By Nick Teale
It's fair to say that 2009 has been one of the best years in the history of Burnley Football Club.
After a storming Carling Cup run last season they gained promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs and have only dropped seven top-flight points in eight games at Turf Moor this term.
Daniel Black follows the Clarets for the Burnley Express and he spoke Arsenal.com ahead of the Gunners' trip to Lancashire on Wednesday night.
THE STORY SO FAR
"Their home form has been absolutely outstanding. When the crowd get behind them it's one of the loudest stadiums in the Premier League and you can tell it rubs off on the players. They've only lost four home games this calendar year and just once since getting promoted, a 3-1 defeat against Wigan. They've beaten Manchester United, they've beaten Everton and they've beaten teams that are expected to be in and around them at the end of the season such as Birmingham and Hull. They play really good attacking football, which really gets the crowd behind them. "
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
"Their away form is not up to scratch at the minute, they've only picked up one point on the road all season, which amazingly came at Manchester City in a 3-3 draw. They dominated at Portsmouth away and had various chances to take the lead but weren't ruthless enough in front of goal and Portsmouth scored two undeserved goals. It was the same at West Ham really, they could have been 2-0 up in the opening five minutes but a quick free kick caught them as it did against Fulham at the weekend."
THE ONE TO WATCH
"Steven Fletcher [the club's top goalscorer with eight goals in all competitions] started out as a wide-right midfielder in the early stages of the season but seemed to struggle. It wasn't his preferred position and since he's been employed as a lone striker he's shown why Burnley spent £3million on him. He has a top-quality touch, his left foot is brilliant and he's electric up front. He's good at holding the ball up, he's a poacher and scored two poacher's goals against West Ham and he just oozes class. "
THE MAN IN CHARGE
"It's hard not to have a lot of admiration for Owen Coyle. You can see from the media interviews he does that he's just a genuinely nice person. What he's done for Burnley has been nothing short of astonishing really. In his first season he got them promoted to the Premier League. There were wins against Chelsea, Arsenal and Fulham in the Carling Cup and the Semi-Final second leg against Spurs at Turf Moor they were two minutes away from the Final. Then they've won promotion and beaten Manchester United in their first home game; it's hard not to appreciate what Coyle has done for the club."
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"I think you only have to look at Arsenal's second-half performance against Liverpool to see what they are capable of. There is a lot of young blood in the Arsenal side and I think Arsène Wenger has a hungry squad. You've got Cesc Fabregas who is one of the best midfielders in the world and they play football at such a frantic pace it's hard to keep up with them at times. There is a worry that Burnley have a lack of pace in the heart of defence and while they can cope with an aerial bombardment from less clinical teams there is a chance that Burnley could come underdone against Arsenal."
"Kevin McDonald, who scored twice in Burnley's Carling Cup victory over Arsenal last season, has only had one Premier League start so far this season but he came on against Fulham and alongside fellow substitute Dave Nugent he looked to change the game. I think those two will be pushing for a start but it depends if Coyle believes he can risk going 4-4-2 against Arsenal or not. I think he'll probably line up with just Fletcher up front on his own and see how that works out before maybe switching it again. They are two sides who are capable of playing penetrative, flowing football and I think there will be goals on Wednesday night. Containment isn't Coyle's approach; he goes out looking for three points and he knows the best way to do that is for Burnley to go and attack teams."