Fans and pundits alike are far from alone in their admiration and surprise for “the most unexpected” start to the 2017-18 Premier League season put forth by Burnley, who sit a lofty seventh in the PL table ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Arsenal (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET, on CNBC and NBCSports.com).
In fact, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been quite complimentary of the Clarets this week, admitting they’re the most impressive side he’s seen thus far — with relation to expectations, of course.
Wenger has also spoken of the vast difference between last week’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, which his side won 2-0, and the challenge a side like Burnley will pose on Sunday. In short, the only thing the two games are likely to have in common is the Gunners’ desperate need for three points — quotes from ESPN FC:
“With the points they have? They are the most unexpected team to be there with 22 points. You cannot deny that, of course.
“We have a few [selection] uncertainties but we will have to check that ahead of the game.”
“Both teams, every time they won the ball, went forward so the intensity was higher. Every game gives you a different problem to sort out for you to find a strategic solution to be efficient.
“Against Burnley, that will be different. They are a team who maybe play a bit deeper than Tottenham because they have a strong defensive efficiency.
“You have to keep your nerve, even if you have the ball, to be calm and accurate. You have to be defensively strong as well because they are very efficient going forward.”
Both sides enters Sunday on 22 points, just four back of third-place Chelsea and two back of fourth-place Tottenham. A win for either side would send them fourth in the league table. Yes, Burnley are playing for a top-four place 13 weeks into the season.