felt that Burnley can be a little behind the times when it comes to, well, the times we live in, and that is confirmed by a headline in the Burnley Express (less a newspaper, more a picture comic), saying “Supercomputer predicts Burnley’s final league position ahead of Arsenal test…”    

As we have explored and explained a vast number of times, no supercomputer would ever have its time spent predicting football results.   As Network World reported, the UK is getting three new supercomputers in the next two years (average price $200m each) and I can assure everyone that not one of them is having a microsecond of its time spent on predicting football results.  

And doubly so when all you get is a final league table that looks much the same as the current league table.

The Guardian on the other hand tells us that 

“Mikel Arteta has no need to tweak the Arsenal lineup following their outstanding 6-0 rout of West Ham on Sunday, which should mean another deserved start for Leandro Trossard at Burnley…. On the evidence of Anfield last weekend, however, Burnley are liable to be a tougher proposition than Arsenal encountered at the Emirates.”

So the West Ham result is being put down as a one-off freaky fluke.   But what of Burnley?  First the gap between the two clubs is fairly large, although Burnley and football journalists will probably find solace in the fact that they have matched Arsenal for draws this season.   But the goal difference between them is 56 goals, or 2.33 per game which is quite a difference to turn around in one game.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal 24 16 4 4 53 22 31 52
19 Burnley 24 3 4 17 25 50 -25 13


Nevertheless we really do need to look at the regular matrices to see exactly what we might expect.

In terms of the last six games the table shows

Premier League Form (Last 6)
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal 6 4 0 2 17 6 +11 12
20 Burnley 6 0 2 4 7 14 -7 2


So it is not as if Arsenal are in a mini-slump and Burnley doing very, very well, because if we reduced this to the last four games we’d still have Burnley without a win, but Arsenal will four wins.   Indeed aside from actually winning the last four Arsenal have knocked in 16 goals and conceded two.

Burnley did beat Fulham on 23 December, but since then have played six league and FA Cup games, drawn against Luton and in a second game against Fulham, and lost the rest.  In their last three games, they have lost to Manchester City and Liverpool both by 3-1, as well as that draw with Fulham.

The last throw of the dice for Burnley’s battered ego could be to look at their home record and show that they are in fact not bottom of the league when it comes to home performance.  But in fact that only works, as in the table below if Everton retain their punishment for doing naughty things.  If Everton’s appeal worked they would have 12 home points from the actual matches, leaving Burnley with the worst home record if not in the universe, then at least in the north.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
19 Burnley home 12 1 2 9 13 27 -14 5
20 Everton home 12 3 3 6 13 14 -1 2
2 Arsenal away 12 7 2 3 23 11 12 23


Of course, the media would love to be reporting that Arsenal have had their points docked for some offence that hasn’t quite been invented yet, but in reality there isn’t anything even the national media can think up on that score.

So we can see, across the season Arsenal have been scoring two goals a game away, while conceding one.  Burnley have been scoring one and conceding two.    One could say that makes 1-2 to be the most likely score, but on the other hand one could argue that it could be 2-4.

One final throw of the dice to give Burnley a hope (not that we want to do that but we do try to cover every statistical approach), comes if we took the last six Burnley home games against the last six Arsenal away games we would have Burnley scoring nine and Arsenal scoring eight, so finally they might have a glimmer of hope.

Except on looking closely one would find that most of these Burnliean goals came in a single game on 2 December when Burnley beat Sheffield 5-0.

No, I think we will stay with an Arsenal win.

More anon…

3 Replies to “Burnley v Arsenal: could Burnley’s recent home scoring bonanza save them against Arsenal?”

  1. Just looking at the PGMO appointments for this weekend and note that they are talking about their latest addition to the fold of men in black, Lewis Smith. Where’s he from, I wondered? Well blow me down, he’s from the North West of England. Wigan to be precise.

    What an incredible coincidence that joining the majority of refs who come from the NW we now have yet another! So I decided to check the origins of other newish recruits.

    Sam Allison is from Wiltshire. So, still not from London or the South East….but South at least.

    Then we have Samuel Barrott – Yorkshire.

    Next Boddy Madley – Yorkshire again.

    Josh Smith is from Peterborough which, while many might say is not “the north”, it certainly isn’t London or the South East.

    Finally, we have our only woman referee, Rebecca Welch, who is from Tyne and Wear, which I think we can confidently say is “the north”.

    So six more new(ish) referees (according to the Premier League website) and yet again, not one from London or the South East. Yet again that looks like a massive statistical anomaly……or stitch up as I would prefer to call it!

  2. Mikey

    The only referee from the South East is Tim Robinson from West Sussex. He refereed Arsenal vs Brighton (formerly of East Sussex, coincidentally). I await a referee from the London Borough of Islington in the return fixture at the Amex (sic)…

    Liverpool supporter Jarred Gillett is in charge at Turf Moor tomorrow once Michael Oliver is done at the Gtech Community Stadium *removes tinfoil hat*

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