Arsenal's results have been magnificent for quite a while now and they have managed to win their last seven league games in a row. They have been very convincing in their four home wins in that run, but they have had to fight tooth and nail to win the three away games. While Crystal Palace, QPR and Newcastle might not be world beaters they all gave Arsenal a very good game and Burnley will be no different.
In their last two home games Burnley drew 0-0 with Spurs and beat City 1-0 and both of those teams are among the better teams in the Premier League. Burnley deserved the four points they got from those two games and they will give Arsenal an equally tough test. I have no doubt that they will have the same pragmatic approach to the game and their first priority will be to stop Arsenal playing their own game and stop them scoring too.
Burnley's biggest problem has been their lack of goals in recent games in particular and that goal against City was their only goal in their last five games. That win was also their only win in their last 10 games and relegation is staring them right in the face. If they are going to stay up they will have a much better chance of getting points in their last six games than they do against Arsenal, but that won't stop them trying.
Arsenal have being scoring goals and creating chances freely and Burnley will have to be at their very best to keep them out. Arsenal have made a habit of scoring late goals this season yet again and they will be looking to open Burnley up from first minute to last. While Burnley managed to shut City and Spurs out they will have to do an awful lot better to stop Arsenal.
With Olivier Giroud leading the attack Arsenal have the in form striker in the league and he has a better goals per minute ratio than any other striker this season. When he was injured earlier in the season Arsenal struggled for results, but they were missing other important players at that time too. It's no coincidence that results and performances have improved so much with almost all of the first team squad available again.
Can you imagine how Chelsea would have coped through the winter with players like Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry and maybe even Eden Hazard all injured at the same time. Their supposedly very strong squad would have struggled in my opinion and I doubt if they would be in the position they are now. The Arsenal squad looks very strong to me right now and I think a couple of quality additions in the summer should see them put in a genuine challenge for the league next season.
Of course they're not quite out of it this season, but the seven point buffer Chelsea have should see them home and they have a game in hand as an added advantage too. Arsenal will play the day before Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs and they have a chance to put some pressure on all three of them. I expect Chelsea to win away to QPR, but failure to do so could see them looking over their shoulder if Arsenal have already beaten Burnley.
Chelsea's next two games after the QPR game are at home to United and then away to Arsenal and that's where they could falter if they are going to do so. As I said I can't see them blowing the lead they have, but I would love to see them sweat their way to the title rather than do it with ease. They have a couple of injury problems at the moment and they have just about scraped wins in their last two games.
Of course Arsenal will have to beat Burnley to put that pressure on those three clubs and that's certainly not a foregone conclusion. The players have to give their all and make sure their minds aren't on their trip to Wembley next week. Even though Arsenal have been so much better for the most part this season they have still put in a few performances where it looked like the players weren't up for it on the day. If they are anywhere off the pace Burnley will put them under enough pressure to make the game a real tough slog.
From a team perspective I would expect to see more or less the same team which beat Liverpool so impressively last week. There are plenty of options for Arsene Wenger at the moment with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the only first team player not to be considered for this game while Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny are both slight doubts. If Koscielny is a doubt at all I would expect Gabriel Paulista to play instead as it would be crazy to risk him knowing he can get a further week's rest next week on semi final day.
Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby all made their comebacks from injury in the under 21 team during the week and apparently Mathieu Debuchey is ready to play too. I'm not even sure if there's room on the bench for all of them, but the competition for places is certainly very fierce right now. Most of the players who don't play against Burnley will probably play against Reading next week and it will be great to see them back in action.
For now though the three points are what's important and I think Arsenal will have more than enough to take them. Burnley won't make it easy for them, but Arsenal's superior firepower and creativity will hopefully be the deciding factors in the game. Giroud has scored in the last six league games and he's the first Arsenal player to do so in seven years and I think he might just make it seven games in a row. As long as they get the three points though it doesn't really matter who scores the goals.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.