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Arsenal vs. Burnley

Emirates Stadium

8/3/2009

13:30

Arsenal v. Burnley

In the previous midweek game, West Brom were, if we`re honest, the exact kind of opposition we had been waiting for to end the goal drought. The team obliged with three goals and a convincing win. I can imagine some Gooners somewhere (at the Emirates) might still be tempted and ready to add, after breathing a sigh of relief, "But it`s just West Brom." You can only beat what`s put in front of you, we`re putting a bit of a run together, at least we`re getting some confidence back and all that.

If we welcomed a "lesser" but football-playing team like West Brom in the league, maybe some of us would be delighted to host Burnley in the Cup. Last time we met at Turf Moor in December, however, our Young Guns learnt a great lesson after creating - but also squandering - quite a few chances. What`s different this time is that we`re playing at home (where I hope the atmosphere would be better in the Cup) with a different lineup (one new player added, a few senior players thrown in and a couple of them back from injury). So hopefully, it`s shaping up nicely to be an entertaining game.

Vital Quotes:

Despite having won the FA Cup four times in his Arsenal career (only one short of equalling Sir Red Nose`s record), with our league campaign target reduced to a top 4 finish, Arsene Wenger is fully aware that the Cup and the Champions League represent better chances of decorating the Emirates Stadium with some meaningful silverware.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, he again showed his confidence in this team`s ability to achieve that goal: 'I am a great believer that this team will win everything - but the earlier the better.'

In view of that, although we`ve got an important trip to Rome coming up next Wednesday, it seemed clear that the boss would give this game a worthy go: 'It is an important game and it is not one we will treat lightly. We treat it with respect and focus."

'First of all, we want to keep our run going. The best way to go into the next game against Roma is to win on Sunday. The best way to prepare is to win the game before.

'The FA Cup still has its magic. It has the magic of being qualified and the magic of going to Wembley - it has a historical significance as well. It means having something special in your daily life, something that suddenly happens which keeps everybody focused.'

On the other hand, Burnley manager Owen Coyle sounded, to me, rather conservative when he referred to his team as the "huge underdogs" who would need "a culmination of three things to come together - one for Arsenal to be slightly off their game, two for us to be absolutely outstanding and three a little bit of luck on the day.

'If they come together we have a chance. What you want to do is go and do yourself justice and come off the pitch with no regrets."

In the Carling Cup, his team has already proved their ability to do just that because it is well set up to play positive football: a London quartet of Fulham, Chelsea, our Young Guns and runners-up (hehe, sorry, Bentley`s penalty miss just springs to mind) T*ttenham will testify to that. (Now this is some feat that is worthy of a commemorative DVD! By the way, the disk, now available for pre-order on www.burnleyfootballclub.com, is creatively and aptly named as "Capital Punishment: The Dramatic Story of Burnley`s 2008-09 Carling Cup Run".)

They are just as creative on the pitch: Coyle seems to have a similar belief in building a technical, fit, attack-minded Clarets team and a similar stubbornness of sticking to that philosophy despite the physical nature of the English game, especially in the Championship. I think a few of the ingredients behind their good run are quite rare in this "park-the-bus" era:

'Every time they wear that jersey they do it with immense pride and they show their qualities, and that is what we need to do between now and the end of the season.

'We have tremendous physical resources in terms of fitness. They have shown they have the mental strength to go with it, and we are going to need all that and a little more on Sunday.

'I think we have character and versatility in abundance, but we also have quality and we have shown that. When all those come together we are a very good side.

'There are no prima donnas - no one who thinks they are above anyone else. It is very much a team effort.

'We have potential match-winners in the team; we have people who can produce a little bit of magic individually. But they bring it within a team effort, and anything we achieve we achieve as a group.'

With all these elements embedded in the Clarets side, no wonder Coyle is so set on their positive approach to their first visit to the Emirates:

"I`m not going to set a team out to go and stop the game.

"We`re taking over 5,000 fans and it would be remiss of me to just sit behind the ball and not offer anything in terms of an attacking threat.

"I`d much rather go and be positive in the game.

"Within that there`s an element that could backfire and we`ll be on the receiving end.

"But I believe in this group of players and when they`re positive and look to pass and move the ball, we can create problems for the opposition."

Amen to that, Mr Coyle.

Sorry about being long-winded with the quotes, I just thought it`s worth pointing out that some clubs are determined to play attacking football and entertain the fans, something that we as Gooners should appreciate and applaud.

Arsenal Team News:

I`m really happy writing this bit! In the previous Cup game, we saw the lethal weapon back with a bang scoring two goals, though only to be taken off with a minor hamstring setback. Considering that Eduardo had been out almost a year, hiccups like this should be expected. He is now fit again and every one of us hopes that it`s a full comeback that he`ll make this time.

Also emerging from the medical room is a certain teenager that we`ve also missed a great deal. (Isn`t that right, Eboue bashers?) The boss acknowledges Theo Walcott`s value to the team but also highlights the need to be patient with the boy: "He can be very good for us. It`s very important to see how he will respond with his shoulder and I think he looks to be nearly there. To have him back is great."

Having seen some good signs in training, the next thing the manager wants to ensure is that Walcott responds well to competitive action: "He is very fit but after that you have to get used to tackles and go into the challenges. You have to use your arms and shoulders to resist."

Both Eduardo and Walcott are in the squad but the boss has to assess them further to decide what kind of role they`ll play. William Gallas, who skipped the visit to West Brom with an ankle problem, will come back in defence and replace Kolo Toure who came off against West Brom with a calf problem.

In terms of our Cup campaign, a very welcome addition of course is the new boy, Andrey Arshavin, who has become eligible in the competition. In the previous league games, he has shown the creativity that we had lacked, although he is still on his way back to full fitness.

Otherwise, the same quartet continues their recuperation: captain Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Adebayor and Mikael Silvestre may watch in the stands and support their teammates as some of them did in the previous round.

In view of Roma, I`d hazard a guess that Wenger would put out a decent side in the Cup but may substitute some players in the second half.

Possible starting XI (those names in brackets would be my personal picks for subs or second choices, depending on fitness): Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy; Eboue (Theo), Denilson, Diaby, Nasri (Vela); Arshavin (Eduardo), Bendtner

Player to watch: Andrey Arshavin

Across the Gooner blogosphere, it is pretty much agreed that the Russian playmaker has shown some promising glimpses of quality in his first three appearances in the red and white shirt, despite not being fully fit yet. In a recent interview with the BBC, he has shown a bit of dissatisfaction about his fitness level and a great deal of determination to improve his understanding with his teammates and perform to his potential in English football. His performances thus far have reflected as much - I thought his passes, shots and movements oozed class and intelligence. His pace will come back as he gets back to 100%. You could just tell he kept trying and trying and a goal would come, hopefully soon. If I were going to bet, I would put a pound or two on him scoring anytime.

Burnley Team News:

Brian Jensen, Martin Paterson and Kevin McDonald, who scored twice to beat our Young Guns in the Carling Cup, all picked up knocks in their midweek game against Blackpool but will be fit to visit the Emirates.

The Clarets will, however, come without their defenders Michael Duff and Rhys Williams. The former is suspended for his fifth yellow card and Middlesbrough did not allow Williams to play for Burnley in the Cup as they are still involved in the competition.

Player to watch: Brian Jensen

Some of the press reports have focused on McDonald, who indeed caught the eye in our last encounter by scoring two goals. Our mates over at Vital Burnley highlighted Martin Paterson as their main man. Chris Boden of the Burnley Express told arsenal.com that the Clarets captain, Steven Caldwell, had been solid for the team and, after taking a little dip in form, was coming back well and would "win the headers and the challenges" which are, honestly, not one of our strong points. Admittedly, I only watched three of their other games (that win at Stamford Bridge and the two goalfests against Sp*rs in the CC), and I had a good impression of Rodriguez too.

Against us specifically, though, how can you forget Brian Jensen, the keeper who stopped three or more shots from Bendtner alone last time around? Some Gooners might still be cursing Bendtner for those missed one-on-ones. But I thought Jensen played a blinder that day - as did quite a few other keepers against us, incidentally - so I hope he won`t repeat those heroics this time.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal are undefeated in 16 games, won 7 and drawn 9, in all competitions since the Porto defeat on 13 December.

Burnley are famous for gunning down some strong London teams (the aforementioned quartet in the Carling Cup) and PL teams (plus West Brom in the fourth round of the FA Cup).

Whether it`s their chance to avenge last season`s third round exit in the FA Cup or our chance to avenge this year`s quarter-final exit in the Carling Cup, I can`t tell. But in the Wenger era, the only time we got knocked out by a lower-league opposition was against Burnley in the CC in December. In the FA Cup, Wenger`s unbeaten record is still intact.

Should a replay be required (please no!), it will be scheduled on either 17th March (Tue) or 18th March (Wed). The winners will face Hull City at home in the quarter-finals.

Against Burnley in all competitions

urnley have only lost two of their last eight league and cup meetings with Arsenal.

FA Cup only

urnley won the first two Cup encounters between the two sides but those were in the late 1800`s. We then beat them in the next four meetings.

Ref Watch:

Chris Foy will be the referee for this game. He has officiated 18 Premier League games and handed 1 red card and 67 yellows this season. An average of 3.78 cards per game puts him in third place in the refs` card cable. The only Arsenal game he managed this season was our 1-0 home win against Bolton, in which he handed 2 yellows apiece to each team.

Match Prediction:

I remember someone started a funny loop with the Cardiff match preview by saying that if we take it seriously, we should go through. Then the next guy agreed and paraphrased that. A few others posters did the same and we ended up having more than a dozen of posts with different wordings that said something to that effect. I think we can safely repeat that exercise: If we treat the game with respect, Hull beckon in the quarter-finals. Brice said he`s getting tired of predicting scorelines as Arsenal are just unpredictable at the moment. True that, but I can see goals in a pretty open game, so I say 3-1 to the Arsenal.

Next Fixtures:

11/3 (Wed) - Roma (A) - Champions League

14/3 (Sat) - Blackburn (H) - Premier League

** 17/3 (Tue) or 18/3 (Wed) - Hull City (H) - FA Cup **

21/3 (Sat) - Newcastle (A) - Premier League

(I`ve included both possibilities of the third fixture - not to tempt fate.)

To the Clarets, especially those who`re going to the Emirates for the first time, hope you guys enjoy the day out. Good luck with the play-off place!




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The Journalist

Writer: GoonerLou Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 8 2009

Time: 1:52AM

Your Comments

Thank you Lou for helping me out here!
gunnerkid107
Thank you Lou for helping me out here!
gunnerkid107
coyg! fancy nik 2 continue his goalfest and andrey to bag 1
gunnerchi
coyg! fancy nik 2 continue his goalfest and andrey to bag 1
gunnerchi
I'm looking forward to this afternoon game, with the possibly that we'll see Theo back playing for The Arsenal!
hackneyval
I'm looking forward to this afternoon game, with the possibly that we'll see Theo back playing for The Arsenal!
hackneyval
Its almost redundant trying to predict an Arsenal game nowadays. My heart says its a game we shld win handily with our returning players and Arshavin,but most times this season when my heart says we should win we have ended up with frustrating draws. So my heart says 4-1 to the Arsenal but my head says 1-1 draw(at least its not goalless)
D'arsassin
Its almost redundant trying to predict an Arsenal game nowadays. My heart says its a game we shld win handily with our returning players and Arshavin,but most times this season when my heart says we should win we have ended up with frustrating draws. So my heart says 4-1 to the Arsenal but my head says 1-1 draw(at least its not goalless)
D'arsassin
Surely you do not expect a 1-1? I can understand you thinking the way you do (lowering normal predictions) but you do not honestly think it will be a 1-1?
Tom14
Surely you do not expect a 1-1? I can understand you thinking the way you do (lowering normal predictions) but you do not honestly think it will be a 1-1?
Tom14
Arsenal win, don't care how.
Armory
Arsenal win, don't care how.
Armory
dats quite a lineup we've put up
gunnerchi
dats quite a lineup we've put up
gunnerchi
Tell me I'm dreaming but it appears Eboue and AA will be the forwards with Eduardo(capt), Diaby, Song and Carlos behind. Confused
alwaysgunner
Tell me I'm dreaming but it appears Eboue and AA will be the forwards with Eduardo(capt), Diaby, Song and Carlos behind. Confused
alwaysgunner
lol AG no way. On TV it's: Fabi; Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Gibbs; Eboue, Song, Diaby, Vela; Arshavin, Captain Eduardo!!! :D
GoonerLou
lol AG no way. On TV it's: Fabi; Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Gibbs; Eboue, Song, Diaby, Vela; Arshavin, Captain Eduardo!!! :D
GoonerLou
When I saw the names, I thought the boss would give the armband to Fabi, quite a surprise to see Captain Edu for this game. I can see him and AA scoring!! (salivating)
GoonerLou
When I saw the names, I thought the boss would give the armband to Fabi, quite a surprise to see Captain Edu for this game. I can see him and AA scoring!! (salivating)
GoonerLou
beautiful Carlitos!!!
TPowell
beautiful Carlitos!!!
TPowell
Hehe Carlitos is our new chipy! :)
GoonerLou
Hehe Carlitos is our new chipy! :)
GoonerLou
ag, come on man... Great goal be Vela.
Tom14
ag, come on man... Great goal be Vela.
Tom14
WOW!!
TPowell
WOW!!
TPowell
That was beautiful
YankeeDeuce
That was beautiful
YankeeDeuce
Thats the second great ball Song has played into the box, he's done well today. Fabianski still doesn't seem great at coming for crosses, don't think he's ready to be our number one for a while yet.
jubair
Thats the second great ball Song has played into the box, he's done well today. Fabianski still doesn't seem great at coming for crosses, don't think he's ready to be our number one for a while yet.
jubair
EEEEEEEDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!EFFFING FANTASTIC!!!
D'arsassin
EEEEEEEDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!EFFFING FANTASTIC!!!
D'arsassin
Sorry,dat should be EEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
D'arsassin
Sorry,dat should be EEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
D'arsassin
credit to Arshavin for deciding to keep that in when he realised we had numbers in the box
TPowell
credit to Arshavin for deciding to keep that in when he realised we had numbers in the box
TPowell
Wow,Song is playing out of his mind. van Persie is comin on,dats a surprise.
D'arsassin
Wow,Song is playing out of his mind. van Persie is comin on,dats a surprise.
D'arsassin
Think Van Persie is on to get him sharp for the Roma match as he missed the last game as well and might be getting a bit rusty on the bench.
jubair
Think Van Persie is on to get him sharp for the Roma match as he missed the last game as well and might be getting a bit rusty on the bench.
jubair
Burnley just got Eboue'd!!!
TPowell
Burnley just got Eboue'd!!!
TPowell
Great back heel by Song, he's been fantastic today.
jubair
Great back heel by Song, he's been fantastic today.
jubair
A good solid performance, very pleased with young Gibbs; with Cashly in trouble with Fabio young Gibbs could find himself getting a call.
alwaysgunner
A good solid performance, very pleased with young Gibbs; with Cashly in trouble with Fabio young Gibbs could find himself getting a call.
alwaysgunner
This is going to be the team to watch in a very short time
denno4
This is going to be the team to watch in a very short time
denno4
Song was my MoTM and am sure not mant will disagree. I have not always been his greatest admirer but Song was in tune today. Kudos to him and Eboue too. Also impressed with Gibbs too,he should give Clichy a run in league games.
D'arsassin
Song was my MoTM and am sure not mant will disagree. I have not always been his greatest admirer but Song was in tune today. Kudos to him and Eboue too. Also impressed with Gibbs too,he should give Clichy a run in league games.
D'arsassin
We've been Eboue'd again!! :D Song's been Eboue'd too! Very happy for ALL three scorers!!
GoonerLou
We've been Eboue'd again!! :D Song's been Eboue'd too! Very happy for ALL three scorers!!
GoonerLou
The goals were awesome, the clean sheet was pleasing, above all, I'm so happy that everyone came through unscathed. Edu's again back with another bang, Theo's looking lively, RvP's raring to go. We should be okay in Rome (while Roma aren't in the best of shape)!
GoonerLou
The goals were awesome, the clean sheet was pleasing, above all, I'm so happy that everyone came through unscathed. Edu's again back with another bang, Theo's looking lively, RvP's raring to go. We should be okay in Rome (while Roma aren't in the best of shape)!
GoonerLou
SONG - Man of the Match! Great result, a very sound performance.
norfolk dumpling
SONG - Man of the Match! Great result, a very sound performance.
norfolk dumpling
Ok, someone wake me up Eboue score a goal!!! I agree Song had a Great Game, and i got my wish with Theo coming on with about 20 min left, and he could have scored!
hackneyval
Ok, someone wake me up Eboue score a goal!!! I agree Song had a Great Game, and i got my wish with Theo coming on with about 20 min left, and he could have scored!
hackneyval
I will have to watch the highlights again. I stopped watching it after Edu's goal because of a family gathering (like I do every week)
Tom14
I will have to watch the highlights again. I stopped watching it after Edu's goal because of a family gathering (like I do every week)
Tom14
Man of the match for me was Gibbs, young unexperienced but what a performance.
Armory
Man of the match for me was Gibbs, young unexperienced but what a performance.
Armory
I also like the fact that, probably with the fit again Theo breathing down his neck, Eboue has cured his "brain fart"! :)
GoonerLou
I also like the fact that, probably with the fit again Theo breathing down his neck, Eboue has cured his "brain fart"! :)
GoonerLou
Excellent performance, although we should realise it was only Burnley (credit to them, they put in a good show, just didnt have the final quality). Dudu's finish was the best I've seen in a while in Arsenal colours, simply fantastic, and that was after I thought Vela's finish was top class as well. Eboue scoring was the icing on the cake, looked like he'd been practising his celebration for a long time. Finally got to use it.
prits
Excellent performance, although we should realise it was only Burnley (credit to them, they put in a good show, just didnt have the final quality). Dudu's finish was the best I've seen in a while in Arsenal colours, simply fantastic, and that was after I thought Vela's finish was top class as well. Eboue scoring was the icing on the cake, looked like he'd been practising his celebration for a long time. Finally got to use it.
prits
Chelsea awaits in the semis...should we get past Hull...I'd say bring them on...
jess_farenesh
Chelsea awaits in the semis...should we get past Hull...I'd say bring them on...
jess_farenesh
eudardo, you are genius
andycroat28
eudardo, you are genius
andycroat28
Vela could turn out to be as good as messi in a couple of seasons
gunner24
Vela could turn out to be as good as messi in a couple of seasons
gunner24
good result guys
Doody
good result guys
Doody
Vela is more like a young Raul IMO. Its also quite cear he is much more effective up top than on the wing, what a finish his was but Eduardos was sensational. Arshavin was a bit quiet today but still his quality shines through, an assist and his reverse ball to Walcott (that was wrongly given offside) highlight this. Song was strangely good going forward but still makes mistakes defensively that to his credit he does tend to rectify, against better opposition he needs to have higher concentration levels. Eboue has been a bit of an action man of late hopefully the penny has finally dropped.
iceman10
Vela is more like a young Raul IMO. Its also quite cear he is much more effective up top than on the wing, what a finish his was but Eduardos was sensational. Arshavin was a bit quiet today but still his quality shines through, an assist and his reverse ball to Walcott (that was wrongly given offside) highlight this. Song was strangely good going forward but still makes mistakes defensively that to his credit he does tend to rectify, against better opposition he needs to have higher concentration levels. Eboue has been a bit of an action man of late hopefully the penny has finally dropped.
iceman10
Got to fancy your chances in this game but not so easy against Hull.
Thaibluefan
Got to fancy your chances in this game but not so easy against Hull.
Thaibluefan
can we write an article dedicated to eduardos goal???? that was simply genius
anonymous
can we write an article dedicated to eduardos goal???? that was simply genius
anonymous
Armory, I quite agree that Gibbs had a terrific game as did most of the team. A few 'moments' in defence with Gallas and Djourour and Fabianski is a bit wild at times but overall a great performance and the returnees all look good. Full concentration and maximum commitment from everyone on Wednesday should see us into the next round.
norfolk dumpling
Armory, I quite agree that Gibbs had a terrific game as did most of the team. A few 'moments' in defence with Gallas and Djourour and Fabianski is a bit wild at times but overall a great performance and the returnees all look good. Full concentration and maximum commitment from everyone on Wednesday should see us into the next round.
norfolk dumpling
Confidence was back once that first goal went in. It's all about finishing guys - take your chances and you've no problems.
Thaibluefan
Confidence was back once that first goal went in. It's all about finishing guys - take your chances and you've no problems.
Thaibluefan
The closest I've seen to Dudu's goal is Zidane's volley in the Champion's League. Sheer class. Bring on Roma!
deledudu
The closest I've seen to Dudu's goal is Zidane's volley in the Champion's League. Sheer class. Bring on Roma!
deledudu
Stunning Eduardo goal
Tiny T
Stunning Eduardo goal
Tiny T
 

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