Burnley v Arsenal

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Jack - I want to stay and I want to play

Jack Wilshere is waiting patiently for the “lucky break” that could propel him back into our Premier League side.

The England international has been a regular in the Carabao Cup and Europa League this season and played a full 90 minutes in Cologne on Thursday. But he wants to add to his minutes in the top flight as we prepare for three games in six days against Burnley, Huddersfield and Manchester United.

“You never know what can happen in football,” said Wilshere. “I remember when I first broke into the team, the only reason I was in the team was because Diaby and Fabregas were both injured and the boss put his faith in me. Sometimes you need that lucky break and then you can fight and keep your position.

“I feel good, and I felt that as the game went on [in Cologne] I got stronger, had a few opportunities, probably should have scored but I felt good with the ball at my feet. I feel fit enough and have said for a while that I am ready and waiting, I just need to be picked.

“We’ve got three games in six days. They are big games but we feel we can win, finishing with a big one at home [against United]. I will try everything, I will work hard in training and when I get the opportunity I will play as well as I can, but it is a difficult team to get into.”

It’s nine years since Wilshere made his debut for us in a Premier League game at Blackburn, and one of the pleasures of this season has been seeing him back on the pitch after his injury problems.

Wilshere’s current contract runs until next summer but he wants to remain at the Emirates.

“I want to stay here and play,” he said. “I’ve been at this club for 10 years, I don’t have to say how much this club means to me, how good they have been to me. But at the same time, the boss has got to be honest with me and I’m sure he will be.

“I’ve been injured for two years, basically. So I’m fit. I’m playing, I’m happy, I’m training every day. I’m happy to be back in the team. I’ve said there’s going to have to be a conversation because time is running out on my contract. When that time comes, I’ll sit down with the boss and go from there.”


Pictures: Arsenal train ahead of Burnley match

Arsenal train ahead of Burnley (a)

Our first team took part in their final training session on Saturday morning ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Burnley at Turf Moor.

Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexis were among those being put through their paces at London Colney as we look to build on last weekend's pulsating north London derby win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Our club photographer was there and sent back these pictures:


Team news: Updates on Welbeck and Walcott

Danny Welbeck

Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash against Burnley at Turf Moor.

He provided updates on Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott and this is what he said:

on team news…
Everybody looks alright. There are some kicks because it was quite a physical game [at Cologne], but overall we have no injuries. Everyone who played will be available to compete for the squad on Sunday. That is one of the positives of last night, we have no injuries. The fact we can rotate means the players are less overloaded with competition.

on it being a nice feeling to have those options in such a busy period…
Yes because we play every three days. Apart from Theo Walcott, and long-term Santi Cazorla, all the players are available.

on Theo Walcott…
For the weekend, no [he is not available]. He’s back in training now, so he should be okay for next week. He has been ill.

on Santi Cazorla…
I hope to see him soon, that he comes over to give an update.

on Danny Welbeck…
The last time he came back from injury, we played him at Watford and after an hour he got a bad hamstring. This time I didn’t want to take that gamble. I wanted to be a bit more progressive with him. Almost certainly, nothing would have happened but I felt it was more sensible to do it. He’s fine. He’s completely fine.


Finding the ‘strategic solution’ to our next test

Play like we did against Tottenham in every game, and the results will take care of themselves.

But how do you do that when, as Per Mertesacker pointed out, it’s human nature to give 20 per cent more against your biggest rivals?

Arsene Wenger’s challenge is to coax the same intensity from his players when we resume our Premier League campaign at Burnley. And, as he explains, Sunday’s opponents will pose a different kind of threat.

“The intensity of the [Tottenham] game was total because both teams went for it,” he said. “Both teams, every time they won the ball, went forward so the intensity was higher.

“Every game gives you a different problem to sort out, for you to find a strategic solution to be efficient. Against Burnley, that will be different. They are a team who maybe play a bit deeper than Tottenham because they have a strong defensive efficiency.

“You have to keep your nerve, even if you have the ball, to be calm and accurate. You have to be defensively strong as well because they are very efficient going forward.

“Burnley are the most unexpected team to be there with 22 points. You cannot deny that, of course. But if you analyse our games physically, we have been strong physically since the start of the season.”

The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Burnley v Arsenal preview

We are back in Premier League action on Sunday when we travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke examine our opponents in detail.


MC: Sean Dyche is now among the Premier League’s most coveted managers thanks to his fine work with Burnley. Having taken the Clarets up from the Championship twice and taken them to comfortable survival last season with a defensive-minded system, this time around Burnley have played a more cultured brand of football and are the only ‘outsiders’ keeping pace with the Premier League’s big six.

AC: For me, Sean Dyche has been manager of the year. He won’t win it because Pep Guardiola will as they will probably break records for goals scored and total points. Sean Dyche probably should get it though for what he’s doing with a very limited budget. He’s not the best-paid manager and his players aren’t on a stack of money either. It’s not just about solid defending with Burnley this season. They’ve added potency going forward as well and they’ve improved on the ball massively. 


MC: Last season it was all 4-4-2 for Burnley, but this season Dyche has played a 4-5-1 regularly. Chris Wood or Ashley Barnes will lead the line, with the likes of Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Johann Gudmundsson given freedom to break forward and join the lone forward.


MC: 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.

AC: Tarkowski and Mee have been the story of Burnley’s season. They have been sensational. You look at the stats like the headers they win, the clearances they make, the blocks, and they’re top of the charts across the board. Those two have struck up a lovely chemistry.


MC: Since joining from Swansea in the summer, Jack Cork has helped to transform Burnley’s approach in possession - whereas last season they looked for counter-attacks and long balls, now they hold the ball for longer periods thanks to Cork’s intelligent possession play.

AC: Robbie Brady, who was very much in and out of the team last year, has been given the nod on a regular basis and he’s a wonderful crosser of the ball. That’s something that Arsenal definitely need to watch out for at the weekend. 


MC: Despite playing deep, Burnley can be a little too keen to catch the opposition offside - through-balls and well-timed runs may exploit this.

AC: My viewpoint is that you beat them on the deck. It’s got to be passing on the floor with lots and lots of movement. When I think about their back four, as resilient as they are to crosses and balls chucked in the box, and as good as they are at shutting off space and blocking shots, sharp movement in and around the box is not their forte. That can be Arsenal’s strength.

Matchday Show

Listen LIVE to our game against Burnley

Matchday Show: Burnley (a)

We face Burnley on Sunday afternoon - and you can tune in to our LIVE coverage from Turf Moor from 1.30pm (UK time).

Make sure you visit Arsenal.com for the following:

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up from 1.30pm (UK time) and audio commentary from 2pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip, extended highlights and a full match replay will be available from midnight on Sunday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!


‘Burnley have the killing instinct of a snake’

As the only side challenging the Premier League’s established top order this season, Burnley have attracted widespread praise for their performances.

Arsene Wenger has been hugely impressed with Sean Dyche’s side and said, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Turf Moor, that his side would have to be wary of their “killing instinct”.

“They are the surprise package because before the season if you asked 100 people if Burnley would have 22 points at this stage of the season, 90 would have said no - and the 10 others would have been Burnley supporters,” the Arsenal manager said.

“So overall they have done extremely well. They benefit as well from the fact that Sean Dyche has done an outstanding job but also from the stability in their team. They know each other for years now and that is why they are a difficult proposal for anyone now.

“Turf Moor is a very difficult place to go for everybody. I believe that their capacity to be efficient with a restricted possession as well [is a big strength].

“They have won games with 25 per cent or 30 per cent possession, that means they are calm, they know what to do and they are patient with that killing instinct of a snake. They put you to their face and then they bite you.”


What ‘sharp’ Ozil has added to his game

Mesut Ozil

Watching Mesut Ozil glide around the pitch during the north London derby was to see a player at the very top of his game.

The World Cup winner was voted man of the match after an outstanding display, and Arsene Wenger puts it down to a very specific addition he has made to his game.

“Mesut has worked hard and he is extremely fit at the moment as well, and that is why you see him sharp,” the manager said.

“The quality of his technical aspect is always there but he has added a more determined attitude and that is what you want from him.

“Football today is very demanding in the mental and physical aspects and Mesut is in much better physical shape than he was before.

“Every player wants to be a star and when they don’t manage to do it they are really disappointed but the best way to achieve it is to work hard and show the quality of performance that people expect from you.”


Who scored our best goal against Burnley?

We've only faced Burnley six times in the Premier League - but there have still been some pretty memorable moments in games between the sides.

Take Laurent Koscielny's last-minute winner at Turf Moor for example, or Alexis' fine header in 2014.

But which goal was your favourite? Watch them all above and then make sure to vote for your selection below.