Arsenal return to home comforts for the first game at the Emirates this season after last week’s win at Newcastle. They had the third-best best home record in the league last term (W14, D3, L2), but their problem was away from home, especially defensively, that ultimately cost them one of the coveted top four places.
The Gunners clean sheet at a limited Newcastle last week was not a valid test or a measure of things to come. Newcastle only scored 42 goals last season (15th lowest in the league) and have lost 55 per cent of those goals with Rondon and Perez moving on. There’s no guarantee that the replacements will fill that void.
Arsenal were also far from their attacking best with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making the most of the best chance that came his way.
What was encouraging though was that the Gunners got this win without anywhere near their best XI. Lacazette, Pepe, David Luiz, Cellabos and Torreira were all on the bench last week and a strong argument could be made that all five would feature in Arsenal’s best XI come the end of the season.
The question is how many go into the starting XI against Burnley in Saturday’s early game? It’s hard to see Unai Emery lobbing them all in at the start. So I’d caution that there is little value in the Arsenal win price at 3/10.
However, the Draw half-time/Arsenal full-time clicked in 11 of Arsenal’s matches last season and is the value play for this game at 3/1.
There’s a few reasons for this. We reckon Burnley will be fresh and confident after last week’s 3-0 win against Southampton and can get men behind the ball and frustrate Arsenal in the first half.
As well as that, Emery has proven with Sevilla, Valencia and PSG that he can change the course of games for the benefit of his team. He can fix things at half-time and that’s why Arsenal’s record in the second half of games was so good last season. No team scored more home goals (14) in the last 15 minutes than the Gunners.
And even if Arsenal’s best XI don’t start – which will be the case – then there will be plenty of attacking options off the bench to turn a draw into a win in the second period.
Look no further than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for first goalscorer on Saturday at 5/2. He was joint top goalscorer last season with 22 goals and only for that missed penalty against Spurs he would probably have won the golden boot and secured Arsenal a top 4 finish.
He started up top last week but whether he’s up top or out wide, he is a constant threat.
He has six goals in his last three games against Burnley – clicking as first goalscorer each time as well.
If you are looking to go against the Gooners for this game, than one angle is Ashley Barnes anytime goalscorer at 3/1. Similar to Aubameyang he has scored in the last two meetings between the sides.
He also scored two last weekend against Southampton where the Saints arguably had the better of the game but Burnley, and Barnes in particular, took their chances extremely well.
Barnes touch with his left thigh and finish with the right foot to break the deadlock was the definition of clinical. This is nothing new though as he scored 12 goals last season and it was rumoured Antonio Conte wanted him at Chelsea two seasons ago.
He turns 30 in December, so his time may have passed. However, against a far-from-solid Arsenal defence, he looks a play to score against them – even if the Gunners end up with the three points.
- Draw Half Time / Arsenal Full Time @ 3/1
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first @ 5/2
- Ashley Barnes to score at anytime @ 3/1
*Prices correct at time of publishing