Chelsea, Basle, 20 years of Wenger – Now time to finish the week in style at Turf Moor

Phew, it’s been a hell of a week. If you are interested in what I’ve been up to, this has been my first (kind of proper) week studying journalism at Kingston.

In this week I managed to:

  1. Do and show the first bit of assessed work in the form of a group presentation (on click-bait journalism!)
  2. Get my own story (a deeply intriguing matter of Kingston council stimulating car owners to switch to bikes in order to improve the environment). But the process was interesting! I even got through to the head of the department on that particular scheme and got him to answer my questions.
  3. Do 4 hours of shorthand in one day (which nearly killed me), but also enlightened yours truly on the subject

All of this in-between solving numerous problems (some of which I never suspected could even theoretically exist), but which also needed time and a fair bit of attention. And I still haven’t checked some things off my list.

Great midweek performance

I have, however, found the time to catch a stream of our midweek Basel game, and it was delicious. It was the best football I’ve seen since … last Saturday. Jokes aside though, it really was scintillating. High speed football, everyone doing their bit, Walcott thriving in such an atmosphere, Alexis kicking himself for becoming much more of a centre-forward than I could have thought even two weeks ago, Santi Cazorla putting in a monstrous performance in the heart of our midfield … I loved every minute of that game, just like I loved every minute of our win over Chelsea.

Then, of course, there’s the small matter of Arsene celebrating 20 years in charge today. There are numerous pieces flying around on the Internet and I can nudge you in the direction of this longform article from Amy Lawrence, reflecting on the incredible journey it has been (and still is), or this piece from Jeremy Wilson, where we get know more about Arsene’s upbringing and habits. From myself I can say that such longevity is unparalleled, second only to Ferguson’s reign, is unlikely to ever be matched by any contemporary manager and says a lot about Arsene’s contribution to the Club’s cause. Doff my hat off for our French manager. An amazing achievement.

20 years, 20 years they say

And one the Frenchman would most likely say he is keen to celebrate with a win on Sunday. Hence let’s have a look at Burnley and the threat Syan Dyche’s men pose.

Team news update

The obvious missing guys at Turf Moor will be Giroud, Ramsey and Coquelin. The Olivier suffered a toe injury and can very well miss out on going to the French national team, Ramsey appears to have suffered *another* setback, one which presumably will keep him out of action till after the break, while Coquelin made a swift recovery and can even feature tomorrow, albeit I doubt he will. No need to risk it, Xhaka played really well this past week.


Burnley away will prove a tough side to beat no doubt. I still remember the last meeting between the two sides, Aaron Ramsey scoring the only goal of the game. Burnley work ethic is insane and we’ll have to match it in order to come out on top. They have a stingy defense at Turf Moor, having conceded just 2 goals in 3 league games so far and beating Liverpool 2-0 in the process. On overall Sean Dyche’s side have conceded just 6 goals in the last 17 home games.

However since returning to the Prem, Burnley find it tough going scoring goals, sitting on just 5 goals (only Bournemouth and Stoke have fewer – 4). The Clarets also took only 15 shots on target in the process, making them second from the bottom in this regard (after Middlesbrough).

Another point to make (a rather obvious one) is that we are currently on a high, with Walcott finding the back of the net in three consecutive games for the first time since 2013, Alexis settling in at CF quite nicely indeed and Bellerin chomping at the bit right behind Theo.

Theo on top form recently


I’m pretty sure we will only see one change from midweek: Cech back in goal for Ospina. Everything else should stay the same, provided all the players who started vs Basel are fresh enough.

There’s a chance we’ll see Gibbs for Monreal, I think, as the Spaniard was subbed off on Wednesday, which may be down to fatigue, but apart from that, really hard to see what Arsene might change. At the moment we have a very balanced squad playing some breathtaking football, Arsene would be the last person to break it up if it’s avoidable.

Predicted line-up: Cech – Bellerin – Mustafi – Koscielny – Monreal – Xhaka – Cazorla – Walcott – Ozil – Iwobi – Alexis

The verdict

If we replicate the level of performance we’ve seen for the last two games, I can’t see the team dropping points at Turf Moor. Burnley is a tricky opponent, no doubt about it, but we should be too much for Sean Dyche’s men on current form. It’ll take hard graft and the same level of intensity we demonstrated this past week, however.

A win will take us to 3rd, seeing as Everton drew against Palace on Friday. We are even with a good chance of sauntering up to 2nd, because Spurs play City and this smells of dropped points. For both sides, if we are lucky.

Alright, that’ll be it from me for now. Still stuff to do. I’ll be back with you for the review and then most likely during the international break to discuss one thing or another.

In the meantime, come on you Gunners.

Until later

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