Let’s embrace this match.
It’s the last game of our Premier League season. After this fixture, there is one more game left in our campaign – and then the footballing wilderness begins.
No football. Endless transfer gossip – it’s the stuff of nightmares.
So while we are in action, we should make the most of it. We are away to Burnley in this game, and Turf Moor is a venue that holds trepidation for any travelling team. Sean Dyche will no doubt have his men hyped and there will eb a decent atmosphere to buoy their men, but Arsenal have the opportunity to hold off Man United to finish above them – and that is always something to aim for.
The problem is, now we are in the Europa League final our players could well have one eye on making the showpiece. And who could blame them? They are one innocuous injury away from missing out on Arsenal’s biggest game in years. On the other hand, if they fail to turn up for this game, they could be omitted from the selection reckoning.
So who does Emery go for?
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is back in with a shout after returning from suspension. Alternatively, he could miss out after his excellent display against Valencia, with his spot almost secured for the final, it could be a selection for Shkodran Mustafi – in what could be his final appearance in the shirt.
Matteo Guendouzi could also come into the side, that could mean a rest for either Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira. Do our players need a rest though, with the cup final more than two weeks away?
Our away form is absolutely wretched, and we have kept just two clean sheets from our last 28 away days. We have the chance to improve that with a win against Dyche’s men, but if we rotate too much we will lose the momentum our special win in Valencia has created.
That means playing our strongest team, and that would mean Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil all should be in the team. We run the risk of injuring the very players who possess that elusive game-changing ability, but if we can avoid sixth spot, we should do all we can. Europa League qualifying in July will play havoc with next season.
Player to Watch
The tall striker gave Sokratis a good workout the last time we met, and his aerial ability and all-round physical approach will not give our men at the back a peaceful moment. Barnes is also half-decent on the deck, and will be the spearhead for Burnley’s attack. Captain Koscielny and Sokratis will need to stay tight in order to cut off the supply his flick-ons create, and also not rise to any of the gamesmanship tactics he engages in. We managed it last time, we need to do it again.
How This Could Go
Burnley have given Chelsea and City a rough time recently at Turf Moor – and this will be no different. Sean Dyche will want his side to finish as high as possible – and if they win, they could leapfrog Newcastle. Not only that, but seeing as it’s the last game of the season, they will want to reward their faithful fans.
We need to remember our approach against Valencia. We faced resistance early on, we dealt with it and then – the most important step – we asserted ourselves on the game. This is what has been missing from the majority of our away games. If we can keep the supply line going from midfield to attack, our strikeforce will give any team a headache.
This will be tight. Let’s hope for three points and no injuries!
Predicted Lineup – Leno, Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal