Burnley vs Arsenal Preview: Either side can break into the top four with a victory

The Clarets are looking to maintain their excellent start to the campaign.

Burnley vs Arsenal Preview: Either side can break into the top four with a victory
Sanchez is looking to torment Burnley again (photo: Getty Images / Alex Livesey)

After Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur dropped points on Saturday, both Burnley and Arsenal have the opportunity to go above them and into fourth place with three points at Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon.

The Gunners have a great record against the Clarets

Arsenal were in excellent form against Spurs last weekend but surprisingly slipped up against FC Koln during the week, although they did make numerous changes to their first team.

In contrast, Burnley have won their last three top-flight fixtures and have not conceded in the process. However, the Clarets will be fully aware that they need to be switched on right until the final minute after conceding during injury time in both fixtures against Arsenal last season, losing both games in the process.

The Gunners have, in fact, won their last six fixtures against Burnley in all competitions. Despite Turf Moor being a tight and compact pitch, Arsenal have found a way to make their passing game work, winning 1-0 in their last two visits to East Lancashire.

Ozil and Sanchez against Defour and Cork could be key

Burnley's defence have become accustomed to being busy this season with James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Jack Cork all in the top ten Premier League players for number of blocks this season. The central defensive partnership of Tarkowski of Mee are also in the top three for number of clearances.

However, it is Cork's role that could be key to the final outcome of the contest. Arsenal's 3-4-2-1 formation allows Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to drop into gaps between defence and midfield, an area Cork will be patrolling throughout the contest.

Ozil has created 30 chances from open play this season, more than any other player in the Premier League, whilst Sanchez has scored four goals in five games against Burnley, although he is yet to break his duck at Turf Moor.

Steven Defour will also play a critical role in the engine room alongside Cork, looking to anticipate play as he has done effectively this season, making the second most interceptions in the league.

Wood and Welbeck could start

For all of Arsenal's ability going forward, boosted by the focal point of Alex Lacazette who has six Premier League goals to his name, they are always susceptible to conceding. They have shipped 16 goals in 12 games, almost twice as many as Burnley, a figure that will provide Chris Wood with optimism. Burnley's top goalscorer should return from fatigue after international duty.

The Clarets are still without Tom Heaton and Jon Walters, whilst Nakhi Wells and Dean Marney continue their long recoveries from injury.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger is without Santi Cazorla as he continues to fight against an achilles injury, although Danny Welbeck could return. However, Theo Walcott is unlikely to prove his fitness in time after recently suffering from illness.