Good morning, and welcome to the weekend!

It’s a quick one today because once again I’ve been up very late running maintenance on the site to try and keep up with the number of people voting for their favourite posts over on Arseblog News. Who knew that having over 7m votes-worth of data would inevitably lead to problems at some point down the line? Certainly not me, who totally didn’t think that I should really, really do something about it before it became a significant problem and caused the site to fall over.

Oh wait, no, I DID think that but STILL failed to do anything about it before it turned into a significant problem and caused the site to fall over. Oops. How about I ask very nicely that people just vote for one post? Is that something people might consider…? Thanks.

Per the title of today’s blog, at around lunchtime today, an angry man whose head looks like an enflamed, ginger scrotum will shout at a bunch of lads to get them run faster, kick harder, and be all elbowey and snide, just because they’re playing Arsenal and the evidence shows playing that way can be mighty effective against us.

As much as we may want to forget, in the reverse fixture at the Emirates back in December, Burnley came away with a one-nil win in a game that was not at all enjoyable from our point of view. Xhaka got an idiotic red card, Auba broke his scoring drought – only at the wrong end. It’s fair to say it was not a good day for us, and writing in the Guardian at the time, Nick Ames said:

Arsenal have racked up a varied collection of new lows in recent years but this woeful defeat to Burnley, along with the inexcusable idiocy that precipitated it, surely caps the lot

…just in case you’d forgotten quite how bad it was.

We’d just lost the derby to that lot in the previous fixture, and it took two more poor results, aginst Southampton and then Everton, before we had the absolute must-win against Chelsea, which we duly did win, that eventually stopped the rot and marked something of a turning point. After the nadir that was Burnley, and those further two games, however, we went on a seven-game unbeaten streak in the league, and here’s hoping that this time around we can take our recent good form into the game AND maintain our consistency afterwards.

Not that Mikel Arteta’s taking anything for granted, and indeed has been talking up The Clarets in his pre-match presser:

It’s a really tough match. I think it’s remarkable what the club, Sean [Dyche] and the coaching staff have done in recent years with the resources that they have, the style of play they have implemented and how well they execute it and how efficient they are.

Is there a bit more to those comments than what they appear to be at face value? Is he perhaps saying in a backhanded kind of way that Sean Dyche is a bawbag-heided cunt trumpet, who likes his teams to play anti-football because his players are a bit shit? I like to think so. Because he definitely, absolutely is, and he really, really does. Being the nice chap that he is though, Arteta’s probably being genuine, more’s the pity.

In team news, it looks like Emile Smith-Rowe might be available, his withdrawal against Leiester being taken mainly as a precaution with his fitness to be assessed before the game. Alex Runarsson is back in full training and is available.

That’s your lot for today. I think we’ll have a liveblog for you a bit later, so join us for that if you can. You can find the match report and all the reaction after the game over on Arseblog News.

COME YOU GOONERS!

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