Scouting Report: Burnley v Arsenal

We return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, and ahead of the game Michael Cox studies them in Scouting Report.

The manager

Sean Dyche is an impressive coach who has twice achieved promotion with Burnley. Their previous stab at the Premier League, two years ago, ended in immediate relegation but considering Burnley’s resources they fared reasonably well, and Dyche rightly received praise for his side’s defensive organisation.

Dyche doesn’t care about his side dominating possession, and after Burnley defeated Liverpool 2-0 last month with only 20 per cent of the ball, it showed his methods can be very successful.

The formation

Dyche is instinctively a 4-4-2 man, generally preferring to play Andre Gray and Sam Vokes up front together. However, Dyche switched to a 4-5-1 system for the 3-0 defeat to Leicester, and while that proved unsuccessful, Gray’s suspension means he continued with that system on Monday night in the 2-0 victory over Watford.

Expect a 4-5-1 again, with Vokes holding up the ball - he’s more suited than Gray to the lone striker role. Dean Marney plays the holding midfield role, which allows Jeff Hendrick, excellent at Euro 2016 for Ireland, and star summer signing Steven Defour to break forward.


Burnley are well-organised defensively. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton, plus back four Matthew Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee and Stephen Ward have all played every minute so far this season.

They’re also a threat at set-pieces. Both goals in Monday’s 2-0 win over Watford came from corner situations, with both Hendrick and Keane heading in and Defour notching two assists.


With Gray absent, Defour is Burnley’s most naturally-gifted player. Although generally considered a holding midfielder when he made his name with Standard Liege, he’s been handed a more dynamic role since his £8 million switch to Burnley, and is capable of driving forward powerfully. Combined with his ability to create chances from open play and set-pieces, he’s clearly the man Arsenal must stop.

Areas To Target

Burnley’s right flank looked particularly vulnerable during their recent 3-0 defeat to Leicester, with both right-back Lowton and right-sided George Boyd struggling. The in-form Alex Iwobi might get joy down that side.


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