Turf Moor

A little over a year ago, our Carling Cup team played Burnley at Turf Moor. Amongst the highlights of their season, they dumped us out of the competition by a scoreline of 2-0 with Nicklas Bendtner guilty of missing a number of chances against their “beast” goalkeeper Brian Jensen.

A few months later, we were gifted another match against them in the FA Cup. We beat them comfortably at the Emirates, but they would go on to comparatively bigger things. Achieving promotion through the playoffs, they have sustained an up and down season where survival solely depends on home form and six pointers against teams fighting relegation.

Away this year, they have played eight and lost seven. At home, they have played eight and won five. One of those victories was against Manchester United. They only lost to Jekyll and Hyde side Wigan.

They often seem to score goals of extreme class, even though they’re usually dominated by most clubs. They do try to play football on the ground, and they have their share of unheralded players (Wade Elliott being one of them).

On short rest, all of the above may give you an indication that today’s fixture may indeed be a difficult one. Make no mistake, there will be a battle at Turf Moor.

But there are two general truths behind this fixture as well.

First of which is that Burnley themselves recognize the uphill battle they face when playing a team like Arsenal. Matches away are generally regarded as fixtures that will result in zero points. At home, they can hope for a draw while playing for a shock result. These kinds of results happen very rarely. Look at Wolves yesterday against Manchester United. Mick McCarthy is being torn open for fielding a reserve side, but he’s well aware of the primary objective, survival. Whether Owen Coyle will feel the same way tomorrow is not for me to say. He’ll try to go for the three points, but he’s not counting on them. He’s trying to keep Burnley in the Premier League. He needs to achieve consistency at home and against the relegation zone teams. We are trying to win the league, and that results in a different sort of expectation, which leads to the second truth.

“If you want to win the league, you must go there and win. That’s what it is about in the Premier League.” – Arsene Wenger

That, my friends, is the bottom line.

Winning the Premier League is about consistency. And consistency really means beating all the teams you should be expected to beat.

With Andrey Arshavin’s rocket shot, our title hopes have been vigorously resuscitated. If we drop points, our confidence will dip once again and we will dither some more.

The visit to Turf Moor will be an important marker as to whether or not our title raid is for real.


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