Arsenal will travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley on Sunday in what could turn out to be an even contest judging by the two teams’ form.
Only goal difference separates the two teams on the Premier League table, but Arsenal will perhaps feel a little more confident heading into the game considering Arteta-ball is becoming a bit clearer.
Ahead of the game, let’s take a look at the key battles on the pitch that could decide the outcome.
Burnley vs Arsenal: 3 Key Battles
Chris Wood vs Sokratis
Arsenal’s weaknesses are predominantly at the back, and Sokratis will have a crucial game against the physical Chris Wood.
Wood is in good form, managing two goals in his last three appearances for the club, and his ability to hold the ball and test defenders aerially is pretty well known.
Sokratis himself is a very physical defender, and will have to keep Wood in check and mark him well in the box.
The Burnley forward is good with the timing of his runs into the box which allows him to meet crosses well, and Sokratis will have to be wary of the threat the New Zealander possesses.
James Tarkowski vs Alexandre Lacazette
Another battle between a forward and a defender, but Lacazette a different type of forward compared to Wood.
The Frenchman’s control and ability in tight spaces mean Tarkowski will have to be on his game as a moment of lapse in concentration could prove to be calamitous.
Lacazette has not scored in the Premier League since December 2019, but his game isn’t just about goals as he brings others into his place with his passing. That’s where Tarkowski cannot afford to be complacent as the forward likes to draw defenders in and create space for the rest of his teammates.
Tarkowski is strong with his tackling and supremely good in the air, but this clash will be about being wary about the space around him and ensuring he doesn’t get sucked in by the Lacazette’s ability.
Ashley Westwood vs Mesut Ozil
If Mesut Ozil is on his game, things become a lot easier for Arsenal. The problem is, teams are more aware of how to shut him out of the game.
The German’s game has improved under Arteta who’s passing oriented approach has helped, but against a team like Burnley, it is going to be difficult for Ozil to influence the game.
Ozil is likely to come up against Ashley Westwood in the Burnley midfield, and of course a Burnley low-block.
Westwood’s work-ethic is usually good, so the German will have to keep the ball moving and make better use of the full-backs who can perhaps stretch the Clarets’ defence.