Arsenal are set to entertain an out of form Burnley side this weekend, who currently sit 17th in the League Table, and boast the worst goal difference out of all 20 teams. Watch Arsene Wenger’s press conference above.
But manager Arsene Wenger will know that is nothing to go by in this competition, with Arsenal already facing scares from sides such as Leicester and Crystal Palace this season.
Arsenal look to go into this one fairly unchanged from the 2-0 victory away to Sunderland last week, and with a weeks rest on their shoulders, will aim to finish the job early on tomorrow afternoon.
Arsene Wenger confirmed there are no new injuries to the team, and players suffering long-term absences are doing well in their rehabilitation.
Francis Coquelin may be brought into action this weekend, following a slight injury to an in-form Kieran Gibbs. Although Wenger stated he may be ready in time, there is no point taking any risks before a busy November schedule.
Jack Wilshere would have been looking to regain a starting place after completing his suspension last week, but Wenger confirmed on Friday that the England international looks to be a doubt, after he suffered a “kick to the knee”. Wilshere will sit this one out and hope to be better in time for Anderlecht.
Theo Walcott will again be put on the bench, but may well get a look in on the game. Burnley don’t threaten too much on the physical aspect, so the boss may give him a half hour run out in front of an eagerly awaiting home crowd.
Some rare positive news related to injuries this year; Olivier Giroud is currently three weeks ahead of schedule, with the boss hopeful of seeing him return to normal training after the international break, meaning he could be in contention over the Christmas period.
Yaya Sanogo is back and in contention for a place following nearly 2 months on sidelines, but both Serge Gnabry and Abou Diaby are still a few weeks away.
Manager Sean Dyche sounded positive in this week’s pre-match conference, and reassured fans the squad are in good spirits. He has no fresh injury scares and he has nearly all of his squad available.
The experienced midfielder, Dean Marney, will be brought back into the starting line up tomorrow after missing four games with a troubled hamstring.
Defender, Steven Reid, and top striker Sam Vokes will have to miss this one, but Dyche confirmed they are back in full training now and only a couple of games away from rejoining the side.
Matt Taylor is also injured and awaiting surgery.
Goalkeeper: Wojech Szczesny
The Polish shot-stopper will want to carry on his form on the back of last weeks clean sheet, which is only his second so far this season.
Defence: Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal
With Kieran Gibbs looking to be a concern for this one, Wenger will be wise to rest the England star. Chambers will slip into the centre allowing Bellerin to step up into the right-back position.
The change around will do some good for Nacho Monreal, who has been forced to play out of position for the last few weeks, something he and Arsenal fans have not looked to have confidence in.
Per Mertesacker will want to start fresh after what has been a dismal season for him so far.
Midfield: Matthieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta
With Wilshere missing this one, Flamini will come in to help Arteta cope with the built up 4-4-1-1 formation Burnley like to play. The pair teamed up well against Sunderland and will want to build on that momentum.
Midfield: The Ox, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez
The Ox will be handed another starting place, after picking up some form against Sunderland, but mainly because of the performance of Santi Cazorla, who has struggled in recent weeks. Don’t be surprised to see Santi dropped this week.
Ramsey will return to the starting line up, with Alexis playing out on the left this time to exploit the vulnerable right-hand side that Burnley possess.
Theo Walcott will look to come on with 20 or 30 minutes to go, most likely for The Ox.
Forward: Danny Welbeck or Joel Campbell
Welbz could really do with another goal here at the Emirates just to give him that boost. But with the Englishman starting in every game for club and country since joining us, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wenger bringing in the exciting talent that is Joel Campbell.
Welbeck can always be brought off the bench, but I don’t think this is a game we will struggle to win. Give Campbell the chance to grab a goal against a side who are still adapting to Premier League football nine games in!
Hector Bellerin Per Mertesacker Calum Chambers Nacho Monreal
Matthieu Flamini Mikel Arteta (c)
The Ox Aaron Ramsey Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal boast an impressive record over their opposition, winning 27 of the 45 times these two have met when the Gunners are at home.
Burnley have won just 9 and drawn 9 when heading down the road.
Burnley are also yet to face up against any of last years top 4, so this will be a new test for Sean Dyche’s side.
Last five meetings:
Arsenal 3 – 1 Burnley : March 2010 (PL)
Burnley 1 – 1 Arsenal : Dec 2009 (PL)
Arsenal 3 – 0 Burnley : Mar 2009 (FA Cup)
Burnley 2 – 0 Arsenal : Dec 2008 (League Cup)
Burnley 0 – 2 Arsenal : Jan 2008 (FA Cup)