Happy Saturday y’all. Hope you’re coping without The Arsenal? Me – I’m going to go and watch Justice League with The Management and then follow it up by having myself a Chiquitoes, the most exciting part of which is definitely the Admiral Old J they have in stock in my local restaurant.

Football takes a back seat today and I’m kind of ok with it to be honest with you. We had a pretty boring match to endure against Koln on Thursday and with Burnley sure to set up to be difficult to break down and punish us from dead ball situations, I’m alright with giving it an extra 24 hours to get excited.

The team news is pretty good to be fair. Arsene delivered an update yesterday and by all accounts we’re in good shape. Welbeck fit and ready to make an impact, no concerns out of any players who played in the North London Derby, so we go into the game with players who will hopefully still be on a high ahead of a very tough away fixture, but having had a full week off to prepare for a physical challenge. And I suppose that is where we should be grateful for the mass rotation, because this feels like the type of game where an Arsenal team having played in the Champions League in midweek would probably look a little leggy. But as it stands those players will be well rested and so the fitness advantage that Burnley would normally have isn’t quite there for tomorrow. Of course that still doesn’t mean we can’t show up and be outfought, but I just think our probabilities for success are increased as a result.

And it’s certainly a different challenge that the team faces tomorrow compared to last weekend, that’s for sure, because we will see a lot more of the ball than we did against the Tiny Totts. In fact Burnley will probably look at tomorrow’s game and think that they can do a reversal of fortunes on Arsenal by adopting some of the simple principles we had in the game, namely:

  1. Ceding possession is ok providing you keep a decent shape defensively
  2. Bypassing midfield and moving the ball front to back quickly could catch your opponent out
  3. Want it more – we are at home and this game means more to us than it does to them

The last point may be a contentious one to suggest, but you just get the feeling that the Burnley players will have a greater desire for an upset to be caused, than the Arsenal players desire just to get three points. I’m not saying the Arsenal players won’t care, it’s just human nature that the intensity of the players compared to last week won’t be there as much, as Big Per pointed out earlier this week. The Arsenal players therefore have to show that their technical superiority outmatches Burnley’s endeavour, something which you’d say hasn’t always happened this season *cough* Stoke *cough* Watford *cough*.

We’ve also got to sort out this away form. One win all season is pretty lame and whilst you can make a case for Chelski and Liverpool being tough places to go to, Stoke were pretty poor from what I saw and the Watford game was a disgrace. Burnley are better than both of those two games so my hope is that the players will take as much confidence as they can from last Saturday, but also put in the required shift to get the three points.

Moving on to the inevitable speculation – given it’s impossible for a week go go by without it – and Arsene has once again moved to deny Ozil is off to Barca. I’ve already said my piece on what I think we should do with both players, but it’s not like Arsene can even say that if he even anted to, because he needs to avoid the headlines of players downing tools if they’re off. But a January move for Ozil – providing we can get a decent replacement in – wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world so I’m quite serene about it all actually. It’s not like we’re going to get anywhere near City and so I’m kind of at the stage where I’m not really that fussed about the Champions League, except for the finances and possible additional better signings it might bring in, so losing those two in January isn’t going to derail a season that I suspect might not be where we want it to be by January anyway. Hopefully I’m proved wrong though. Hopefully we can do what Chelski did last season and hit a patch of 12 1-0 wins in a row or something. I’d take that all day long and I’m sure you would too, but with our defence we’re always going to concede goals. Perhaps 12 4-2 wins would be more accurate to hope for?

We can start it all off again tomorrow with a victory against the Clarets.

Catch you all tomorrow.