Burnley vs. Arsenal
Kick off: 3PM
Burnley and Arsenal meet at Turf Moor this afternoon with the two teams locked on the same points in the Premier League standings.
However, as a result of Burnley’s inferior goal difference, as many as three places separate the clubs, with Arsenal sitting in 10th spot and the Clarets down in 13th position.
With Arsenal failing to win a Premier League fixture since New Year’s Day, it has gone unnoticed that Mikel Arteta has put together a six-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Despite their other two victories during that period coming against Leeds United and Bournemouth in the FA Cup, both performances suggested that Gunners fans should be excited about their future under the guidance of the Spaniard.
Nevertheless, their main objective is ensuring that they qualify for Europe next season, a target which remains within their grasp despite draws with Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Chelsea respectively.
Arsenal sit just five points adrift of sixth-placed Manchester United, while catching Chelsea and Sheffield in fourth and fifth should not be completely ruled out at this stage.
With Manchester City now off the schedule until the latter stages of the campaign due to their participation in the EFL Cup final, Arsenal have three successive home matches following the trip to face Burnley.
While success over Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham United is far from a certainty, the opportunity is there to generate more momentum heading into a pivotal part of the campaign.
The defensive additions of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares should only help their cause, but Arteta will be excited about the prospect of Eddie Nketiah chipping in with goals over the coming months.
Despite his failed loan spell at Leeds, Arteta has placed faith in the 20-year-old, something which was rewarded with a goal against Bournemouth earlier this week.
Although there is little chance of the youngster being handed an extended run in the team, the striker has the credentials to give Arsenal a boost in the final third.
As for Burnley, they head into this contest having suffered a hugely disappointing defeat to Norwich City in the FA Cup fourth round last weekend.
However, Sean Dyche may feel that being eliminated from the competition could prove to be a blessing in disguise as they bid to avoid any kind of a relegation battle in the coming months.
Earlier in January, there were concerns that the Clarets could be sucked into the bottom three after a run of 10 defeats in 14 matches, but much of that negativity has now disappeared.
While there was natural jubilation after coming from behind to beat Leicester City at Turf Moor, ending their long wait for victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford was one of the highest points since their return to the Premier League in 2016.
With a seven-point cushion above the drop zone, Dyche will now feel that the pressure has been lifted, although there will now be a desire to break into the top 10.
Dyche is also delighted with the addition of Josh Brownhill from Bristol City, a player who has contributed five goals and two assists in the Championship this season.
Although the 24-year-old may have to bide his time for a starting role, the arrival of a fresh face in midfield should benefit the squad after the recent departure of Danny Drinkwater.
Burnley possible XI: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Rodriguez, Wood.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Sokratis, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Aubameyang.