Burnley v Arsenal Preview: who should start against The Clarets

Written by Edward Pitt

September 17, 2021

Arsenal travel to Turf Moor on Saturday in what is another must-win game as Arsenal start to try and get their season back on track.


Ben White was really good against Norwich on and off the ball, however, he didn’t have to deal with a physical presence like Chris Wood. Wood will no doubt see how effective Toney was against us in the season-opener and will aim to do the same. Gabriel will no doubt have to be sharp and ready to cover when needed.


The other key attacking threat for Burnley will be McNeil. He has made a bright start to the season and caused Liverpool some problems the other week by getting in behind Alexander-Arnold. This is where signing Tomiyasu will prove beneficial. Sure, he like to get forward but off the ball he is very disciplined at tucking in almost as a 3rd centre back. This will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on.

4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1?

Later on in the Norwich match, we saw the potential of a 4-3-3. The return of Thomas Partey to the side makes this even more possible. He is perhaps the only midfielder at the club with the experience and ability to do the job of two players. Furthermore, the work rate that Odegaard shows off the ball makes me think he could play in a 4-3-3. The question is, can Smith Rowe fit into this or do we go more cautious with Sambi Lokonga?

Overall, I think Arsenal should win this game. Burnley are no longer the team that just sits back for 90 minutes. Even against a team as deadly as Liverpool on the counter-attack, Burnley tried to press high and crowd the midfield rather than inviting pressure. With White and Partey in the side, I think we can be really effective at playing through this press and creating chances in the spaces left behind. However, what is crucial is to not fall behind in this game. We need to start on the front foot and do what we couldn’t do against Norwich; turn early pressure into an early goal.

If we fall behind, Burnley will not hesitate to sit deep and protect their lead, making it really difficult for Arsenal to get all 3 points.


Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Lokonga, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Auba, Saka

The same backline against Norwich; I mean it makes sense really. Partey if he is at 100% should start because he is such a difference-maker. Right now, I’d stick with 2 DM’s because I think Lokonga and Partey can still help us create chances too. In attack, we have to use Saka back on the right. He is so much more effective there and Pepe has not really demonstrated that he deserves that spot on the right. On the left I’d go with Smith Rowe; he has to be in the starting 11 somewhere in my opinion and playing with a left-footed left winger just gets in Tierney’s way, who was unusually quiet against Norwich.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons



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