Arsenal v Burnley

Scouting Report - Burnley

Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Arsène Wenger's side host Burnley on Saturday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.


Burnley have struggled to adapt to the Premier League, failing to win in nine attempts this season, and it appears they are finding it difficult to develop a strategy to cope with football at a significantly higher level.

Sean Dyche’s side usually play in a 4-4-1-1 formation and they have found themselves defending for long periods, averaging 44 per cent of the possession so far - the third lowest in the division.

"Kieran Trippier has adjusted well to Premier League football, and has impressed with his energetic forward running and constant stream of crosses"

Despite spending so long defending, Burnley's ball-winning statistics are all low, a result of their tendency to drop back into their own third of the pitch quickly, rather than pressing in midfield.

The Clarets are yet to encounter one of the Premier League’s big boys on their travels, so it’s impossible to be certain of Dyche’s strategy at the Emirates, although it’s difficult to believe Arsenal will face anything other than deep defending and sporadic counter-attacking down the flanks.

However, Arsene Wenger and his players will be wary of their newly-promoted opponents and Burnley can take heart from the chances they created in recent home defeats to West Ham and Everton.

Burnley’s defence has been settled throughout the season, with centre backs Michael Duff and Jason Shackell ever-presents, along with goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

Right back Kieran Trippier has adjusted well to Premier League football, and has impressed with his energetic forward running and his constant stream of crosses into the box. On the opposite flank, Ben Mee or Stephen Ward will play a steadier role.

In the centre of midfield, Burnley have good passing quality. They should be boosted by the return of Dean Marney after a hamstring injury, and he’s likely to play alongside David Jones, a classy operator who combines reliable passes out wide with long-range shots.

David Jones

David Jones


Marney’s return should allow Scott Arfield, a dangerous dribbler, to revert to his favoured position on the right. George Boyd, an energetic worker, should play on the opposite side, with Michael Kightly, a pure crosser, the alternative.

Up front, the roles of the two forwards are clearly defined. Lukas Jutkiewicz is a target man who constantly challenges centre backs in the air, although he’s struggled in front of goal, failing to register from 28 shots this season. Jutkiewicz has managed two assists, though, and a large part of his game is about bringing midfield runners into play.

Alongside him, Danny Ings plays a dual role - dropping deep to become involved in build-up play between the lines, but also sprinting beyond Jutkiewicz to chase flick-ons.

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