Arsenal v Burnley: Gunners will enjoy Clarets clash

Arsenal suffered Carabao Cup heartbreak in midweek, but Kevin Hatchard thinks they'll be able to salve their wounds with a win over Burnley...

Crestfallen Arteta must lift his troops

Having watched his team miss out on a place at Wembley, courtesy of a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-finals, Mikel Arteta looked desperately disappointed. When chances had come his team's way, they had been squandered, and the brutal efficiency of Liverpool's performance showed that the Gunners still have a long way to go to compete with English football's elite sides.

With the FA Cup run having ended before it really began, and no involvement in continental competition, Arsenal have no choice but to fully focus on what was the primary goal all along, booking a return to the Champions League. The race for fourth spot (assuming Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea finish in the top three) is fascinating. Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham, Manchester United and Wolves are all genuine contenders to snatch a Champions League spot, and Arsenal are currently trading at 3.15 in the Top 4 Finish market.

Arsenal's home form is generally very strong, and a bedrock upon which Arteta can continue to build. The Gunners have won seven of their last nine Premier League games at the Emirates, and they were only undone by champions and league leaders Manchester City at the death in a 2-1 defeat.

Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka are both suspended after their red cards across the two legs of the semi-final against Liverpool. Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny are at AFCON, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may well have played his last game for the club, while Cedric and Calum Chambers have both picked up injuries.

Burnley must prove value of games in hand

Although Burnley know what they have to do to drag themselves out of the Premier League dropzone, actually putting points on the board has proven to be a big challenge for Sean Dyche's side this term. A raft of COVID-19 postponements mean they have games in hand compared to their rivals, but Burnley only have 11 points and one league win.

Dyche has been defying footballing gravity for years, and a lack of consistent investment in a small squad is finally catching up with the Clarets.

The loss of star striker Chris Wood to Newcastle is a hammer blow, and even with him in the squad, Burnley only managed 16 goals in 17 top-flight matches this term. With Maxwel Cornet away on duty at AFCON, attacking inspiration is somewhat thin on the ground. The remainder of the January transfer window could be the difference between relegation and survival

It's not as if Burnley have been unfortunate this term either. They are second-bottom on Expected Points, and the Infogol Expected Goals model also places them in the bottom three. Of course, the low number of games played has a bearing, but it's hard to argue that Burnley are unfortunate to be in the thick of the relegation dogfight.

Arsenal to bounce back

Given how strong Arsenal are at home, and Burnley's persistent struggles, it's hard to see anything but a home win. However, the Gunners are an unappealing 1.39 in the Match Odds market. The question is therefore how do we get that price near or above evens.

It seems complicated, but I think I've found a reasonable way of getting us to 2.1 by using the Sportsbook's Bet Builder. We can back the Arsenal win, Over 1.5 Goals, Over 6.5 Corners and Arsenal to have 5 or more shots on target.

Let's deal with each bit. The Arsenal win is simple (Burnley have lost six of their last 10 PL away games, including the last three). Over 1.5 Goals is a bet that has landed in 13 of Arsenal's last 15 top-flight matches, and 11 of the last 15 at the Emirates. There has been an average of 10.8 corners in Burnley's PL matches this term, and 9.6 in Arsenal's. Both figures would see us home comfortably, and Burnley are giving up 6.4 corners per game on their own. Finally, Arsenal have managed 4.95 shots on target per 90 in the Premier League this season, and they have had at least five shots on target in 11 of their last 15 top-flight games.

If that's all a bit too complex, you could just back Arsenal/Arsenal in the HT/FT market at evens. Burnley's last five Premier League defeats have seen them trail at half time.

Will Gabriel be an angel for Arsenal?

Gabriel Martinelli's return from injury has been a welcome one, and the young Brazilian has scored three goals across his last four Premier League appearances. At 2.4, he is attractively priced in the To Score market.

Bukayo Saka has racked up four assists in the league this term, and the England international is a juicy 13/5 in the Anytime Assist market. If you look at his last three home games in the league, he got assists against Southampton and West Ham, and scored against Manchester City. This is a young man in form.

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