HEADS UP….on Burnley – 10 Key areas to discuss ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Turf Moor

Heads Up….on Burnley


If you read my Positives, Needs and Hopes blog you may appreciate this new blog…. Heads Up!

I’m writing prior to Arsenal games about what you can expect from our opponent.

Tactical insight, formation, patterns of play, strengths and weaknesses etc…

After watching 3 of Burnley’s recent games and getting the opinion of two Burnley bloggers, @NoNayNever and @CricketFieldEnd, this should prove handy reading.

Here we go….

1) Insight… Burnley operate well in a compact structure. They press well but only after getting in this structure.

Arsenal will hopefully use speed of transition and ball movement to not allow Burnley to play structurally.

Arsenal may do well to go hard early as any team with a clear defensive structure as their base plan is thrown off when they have to chase the game

Their forwards will use balls to Leno to initiate their press which has proved successful recently.


Key player for Clarets

Stop McNeill, you stop Burnely! It’s not quite that simple but he’s the game changer. If we stop them from crossing without fouling and giving them the set play that they want will be the most crucial way to keep from conceding.

Crosses to the back post and set plays flicked on to the back post need to be stopped.

I think the game will be one in wide areas as Burnley have struggled to stop crosses. We will be well served to cross low so the Nketiah goal against Bournemouth is the model for this game. Martinelli, dragging full back inside as ball is switched from right to left, leaving Saka alone to cross low for a late run.


2) Form… A poor run of form was given a huge boost by recent wins against Leicester and Man Utd. Burnley lost last week in the FA Cup to Norwich.

3) Formation and Potential line up… Dyche rarely changes from a traditional 4-4-2.



No surprises

Bardsley may play instead of Lowton, possibly to try to intimidate Saka and Martinelli. New signing, Josh Brownhill is a more creative player in the central midfield, and we may see him from the bench.


4) Absent players… Arsenal fans will be happy to hear that Ashley Barnes is out injured. Gudmundsson is a miss also as his crossing ability from the right isn’t matched by Hendrick.

5) In form players…. Pope is arguably their best player and his current form will be encouraging him that a No. 1 spot with England is very possible as Pickford is struggling currently. He is a shot stopper who leaves much of the aerial side of the game to his defenders.

Westwood is a consistent workhorse and McNeill their most technical threat between the lines as Taylor (another potential England hopeful) bombs outside of him on the left.

Lowton, Tarkowski and Mee seem to have recovered their form in the back.

Their current front two have had recent success. Wood is the consistent physical threat and Rodriguez scored a screamer at Old Trafford recently.

6) Out of form players…. Hendrick and Cork have a tendency to blow hot and cold.

7)  Strengths… Primarily set plays as Burnley are a more physical force than Arsenal with much more height than us.

From open play they excel in crossing and heading and like many direct teams, they win the majority of second balls.

8) Weaknesses

Burnley’s greatest lack is pace. We have lots of this!

Burnley may struggle with Arsenal’s overloads. With our CF checking and their lack of a third midfielder, we should be able to create 1 on 1 situations if we move the ball quickly wide.


Arsenal pace should scare them

I’ve noticed that other teams have used decoy runs in wide areas to leave their wingers 1 on 1 too.

Arteta has introduced some interesting corners on occasion. Burnley struggle against creativity in all areas and corners being one. Unimaginative lofted crosses/corners will be gobbled up.

Any team playing 4-4-2 will be concerned about being outnumbered in central areas. We may move Ozil/Willock more centrally to do so.


9) Patterns of play…. Much like Arsenal recently, Burnley prefer to progress play by going wide and are a left side biased team. Lowton tends to stay back at RB whilst Taylor supports McNeill and offers a true crossing threat from the left.

Again, much like us, they often move the ball right to switch it left. Three to four players attacking the box with decoy front post runs opening up Wood at the back post.


10) Possible strategy…. Dyche may be a more limited coach than Arteta but he does play on opponents’ weaknesses much like he did to great success against Phil Jones.

Burnley’s strength thankfully doesn’t match up so well with our weakness as our RB area has proved to be fairly solid. Will need Pepe to help Bellerin/AMN.

Our weakness in physicality and not being able to match well in height will play into Burnley’s strength. Arsenal may need to use their zonal defensive set up to have Leno, Xhaka, Sokratis and Luiz attack all balls in the air.

Burnley will likely sit and contain in the first half and hope to keep game close for the second half.


Needs to support his FB

PREDICTION…. Burnley 0 Arsenal 3

Hope you liked the 1st ‘Heads Up!’


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