Arsenal’s Predicted Squad to Face Burnley

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Arsenal is the hottest EPL team of 2015 and it really is a question of who will stop them, if anyone. Call me biased, but my bet is on no one.

The Gunners haven’t lost since Frebruary, and better yet, they haven’t even looked like losing since February. The latest in a string of seven consecutive wins was Liverpool, who they beat with the healthiest of margins, 4-1, despite Liverpool looking like one of the strongest sides in English Football lately as well.

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And now the “who will stop Arsenal” mantle falls to Burnley, who are second from bottom and right in the heat of the relegation battle. But don’t let that fool you, the relegation battle can be just as fierce as the battle for the top four. Teams will pull out all the stops to avoid dropping down into the Championship and risk several years and potentially more of not-top-tier football. Top to bottom, English football is by far the most competitive and it’s all-too-common for teams to go one and done in the EPL. Burnley is in risk of continuing that trend.

But they’ve been solid of late, drawing against Tottenham and beating Manchester City back on March 14th. Those are two top-tier teams (ignoring late form) and it’s not easy to take many points from them.

Burnley can move into third from the bottom and bypass QPR with even a tie against Arsenal, so that will be their goal. Unfortunately for them they’ll have trouble doing so, as Arsenal simply look unbeatable.

Arsenal is a near-full health squad (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain excluded) and I reckon they’ll be trying to get some of their newly-back-to-health players some fitness against a team they hope to put away early. Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and even the one-and-done specialist Abou Diaby are all fit and happy for the Burnley affair.

Now is the time where Arsene Wenger’s job gets really tough, as the summer transfer window approaches and all the returnees are going to be gauging how much playing time they’ll actually be getting with the new-look Arsenal. Arsene Wenger has already unnecessarily pointed out that Jack Wilshere will not be sold (via ESPNFC), but Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby are all facing uphill battles to find spots in a youthful, apparently unbeatable Arsenal and it’ll take a seriously impressive display to convince the boss they deserve anything more than the occasional rotation start, which in and of itself would be hard to come by.

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I don’t expect any of the newly-fit boys to start the game, because Arsene Wenger rarely does that, but if any were to, I’d want to see Jack Wilshere given the chance. He is ready to prove himself, he still has the youth to fit into a starting Arsenal squad and the sooner we can get his game confidence going the sooner we can reap the benefits of the skill set we know he has.

Mathieu Debuchy is the other player I could potentially see getting a start, but it probably won’t happen. Wenger bought Debuchy this summer and no one doubts his world-class defensive qualities. It’s just become darn-near impossible to sit the young Hector Bellerin, who has now tallied two goals and loses no defensive abilities from his offensive production. But don’t be surprised to see Debuchy come on late when Arsenal need to protect a lead.

I don’t foresee Abou Diaby coming on either, not ahead of Jack Wilshere at least. I think Wenger is almost through with his French midfielder and unless he gets absolutely desperate, Diaby should find playing time hard to come by, which may be best for him given his track history with injuries.

And so, without further ado, here are the predicted Arsenal men to start the match against Burnley. It’s winding down to the end of the season, and both teams need the win.

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