Now that the dream of European glory has been dissipated by Atletico Madrid’s semi-final victory over Arsenal, it’s back to the Premier League to face up against Sean Dyche’s Burnley.

The Europa League loss is a tough one for all involved to take. Arsene Wenger’s exit from the club would have been set-up perfectly – win the cup, leave in glory and earn Champions League participation for his successor. As it stands, it is set to be – as he himself put it – an “anti-climax”.

It is of course, Wenger’s last home match as manager of the club. It’s scarcely believable after all this time and after all the times it was proclaimed “could this be Wenger’s last home game?” and he managed to hold on, but here it is.

There’s plenty of additions to normal proceedings to give the manager a big send-off, including “Merci Arsene” t-shirts for fans and special commemorations happening throughout the day, both on-and-off the field.

It’s a day that is set up to be tinged with emotion, although the disappointment of Thursday will still be fresh. The opposition will also be set up to put an additional dampener on the day.

This is the tie that will decide whether Burnley – who have already exceeded expectations exceptionally this season – have the chance to lay claim to 6th place in the table, where the Gunners currently sit.

It’s not unreasonable to think that they could do so – the Clarets find themselves on 54 points with 36 games played – just 3 points behind the Gunners. Arsenal have a superior goal difference and an additional game to play, but both of their remaining games (against Leicester City and Huddersfield Town) are away from home – and with Arsenal picking up a grand total of zero points on the road in 2018, a loss here and Burnley getting anything from their final home game against Bournemouth at Turf Moor could be a final humiliation for this season.

That’s not to take anything from Burnley, who have been excellent throughout the campaign, but especially early on. They seen a huge dip in form just prior to the turn of the year didn’t see them win a match for 12 games, but seen a resurgence at the beginning of March to ensure that the season would go down as a great one.

Regardless of who finishes 6th and who finishes 7th, both teams will be entering the Europa League draw. What may affect the Gunners, however, is that if they finish in 7th it will severely impede on their pre-season preparations.

As it stands, the Europa League second qualifying round’s first leg is on the date of July 26th. This is where the team in 7th place of the premier League would enter the competition. It’s also the first date of Arsenal’s pre-season campaign in Singapore, where they are set to face up against (now familiar foes) Atletico Madrid. If the gunners do slip into seventh, then the plans for the new manager will shift once more.

With the exception Laurent Koscielny, who injured himself quite badly at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday night, Arsenal will have their strongest team out. This means a likely return to the starting positions for Henrikh Mkhitaryan – who came from the bench on Thursday after scoring against former side Manchester United the weekend before – and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was cup-tied against Atletico but will get a final opportunity to perform at the Emirates this season after a fine start to his time in an Arsenal shirt.

It was Calum Chambers who took over from Koscielny in Madrid, and the same can be expected on Sunday. He will likely be flanked by Shkrodan Mustafi, with full-backs remaining the same – Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal.

Against United, some of the young guns were given a go and performed well – Konstantinos Mavropanas, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all started, with Joe Willock getting the final fifteen minutes – so it would not be surprising to see Wenger give these players a chance to light up the Emirates on his final home game in charge.
Burnley are a side with plenty of threats in their team that will look to cause problems against an Arsenal defence that has regularly been shown to be brittle.

Strikers Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have both notched 9 goals a-piece this season and will be looking to build on this tally. They play at the top of a traditional 4-4-2 that has lots of strength in the middle – with Jack Cork and Aaron Lennon offering both solidity and a threat.

Special commendations must be given to Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and left full-back Stephen Ward who have both had terrific seasons and are rightly getting recognition for it as the season comes to a head. Centre-back Ben Mee is a doubt as he continues to recover from a shin injury.

In the return fixture, Arsenal came out on top in Turf Moor but only just. In the dying embers of the game Arsenal were awarded a penalty, which Alexis Sanchez duly put away to give Arsenal a 1-0 win.

Burnley didn’t make it easy on that day and they won’t make it easy for Wenger’s last game at the Emirates. They’ve 3 of their last 4 away games (and drawn the other) – as many games as the gunners have won on the road all season, amazingly.

In an ideal world, Arsenal will come out a resurgent side after the European departure and give Wenger – one of Arsenal football clubs greatest ever servants – the send-off that he deserves.

Arsenal play Burnley in the Premier League for their third last game of the 2017/18 season at the Emirates Stadium on the 6th of May with kick-off scheduled for 16.30PM.