To measure the size of the task facing us ahead of Sunday’s trip to Burnley, you only have to rewind 13 months and recall the difficulty we had last time out at Turf Moor.
On that day, we were indebted to Laurent Koscielny’s 93rd-minute winner - a goal with more than a touch of controversy about it - as we snuck off with all three points from a fiercely-contested clash.
But this term, the Clarets are even further improved and challenging the established order in the Premier League as they sit in sixth place with 22 points from their opening 12 games. That puts them below us on goal difference alone - and the fact they have only conceded twice at Turf Moor this season shows we will have to be at our most clinical this weekend if we are to build on our north London derby victory.
Read on for a comprehensive pre-match briefing: we’ve got classic goals against Burnley, team news, an exclusive chat with Arsene Wenger, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.
KOS THE BOSS
Wenger on Koscielny reaching another big milestone:
“He’s a winner and he’s focused. He’s a quiet leader because he doesn’t talk too much, but he is absolutely top quality and I’m very pleased that he has completed 300 games for us because that’s a remarkable achievement.”
ARSENAL: Cazorla (ankle)
BURNLEY: Wood (hamstring - doubt), Walters (knee), Heaton (shoulder)
Tactical expert Michael Cox:
“Burnley are excellently drilled without possession, getting back into a deep and solid shape. They’re also supremely effective at denying the opposition shots from good positions, and get plenty of bodies back behind the ball to block shots too. Despite playing deep, they can be a little too keen to catch the opposition offside - through-balls and well-timed runs may exploit this.”
THE LAST WORD
Wenger on playing 13 times in six weeks…
“We should benefit from the fact that we can rotate a lot in the Europa League and in the Premier League. Everybody’s back and available now basically, so hopefully we can take advantage of that because the schedule is absolutely tremendous.
"You sometimes demand that you can just have a breather because it’s not only physical, it’s more mental. You need to find the mental resources every time to be up for it in the Premier League. That is so demanding and that’s why we should benefit from it.”
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