By Chris Harris
They saw off Fulham and they stunned Chelsea. Now Burnley have their sights on a hat-trick of London victims when Arsenal visit Turf Moor.
One of football's most famous names is enjoying something of a renaissance this season and Arsène Wenger's Carling Cup kids could get a rude awakening in Lancashire. Shorn of the home comforts of Emirates Stadium, Arsenal's youngsters face a physical test against one of the Championship's form sides.
Burnley are well-placed for a promotion push and have lost just once at home this term. They made short work of Derby at the weekend and, although high-profile opponents are currently a Cup luxury, they will become a staple diet if Burnley maintain their current form and reach the Premier League.
We asked Chris Boden of theBurnley Express for a Lancashire perspective ahead of Tuesday night's tie. Read on for her take on a dazzling Cup run, the long-term ambitions at Turf Moor and the reasons why the Clarets fancy their chances against Wenger's young side.
THE STORY SO FAR
“Obviously the Chelsea result stands out the most. It was probably the most memorable night watching Burnley in the last 25 years. Probably since they beat Tottenham 4-1in the Quarter Finals in 1983, which Arsenal fans will appreciate. It was an unbelievable night at Stamford Bridge and it was fully deserved in the end. They played some terrific passing football, rode their luck a bit as you have to do in the cup ties but came out on top in the end on penalties. The Fulham game, they came through deservedly so in the last minute with a brilliantly taken goal by young Jay Rodriguez’s - his first goal for the club.
“When they start as they did on Saturday, really high tempo, get the ball down, with good movement from attack-minded players, it has been paying off. Obviously they didn’t start very well; they lost 4-1 at Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day and then got beaten 3-0 in their first home game against Ipswich Town but they are 11 unbeaten at home going into the Arsenal tie.”
THE ONE TO WATCH
“There are a few of them. From a defensive point of view the captain, Steven Cauldwell, has been absolutely fantastic. He was sent off at Chelsea in extra time but he is one that has won promotion from this level with Sunderland. He is absolutely rock-solid, not the quickest but a real commanding presence. Further forward there is Martin Paterson who is top scorer and then there is the likes of Chris Eagles who has forced his way back into the side after an early sending off set him back a bit. Robbie Blake is another one, a real flair player, who is on the same wavelength as Eagles. The pair are capable of causing any team problems like you saw at Stamford Bridge.
“I would imagine Rodriguez will be on the bench considering there are seven substitutes allowed. He has just been edged out of the side in recent weeks by Ade Akinbiyi who has came on and scored at Chelsea and has kept himself in the 16-man squad since then. He is a young lad, only 19 years of age and his father played local football in the area and was a natural goalscorer and Jay is in a similar vein.”
MAN OF THE MOMENT
“If it he gets on the pitch at some stage I am sure he will cause problems. He is a bit more of an impact player in this day and age. He started the game at Barnsley last week and had a disappointing night by his standards and was taken off 10 minutes into the second half for Martin Paterson who came on and scored two terrific goals. He is built like a super-middleweight as all football fans know, he is a real handful and you certainly wouldn’t fancy competing against him physically. He is not as quick as he used to be but he has really refined his player, particularly after working with Andy Cole last season. He has developed a sureness of touch and holding up play and I think every Burnley fan loves him to pieces, he is a real credit.”
“People may look at their disciplinary record and see they have had five red cards already this season but it couldn’t be further from the truth to be honest, they are not that sort of side. On some occasions they have gone into games with a holding midfielder, Graham Alexander, as they have done in the last two outings. But other times they go for an out and out 4-4-2 with a fluid forward line. They will simply look to get the ball wide and utilise the flair of Eagles and Blake and then the pace of Paterson. They will try to do to Arsenal what Arsenal do to everyone else.”
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
“I don’t think anyone expects Arsenal to be a soft touch. We were speaking to Paterson about the fact that Arsenal’s two Carling Cup wins have come at home in that magnificent stadium but it takes a real bravery to play in front of those crowds on that sort of scale. Obviously the Reserves play at Barnet which, with all due respect, isn’t the most welcoming venue, much like Turf Moor. I am sure the young lads will come and put on a show but with it being a home game, Burnley unbeaten in 11 there, on the back of the Chelsea result and having run Arsenal really close in the FA Cup last season, they have every chance.
“The fans are more in hope than expectation but the whole town is bouncing at the minute after the Chelsea result. That was backed up with a Championship win at QPR on the Saturday when they came from behind to win. They are fourth in the table and they are dreaming of Premier League football, playing the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea every other week rather than in one-off cup games. The football is pleasing on the eye and it is bringing the fans back in and at this time when money’s tight, it has given the town a real lift.”
IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
“It was a terrific game in the FA Cup last season. I can remember an early chance for Kyle Lafferty, who has since moved on to Rangers, thumping a header against the bar. Two moments of top, top quality from Eduardo won it in the end. The first finish was a lovely one and then obviously Nicklas Bendtner with a wonderful second goal that carved Burnley wide open. Maybe if Lafferty hadn’t been sent off it might have been a different story. Looking back through the Arsenal team there were the likes of Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue, real top, top players. Even though they might not be here this time there will be people like Aaron Ramsey and obviously we know all about Mark Randall. Top class players and it will be an almighty task.
“People didn’t feel wrong done last time although the Lafferty decision was a bit controversial. Burnley were particularly proud and they got a bit of national recognition for their efforts and the way they play their football. They took that on board and have enhanced that further and they are more a progressive-attacking force now. They enjoyed the plaudits and they would like to build on the win against Chelsea to get back in the national conscience.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 Dec 2008