Burnley and Arsenal are level on points in the middle of the table ahead of their meeting at Turf Moor on Sunday (14:00 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
The teams may both have accumulated the same total of 30 points, but they’ve got there in very different ways. Burnley have won nine, lost 12 and drawn just three of their 24 matches, while Arsenal have won just six times, alongside six defeats and a league-high 12 draws.
Interestingly, all three of Burnley’s draws came within their first seven matches of the season. Since then, their results have encompassed a series of losing spells of three or four matches punctuated by a trio of two-match winning streaks. That has been enough to lift them into a position of relative mid-table comfort, seven points clear of the drop zone.
Sean Dyche’s side are solid enough to think it unlikely that they will now be pulled down into the relegation fight. Their underlying numbers are decent and there are almost certainly at least three teams worse than them in the league this season. They aren’t far away from securing themselves a fifth consecutive year of top-flight football.
This weekend, Burnley have an opportunity to record a third consecutive victory for the first time this season. They defeated Leicester in their last home match before recording a 2-0 win away at Manchester United last Wednesday. Goals either side of half-time from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez gave them their first win at Old Trafford since the sixties.
So bunched are all the teams from lower mid-table all the way up to fifth that their win there moved Burnley to within five points of United, the current occupants of that latter position. One would expect those teams to spread out a bit in what remains of the campaign, but at this stage there remain a wide range of possibilities for Burnley in terms of finishing position.
The same is true of an Arsenal side who could quite easily get themselves up into the top six if they could only turn some of their infuriatingly high numbers of draws into victories. If they maintained their current rate of one draw for every two matches they would actually set a new Premier League record for drawn matches in a season.
Not much has changed on that front since Mikel Arteta took charge in late December. Arsenal drew with Bournemouth in his first match in charge and travel north for Sunday’s fixture on the back of consecutive league draws against Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Chelsea. While there have been signs of a shift in playing style, the end result has been the same: too many draws.
No one would really blame Arteta for treating the remainder of this season as an opportunity to test the level of some of the club’s younger players and take time to instil elements of his preferred approach. If a long-term view is being taken, results from here don’t really matter a great deal. Arsenal might even be better off without the additional resource pull of European competition next season.
The club’s dealings in this month’s transfer window seem to indicate that they still have immediate results in mind. They are, of course, still alive in both the FA Cup, following a 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Monday, and the Europa League. The relatively experienced duo of central defender Pablo Mari (from Flamengo) and right-back Cedric Soares (from Southampton) have come in on loan to plug a couple of holes in the squad.
Burnley are the sort of well-structured defensive side that one would have expected to have achieved good results against modern Arsenal but that hasn’t been the case at all. Arsenal have won 10 in a row against them in the league, including a 2-1 win at the Emirates way back in August.
There is, though, a solid chance of that run coming to an end on Sunday. Burnley look a little undervalued by the bookmakers and are worth backing to take all three points.
Our Preview’s Burnley vs Arsenal Betting Tips’ Verdict
- Back Burnley to win @ 29/10 with Betfair.