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I will hold my hand up and say that I had expected Burnley to be higher up the table this season after romping away with the Championship last term. Only goal difference keeps them off the bottom of the table. With four points from their first 11 league games this season, it will take a minor miracle for them to come anywhere near my — or several other ‘holics’ — Predictathon placings. However, I want no thaumaturgy worked until after they have visited the Emirates on Saturday.

Yet, the Clarets may see a glimmer of divine intervention in that we have stuttered in our home performances against them of late. They secured a draw on their previous visit in January 2022 and beat us the time before that, keeping clean sheets in both games. Our last home win was a 2-1 in August 2019. Lacazette and Aubameyang scored to extend a run of unbeaten league games against them that stretched back to 1974.

Overall, we have won 49% of 113 games against them in all competitions to their 30%. Their wins include the first game between the two clubs; we were thrashed 6-1 at Turf Moor in an FA Cup tie in 1896. It was the only competitive game our keeper that day, Bert Russell, played for the club. Burnley would be beaten 7-1 by Stoke in the next round.

The following season saw the first league game between the two sides, which we lost 5-0, and another FA Cup tie, lost 3-1. A draw in the home league game at the Manor Ground, Plumstead followed. At least the results were moving in the right direction.

We would not suffer another sustained run of defeats until the end of the 1950s turned into the 1960s. Harry Potts’s team, in which Jimmy Adamson and Jimmy McElroy were far from the only stars, beat us in seven of nine league games between September 1958 and May 1963. During that time, they won the league in 1959-60, were runners-up in 1961-62 to Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich and got to an FA Cup final.

It subsequently all went pear-shaped. By the mid-1980s, Burnley had sunk to the old Fourth Division. They avoided relegation to the Football Conference in 1986-87 by the skin of their teeth, an unlikely win against promotion-chasing Leyton Orient on the last day of the season lifting them off bottom place.

The uneven and, at times, uneasy climb back to the Premiership was completed by 2009-10, but they went straight back down to the Championship. Then came the Dyche years. 

Moving on.

The Opposition

Vincent Kompany took over after Burnley’s still newish US owners, ALK Capital, gave Dyche the tin tak in April 2022. The Belgian inherited a team newly relegated to the Championship and brought them straight back up, securing promotion with a Championship record seven games to go.

He had replaced many of Dyche’s squad of battle-hardened heavies with 16 mostly young, foreign, and cheap players capable of attacking possession football. You can take the man out of Pep’s Man City and all that. 

Preparing for the team’s return to the Premiership, he did even more of the same, shedding 11 more players but spending a further 111 million euros on acquiring 20 new ones — almost half of them under 23. 

Yet he did not spend extravagantly; Zeki Amdouni, the 22-year-old Swiss international striker, was his most expensive buy at 18.6 million euros. Other acquisitions included England U21 goalkeeper James Trafford (17.3 million euros), the promising young midfielder from Villa, Aaron Ramsey (16.5 million euros), a young centre-back from Bayern Munich, Jordan Beyer (15 million euros), and Sander Berge (13.9 million euros), a DM once talked about as a possible Arteta acquisition.

Kompany’s company has yet to jell. One of the Belgian’s difficulties is that bringing in young players and getting them up to Premiership standards is challenging, doubly so on the scale he is attempting. The process takes time, always in short supply in the Premiership. Kompany has a long-term contract, and the owners have bought into ‘the project’, whose goal this season is Premiership survival. Nonetheless, he is the first Premiership manager to lose the opening six home games of a season. The threat of relegation always puts the best-laid plans in jeopardy.

Kompany’s on-field problems are at both ends of the pitch — and in the bit in between. Injuries and inconsistent selections have impeded playing a settled defence. Compounded by mistakes of inexperience, ruthlessly punished, the defence is the second leakiest in the league. The midfield, crucial to the possession football Kompany wants to play, has not proved able to control games — and may not have the quality to do so in the top flight. 

Up front, his tyros are creating chances but not scoring. Top summer buy Amdouni has just one goal but is still joint second-highest goal scorer, behind Lyle Foster, who hit three in seven starts but is now out dealing with mental illness. Foster’s cover, the veteran Burnley-born and raised Jay Rodríguez, who has scored 45 Premier League goals and around 150 senior goals in his career, has not gotten off the mark this season.

Even when Kompany’s team put together spells of good play, which they do, they cannot maintain them for 90 minutes or avoid making mistakes. There is a reason that Arteta hammers on about the need for individual and team consistency of excellence.

A word of warning: Burnley’s form is better away from Turf Moor. All four of its points have come on the road, as have half their goals; they concede only one away for every two they let in at home. Last season, they started slowly, too, winning only five of their first 13 games before roaring off to take the title. They only lost one of those, but it is a sign that, at some point, Kompany will get his new arrivals up to speed. Just not yet, please.

The Arsenal

With another damn interlull to follow the Burnley game and only one win in the past three league games — no wins, no points, no goals, November, to paraphrase Robert Hood — Arteta will likely field his strongest available team, with the emphasis on available. 

We know that Partey, Jesus, ESR and Timber are long-term absentees. Reading between the lines, Tomiyasu will also be out. Ødegaard and Saka are rated 50/50 to be fit. So is Nketiah, although his injury was the excuse for leaving him out of the England squad. If they fail late fitness tests, Jorginho and two out of Trossard, Vieira and Nelson will replace them. I’d sit Saka out regardless. There is no need to risk him for this game, but Arteta will likely disagree. If Ødegaard can play, it may well be off the bench.

Thus, I will hazard a starting line-up similar to the one that smothered Sevilla midweek:


White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko

Jorginho, Rice, Havertz

Saka, Trossard, Martinelli

Given the outburst at the officiating at SJP a week ago and the subsequent pronouncement of the Key Incompetents Panel, I will be mildly surprised if we are still playing with 11 at the end of the game and Arteta has not been spirited off to that gulag where prisoners are tortured by being forced to listen to an endless tape loop of Gary Neville and other northern ex-pro pundits. Michael Oliver, the ref who booked Martinelli twice in one passage of play against Wolves, will have the whistle. Craig Pawson will be the fourth official. Michael Salisbury will be the VAR, assisted by Ian Hussin. No pressure, lads.

The ‘holics pound

I continue to eschew a survey of the bookmakers’ odds given the players’ betting scandals (other moral objections are available; see Bath previously). Yet, it is a game in which at least a 3-0 home win seems a reasonable aspiration. Burnley has not kept a clean sheet in its last 16 Premier League games, and Vincent Company said this week that he is committed to sticking with the way he wants his team to play. 

Some goals are due in this fixture; the last five games between the two clubs have offered up just four. 

Enjoy the game, ‘holics, near and far, and as the match is not being televised in the UK, for those there, may your streams never freeze.

31 Drinks to “Kompany’s Clarets Come Calling”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Cheers, Ned. An enjoyable and well researched preview, once again. Burnley now have a modicum of respectability in a comparative sense but only because I am comparing their current iteration to the one managed by the odious Dyche. They could probably use Mee and Tarkowski to anchor their defense but it will be interesting to see their young squad. A game for Vieira and Nelson to shine, if there ever was one. Three points is a must, and we should get it with any luck and application.

  2. 2
    21st century gooner says:

    I have more respect for Burnley now they are no longer managed by the gravel muncher but VK’s progressive style of play ought to make it easier for us to break them down. Sheffield United came to the emirates with the intention of merely keeping the score down and they failed despite staying in the game for 30 minutes. Last year’s UEL winners didn’t even muster a shot until the 96th minute. If we score in the opening 20’ the goals could flow in this one. Very much Expecting another relatively stress free afternoon. Looking forward to it

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    I love Ned’s previews . I always learn a huge amount , get enthused for the match and am amused into the bargain . I remember the very good Burnley sides of the early 60s. They were the main challengers to the Spuds when they last had a really good team and produced fine footballers in the style of that era . Ray Pointer was a fine striker , Brian Miller a fine left-half but the creative heart of the side was Mcilroy who was a top player . They had a fine left winger as almost everyone did . Theirs was Brian Pilkington . Ask me who played for them since and I can scarcely remember
    This will start as a tough game and much will depend on when ( if) we are able to score . We played very well against Sevilla but Burnley haven’t got a game in their legs from midweek .
    I think the score might end up similar to midweek . We don’t have much to come from the bench and Trossard blows a bit hot and cold . It would be a good day for Havertz to show his effective attacking side but Martinelli was our ace card on Wednesday and I fancy him to score
    I won’t be at the game . I shall be in Kent showing family a church with glass by Chagall but my heart will be in North London .COYG !

  4. 4
    Bathgooner says:

    An informative and entertaining preview with interesting background to this new iteration of Burnley FC. I too expected more from Kompany’s team given their storming to the Championship title last season. It seems that the leap from the Championship to the Premiership has proved too great for this multiply altered team still trying to play expansive football.

    Hopefully the gestation period for its transformation to the team that Kompany envisaged will take somewhat longer than tomorrow and hopefully he hasn’t decided to go for their traditional Dychesque approach of massed defensive ranks primed to stifle talent through GBH. As you observed, but no other football blog on the planet has ever done before, there must be no thaumaturgy worked on Burnley.

    Although there are rumours that Nketiah trained today and will be available, I hope that MA8 has taken your advice and gives Trossard an opportunity to build on his performance against Sevilla.


  5. 5
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Informative and rigorous preview as ever, NBN! Thank you!

    Hopefully Kompany’s team will continue to play football in this match and it would be an exciting enough spectacle, though most if not all of the scoring coming from the home team.

    I too would play Trossard through the middle. Always comes up with a few influential moments. Havertz hopefully continues his recent slow emergence into someone resembling the player Arteta thought he is getting.

    Come on Arsenal!

  6. 6
  7. 7
    bt8 says:

    A “leading US credit rating agency” has lowered the financial strength rating of the company that is taking over Everton from excellent to fair. Oh well.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the kind words above, all.

  9. 9
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks Ned for the good stuff as usual.
    I can’t see Burnley doing anything other than parking the bus so, as has been noted, I believe an early goal is imperative to avoid a squeaky 1-0. Three points is an absolute must.

  10. 10
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Ned. Let’s hope Harry Potter’s not back to cast a spell in favour of a Burnley. (What do you mean I misread a name in the article?).
    I’m confident we should beat Burnley, although I am wary of VAR’s variability.

  11. 11
    Ollie says:

    Not sure how it appears for other, but in mine, Ned’s 8 is drinking other people’s tipples, graphically.

  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    That confused me so much my grammar went out of the window, a mix of ‘appear for others’ and then switching the next bit as if I’d written what I had in mind initially ‘in other browsers’.

  13. 13
    Bathgooner says:

    I’ve moved this link and Ned’s observation thereon in the hope that it won’t obscure drinks other than some contributions I shall add that need not be read.

    Ned: bt8@7: Here is a tale about 777 partners in the airline industry, which I don’t think will leave any Evertonian feeling very reassured about their prospective new owners.

    777 Partners’ Suspicious Airline Investments (Flair & Bonza)

  14. 14
    Bathgooner says:


  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    I am sure. that others with more IT expertise than I have could have corrected this aberration more elegantly but it worked!

    A prize of the tipple of choice goes to the person who first guesses correctly the partially obscured message (not difficult).

  16. 16
    Ollie says:

    It worked indeed, cheers baff!

  17. 17
    Ollie says:

    Er. Clarets will be goners? ;-D

  18. 18
    Bathgooner says:

    Good effort Ollie, but no cigar!

  19. 19
    Trev says:

    Excellent as ever, Ned, and all analysed with what I assume is an accountant’s eye (?)

    The injuries are becoming, or have become, a problem. I would start with a weakened but young and hungry side, with as much crocked experience on the bench as can play if required. We are playing, as you say, a young and inexperienced side, so that should hopefully suffice. This is, of course, bound to be completely wrong as it is not Mikel’s way. Can’t blame him for that at all as we are in a run of games expected / hoped to yield maximum points and he won’t want to be surrendering any of them unnecessarily.

    I hope we trounce them ‘cos they’ve wrecked my Predictathon too !

  20. 20
    North Bank Ned says:

    Cheers, Trev. I am not an accountant. I feel the next lines should be, I am a gorilla. But that wouldn’t be true either.

    Apologies, all, if my link about 777 messed up any browsers. I am not an IT person, either.

    Team looks to be as predicted. Some yoofs on the bench, but no MØ8.

  21. 21
    bt8 says:

    Brave Trossard and kudos to Arsenal for finding a way through them

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Let them equalize but back in front!

  23. 23
    OsakaMatt says:

    3 points is good, Vieira can’t complain.
    Spuds amusingly losing in the last minute.
    Hope Jorginho is ok

  24. 24
    North Bank Ned says:

    A prosaic win but three points, regardless, so job done.

  25. 25
    Ollie says:

    I’ll take it. Now for another dread-ed(-ful?) interlull

  26. 26
    Bathgooner says:

    I haven’t seen anything of the game apart from short clips of the goals and the red card. Saka to Trossard seems like a reliable plan and the latter showed his courage on Armistice Day. Lovely goals by Willy and Zinny. Can’t complain about the card. Naive challenge by Vieira. Job done without 4 first choice players. It sounds like Burnley reverted to type – I suspect it’s in the water – and we’ve got a few knocks. At least we have the interlull to allow the physios, arnica and Mother Nature to heal our walking wounded.

  27. 27
    Bathgooner says:

    Arteta on top form post match:


  28. 28
    bt8 says:

    Compare these two actual BBC headlines:

    “Arsenal go second with victory over Burnley”
    “Solanke double for Bournemouth sinks injury-hit Newcastle”

    Now imagine for a second the BBC had instead decided to write them like this:
    “Injury-hit Arsenal go second with victory over Burnley”
    “Solanke double for Bournemouth sinks Newcastle”

    Or even like this:
    “Arsenal go second with victory over Burnley”
    “Solanke double for Bournemouth sinks Newcastle”

    Too much fairness to ask for you say?

  29. 29
    bt8 says:

    Arteta reveals himself as an aspiring young numerologist as reported on the dot.con :

    “The manager, who himself scored our 500th goal at the Emirates back in 2014, also praised Leandro Trossard’s courage in netting the opening goal – the 1,000th we’ve netted at the stadium.

    “ “It was an important one, and it was a really brave one because he put his body on the line to score it. He’s going to be next to that beautiful number so well done to him.” “

  30. 30
    Trev says:

    Well done Bournemouth, by the way.

    Just shove it, Eddie Nice-Guy Howe and your black and white Stoke. Where was VAR when you needed it this week ?

  31. 31
    scruzgooner says: