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March 2021

Arsenal v Burnley: Cheating Ladbrokes, injury news, tactical preview and Arsenal in crisis.

By Bulldog Drummond

For days on Facebook I have been seeing adverts showing pictures of somewhat eccentric Arsenal supporters (one large guy holding an Arsenal scarf above his head with the words upside down, another large gent with a bald head tattooed throughout with Arsenal motifs, that sort of thing) followed by the slogan “91% of Arsenal fans can’t answer these 4 questions!” or words to that effect.

The questions are a bit silly – the questions are things like who scored in the Champs League cup final for us (Sol), who the second highest scorer in the Champs League was for us (Dennis), who we played in the last match at Highbury (Wigan) and who we beat by the highest score in the Champs League (Slavia Praha).

Answer them correctly and you get a prize – but ooooooh look Arsenal fans are so thick that only 9% of them can answer.   Ha ha snigger snigger.   I suspect the figure would be the same for most clubs, unless you ask the people involved in their club’s history society in which case they really ought to be able to get most of it right (although knowing the second highest scorer in a competition is a bit remote really – I guessed it was Dennis, even though he didn’t play too many of the overseas games because of his fear of flying).

So with the eccentric picture and the headline it is all a bit insulting.

But even more insulting is the fact that having answered them correctly and won the prize (which turns out to be a £50 free bet) I was then told in little print that to get my free bet I have to give them some money (or what they call “a deposit”.)   One of the guys in the Untold office tells me that this is the law, but that does not excuse the offensive and misleading headline.   My response is simple: this is utterly misleading. Screw Ladbrokes and tell the Advertising Standards Authority, I say.

Anyway, moving on apace, here is the injury listing as shown before Saturday’s games…

Now we all know (because TalkSprout, Sky, BT and other outlets tell us all day long) that Arsenal have the most injuries – and it is because of Mr Wenger.  So I am sorry to say the Physioroom injury chart is clearly faulty as it is not showing us at the top, but half way down  the league…

# Club Total injuries League position
1 Sunderland 10 19
2 Hull City 9 18
2 Southampton 9 13
4 Crystal Palace 8 17
4 State Aid United 8 12
6 Watford 6 14
7 Stoke City 5 9
7 Everton 5 7
7 Liverpool 5 3
10 Arsenal 4 4
10 Swansea City 4 20
10 Burnley 4 10

 Those four players who are injured turn out to be…

Player Injury Return date
T Walcott Calf Strain January 31, 2017
M Debuchy Hamstring Injury January 31, 2017
P Mertesacker Knee Injury January 31, 2017
S Cazorla Plantaris Injury No Return Date
Also missing is Elneny on international hard labour (it seems unreasonable to call it “duty”) with Egypt in the Africa Cup.  He played his first match against Mali – it was a goalless draw.   Today (Saturday) Egypt play Uganda.   Let’s hope for another uneventful game.

But with only four injured and one absent, this now leaves us with a huge problem: we have far too many players to choose from.   Ozil is back, Coquelin is back, Giroud seems to have recovered from his desire to go off once he has scored his statutory goal, Gibbs has recovered, Bellerin too… in short Arsenal are in crisis and we are going to need a larger beach.   But fortunately I can leave the team selection until tomorrow morning before setting off for the game.

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Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the weaknesses in the Burnley side. finds four areas in which Burnley are considered “very weak”.   Avoiding offside, keeping possession of the ball, defending against attacks down the wings, defending set pieces.

I would add to that list “playing away from home” where so far they have just achieved a goalless draw against Man U, although as shown in the earlier previews they are getting better in the sense of reducing the number of goals against them.

We also have from the same site a style analysis which tells us that their preferred mode of playing (which has, let us not forget, got them to the mid-way point in the league with an average attendance of 20,319) involves the following

  • Long balls
  • Attempting crosses as often as possible
  • Taking shots from a long way out
  • Attacking through the middle rather than down the wings
  • Playing a consistent first eleven
  • Being non-aggressive
  • Playing in their own half and waiting for a chance

Playing the same players all the time is interesting, and of course is more likely for a team that has no European games to play.   Here’s Arsenal’s list in the order of minutes on the pitch.   (Interestingly you may note that despite all his playing to the cameras each time he is substituted, Alexis is our second most used player this season).

R Player Apps Mins Goals Assists Yel Red
1 Petr Cech 21 1890 2
2 Alexis Sánchez 20(1) 1786 14 7 3
3 Laurent Koscielny 20 1774 2 3
4 Nacho Monreal 19(1) 1713 1 2
5 Mesut Özil 17(1) 1507 5 3
6 Héctor Bellerín 16(1) 1505 2 1
7 Theo Walcott 16 1347 8 2
8 Granit Xhaka 14(4) 1318 1 1 2 1
9 Francis Coquelin 15(2) 1198 3
10 Shkodran Mustafi 14 1195 1 4

And Burnley’s equivalent list

R Player Apps Mins Goals Assists Yel Red
1 Ben Mee 21 1890 1 3
2 Michael Keane 21 1890 1 2
3 Stephen Ward 20 1747 1 2
4 Matthew Lowton 19 1710 1 5
5 Tom Heaton 19 1710 1
6 Dean Marney 20 1694 1 2 6
7 George Boyd 17(3) 1528 1 2
8 Jeff Hendrick 16(1) 1452 2 5
9 Scott Arfield 15(4) 1328 1 3
10 Sam Vokes 14(7) 1318 4 2

There is not too much difference in terms of player usage between the two sides over the first four most played players, but thereafter Burnley are generally relying on a regular squad playing almost every league game whereas Arsenal use their larger squad more.

As for the style of play

Arsenal stats attacking at home show an average of 17 shots a game, this including of course shots that are blocked, are off target etc, as well as those on target.  Burnley’s tactics against this centre around clearances – by far their most popular way of getting rid of the ball, followed by interceptions.

But what is interesting is that although Burnley conceded possession away from home, the number of tackles and interceptions they make away is smaller than the number that Arsenal make at home.

Here’s the chart

Defensive Action Burnley away avg / game Arsenal at home avg / game
Tackles 15 18
Fouls 11 10
Interceptions 15.9 19.4
Clearance 31.7 18.9
Shots blocked 6 2.1
Shots conceded 18.9 10.1
 So we see the clear away tactic from Burnley – the clearance; the hoof upfield.

39 comments to Arsenal v Burnley: Cheating Ladbrokes, injury news, tactical preview and Arsenal in crisis.

  • Josif

    Walter comes to the match?

    Now I’m calm. 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    As Tony said we are coming over for the match so there will be no live match report from me this time

  • omgarsenal

    Are you bringing the misses Walter?

  • Josif

    Hohoho, maybe I should replace Paul Merson as a pundit? I have never scored a goal for Arsenal, I admit, and unless THE injury crisis hit Arsenal, I probably won’t but I guess my prediction about Liverpool was OK. Last week, I replied at Tony’s desire for Liverpool’s defeat at the Old Trafford and concluded it with this one:

    “Liverpool have been rather slow lately and the absence of Mane will probably hit them hard this month. I expect them to drop more points than United in the forthcoming weeks so we should leapfrog them eventually even if they stay undefeated tomorrow.”

    BTW, they have lost three games in the league – each one took place when Mane was off the pitch.

  • Josif

    Oh, yes:

    Spuds already have two booked players at the Etihad. They haven’t had a red card for – wait for it – 61 games. This would be 62nd. City have Agüero and De Bruyne while Spuds have two central defenders on a yellow card already. What are the odds that Dier and Wimmer can do whatever they want until the end of the match?

    Also worth noting: goalkeeper with the most American-Civil-War-name ever Lee Grant from Stoke was booked today for time-wasting just before the hour mark for time-wasting by Mark Clattenburg. Mr Clattenburg didn’t wait for 82nd minute like his work-mate Neil Swarbrick had waited in our game against WBA. I don’t know if it had anything with the fact Manchester United had been trailing at the moment.

  • Peter Kemp

    A large bench …. not beach 🙂

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Sterling was absolutely mugged in the box. No call against the dears from up the road.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Man City +Lloris 2 spuds 0

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think Liverpool lost to Swansea today not just for the absence of Mane but for the fatigue they’ve suffered after playing a high pressing game against Man Utd at Old Trafford and an FA Cup replay match away to Plymouth before which they also played and lost away to Southampton in the 1st leg of the 2 legged semifinals of the ELC match all within some days not weeks. Although, if Mane had been around for them, their results may have been better that the ones they’ve had.

  • Leon

    Loris! What a tosser!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Ah!!! Look like katakata don bust(broken English) for Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad as are 2-0 down in the game to Man City.if this scoreline remained to the end or got improved for Man City, then, It’s Arsenal cup of tea to take and drink it to go 2nd in the table tomorrow. I believe the Gunners will not miss to seize this golden opportunity to go 2nd in the table tomorrow by taking that cup of tea and drink it(beat Burnley) despite 2nd is not our ultimate aim this season but 1st. But still It will cool our hearts in the interim to see Arsenal go 2nd tomorrow.

  • finsbury

    Loris is a hero

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Thugs from the east side of seven sisters after a penalty isn’t given in their box…figures.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have just seen a push in the back go unpunished from a tottenham player. Should have been a penalty and a red card. At the other end the spuds equalise…. No the PGMO is really excellent in their job…

  • finsbury

    Unreal levels of tilting in this match by the pgMOB Tottenham should be down to ten and a pen to city not called clear as daylight.


  • GoingGoingGooner


  • finsbury

    Yet predictable!

  • finsbury

    Diving clogging cheating dross we all saw the quality of some of these players against Iceland Lol!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    The spuds back four must be covered in teflon because no fouls ever stick to them.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Does anyone have any theories on why the PGMOB love the Spuds so much?
    Bizarre…..walker should have conceded a pen and been sent off.
    Stand to be corrected, but I don’t think they have been given a red card in play in the league this season or last

  • Josif


    I have already written it. 62 games without a red card. Having an English-packed team gets you quite a few calls these days.

  • para

    I was watching those games and excitement built until the last whistle and “it was one of those Saturdays”.

    Things are going our way, i would hope our lads are primed and ready after seeing these results today, to take a step up to 2nd place. Come on Arsenal. Be strong now and be victorious.

    Its up to us to win tomorrow and leave Chel$ with all the pressure.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Man City have blown the 2-0 cushion they had in the game by allowing Tottenham Hotspur back into the game to equalize with the only two shots they had on target in the game as against Man City’s seven on target. Despite this game ending in a draw, the good news for us we the Gooners is, Arsenal have a good chance to go 2nd in the table tomorrow by beating Burnley at the Ems. And this beating of Burnley MUST Arsenal unfailingly carryout.

  • Mandy Dodd

    62……incredible Josif……they are the Red Card invincibles……and a pretty dirty side with it.
    How did walker get away with that?
    Also know that Fergie takes a pretty keen interest in Poch, I am sure he has taught him a trick or two

  • Leon

    Tough on City, but arguably the best result for us points-wise.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @Mandy Dodd

    I tend to think this is part of the soup that is: Northern control of PGMOB, PGMOB refereeing standards that are at odds with UEFA, and FIFA, FA ineptitude and PGMOB secrecy.

    It is also hard to think that the Premier League and the amorphous body known as the media are not also in the mix somehow. With no clear delineation of authority and no openness, you end up with internal consensus making that may or may not be healthy or effective a la various Junta’s or authoritarian regimes.

    I know that comparing anyone to Hitler tends to end any useful discussion but in this case I think it is instructive. The NAZI regime actually only went to full war production in 1944 and they were aware of that earlier on but didn’t push because they were afraid of a public reaction/backlash. Precisely because they knew they were essentially unelected (by the time of the war) meant they not only didn’t have a mandate nor did they have a clear idea of what the public really wanted.

    IMO, the various governance bodies of football in England are essentially unelected and there are no clear lines of authority nor has there been an attempt to understand what the people want nor what is really effective. They have not attempted reform because they fear the unknown might result in their removal from positions of influence.

  • Usama Zaka

    I was busy for today away from all internet, twitter, live scores..etc. just got back home… looked at what happening in around football, and….

    …Surprise, surprise PGMO influencing games like someone controlling a K9 unit at the sound of the whistle (OH Wait a minute !!! PGMO have a unit and they also have a whistle. no surprises there then 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting GGG, and hard to argue with that.
    As for Tottenham, think the refs are aware there is more of a media backlash should they do wrong by this team, than there would be if they got it wrong,for say…Arsenal , or Hull.
    I am,sure the English player thing helps as well
    But 62 games without red…..bizarre, and suspicious

  • Mandy Dodd

    Welcome to the PGMOL league Pep ….still as Leon says, decent enough result for us

  • goonersince72

    They’ll be no comment from Riley and Marriner won’t have to speak. Done and done. Last season Leicester this season Spurs. I’m not holding my breath for Arsenal’s turn.

  • Andy Mack

    Although I’m OK with $iteh and spuddies drawing, I’d have preferred 0-0 (lots of work but no positive result) or a score draw where $iteh get the late equaliser. When I played (a long time ago), I’d never get much confidence from a game that finished as a score draw if the opposition got the late equaliser. Whereas if we’d got the late equaliser then we’d finished the game ‘on the up’ and it felt easier to carry in into the next game.
    I know spuddies style of play (like $iteh and Liverpoo!) will take it’s toll on their energy levels late in the season but a drop in confidence would bring it on quicker…

  • Florian

    OT, but you will surely find this article interesting. From maybe a pundit that’s far from being an idiot.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very naive Mr G, not going to get much off Riley, especially when today’s decision concerned this years protected species


  • OlegYch

    not only spuds were spared penalty and red card, they also scored from offside
    that makes four (or five?) goals “scored” against the rules in their last four games against citeh

  • para

    All that aside now, Arsene Wenger reminds our team that the “moment of truth” has come.

    Time to fire or as Rob Kelly says, turn on the after burners.

    Rise you Gunners rise.

  • Polo

    Let’s hope Arsenal find a way to demolish the Burnley Bus Co. and win this match convincingly and it’s not one of those last minute smash and grab victory. COYG

  • Menace

    Ladbrokes stop taking bets if you win consistently. They are yellow bellied chickens with no guts to payout good luck.

  • Menace

    I don’t care how we get the 3 points as long as we get them. Brass knobs & glitter would make it sweeter but sugar free victory is OK.

  • Here again is where I worry about dear Gunners. Once the stage is set for them to take advantage, especially against a supposed-weaker opposition, they have always disappointed big time.

    It just happened against Bournemouth.

    Hope they don’t stick to that nasty habit today.

    And one player worries me – Bellerin. The Spaniard had been a shadow of himself since he returned from his first injury of the season. He was glaringly culpable for the two of the three goals we conceded against Bournemouth. I hope the Bellerin that comes back today will be the one that started the season.