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Arsenal kicked off the new Premier League campaign as the underdogs following their failure to secure a Champions League berth last season, for the first time in two decades. They are not being considered as ‘top-4’ favourites this term too, but their latest set of league results have raised the expectations high, particularly a 2-0 win against high-flying rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.
Their midweek defeat against FC Koln doesn’t matter a lot as they had qualified for the Round of 32 of Europa League competition already. Arsene Wenger, the veteran Gunners boss, was right to offer game-time to his fringe players against the Bundesliga outfit in order to keep his regulars fit and fresh for weekend’s trip to Turf Moor to face an in-form Burnley side.
Wenger must be content with the fitness of his squad who, despite playing a lot of games in several competitions, have managed to avoid major injuries. Theo Walcott has missed a few games due to illness but is expected to be fit again for the Burnley trip. Santi Cazorla remains the only long-term absentee due to his severe foot injury.
Arsene Wenger switched to a three-man back-line towards the end of the previous campaign that helped him to clinch favourable outcomes. He should retain the same against Burnley too, who have been in sublime form. They have earned some admirable results, particularly over league’s ‘top-6’.
The veteran custodian was rested against Cologne but should start between the sticks against the Clarets.
The Frenchman has been the most consistent figure in Arsenal’s backline for the past few years and his leadership will be essential in such a tricky away trip.
The German international scored the opener against Spurs and has become an integral part of the Gunners’ defence. He was close to departing the club in the summer which, however, didn’t materialise. Mustafi has now been restored to the starting XI, where he has made his presence known following a few resilient outings.
The left-back has done a decent job in a makeshift left centre-back role and has earned Wenger’s trust for adapting well to a new defensive slot.
The Spaniard has struggled defensively but his attacking flair has helped the Gunners in exploring the right flank. His presence will be crucial in creating opportunities inside the Burnley box.
The Swiss international will influence the game from deep midfield and will be expected to combat for the ball and win back possession in the middle of the park.
The Welshman has been impressive in the past few game-weeks and is expected to retain his form on Sunday too.
The Bosnian joined Arsenal on a Bosman transfer from Schalke and his signing can easily be labelled as a bargain buy. His physicality and forward runs have helped the Gunners in creating attacks down the left flank and Kolasinac will be a massive threat to the Clarets’ defensive unit.
The German superstar might leave the Gunners soon after failing to agree to terms regarding a new contract. But he is expected to orchestrate the game from behind with his forward runs and outrageous passing skills.
The Chilean scored 30 goals across all competitions for the Gunners last season but is having a similar contract saga like Ozil and looks unsettled at Emirates. But the wingman scored against Spurs last Saturday and the fans will be demanding more as long as he is here at Arsenal.
Lacazette, the Gunners’ club-record signing, has been impressive in front of goal and is showing his prolific goal-scoring ability from his Lyon days that earned him fame and a transfer to the Premier League.