Preview by Numbers: Arsenal v. Burnley, FA Cup Fourth Round

Emirates Stadium, London
Saturday, January 30
10:00 a.m. EST, 15:00 GMT
  • Match Officials
    • Referee: Roger East
    • Assistants: Simon Bennett and Marc Perry
    • 4th Official: Frederick Graham
  • All-Time in All Competitions: 46 Arsenal wins, 33 Burnley wins, 21 draws
  • All-Time in FA Cup: 5 Arsenal wins, 2 Burnley wins
  • Arsenal's Path Here
    • Third Round: Beat Sunderland, 3-1
  • Burnley's Path Here
    • Third Round: Beat Middlesbrough, 2-1
  • Arsenal's Premier League Form: L-W-W-D-D-L
  • Burnley's Championship Form: L-W-D-W-W-W
You can see on Per's face that he knows what he's done
So, we still can't get over the Chelsea voodoo and that's a shame. Say what you want about Diego Costa's antics, but Per Mertesacker cannot go into that lunge in that manner. He's an experienced professional and he should have known better. That's all I have to say about last week's debacle.

No point in harping on the league race now, either, as we've got ourselves a cup tie this weekend against Burnley, who are third in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League last season. They're in form at the moment, but haven't won away from home this year against anyone higher than 10th place Brentford, with the exception of their third round FA Cup win over second place Middlesbrough.

In this round last season, both Chelsea and Manchester City were humbled by lower level competition. Arsenal squeaked out a 3-2 win at Brighton in that round, en route to their second straight title. There are no easy matches in England, especially not when Joey Barton is around.

While fixture congestion could create a problem for a title challenge come March and April, a loss here would make it four without a win for Arsenal across all competitions and a draw would necessitate a replay at Turf Moor and a long look in the mirror.

So, let's get in and out of there with a win and call it a day, shall we?

Arsenal Squad News

Out: Cazorla (knee,) Wilshere (ankle,) Welbeck (match fitness)
Suspended: Mertesacker (one match, denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity)

Coq's back!
Cup ties make squad predictions very difficult, but in this situation, Arsenal have some long-term injured players coming back into the fold. With two weeks of full training complete for both Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky, both are available for selection, as per Arsene Wenger's Thursday press conference. Danny Welbeck, however, is still short of fitness.

That leaves Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere as the only long-term absentees. Of course, Per Mertesacker will miss out as he serves the one match ban for his tactical red card last weekend.

So, how much rotation is there going to be? Will there be a start for David Ospina? How about Alex Iwobi? Kieran Gibbs? How's Olivier Giroud's ankle? I don't have any answers for these questions, so predicting a starting XI would be pure guesswork and I don't like dabbling in guesswork.

Burnley Squad News

Out: Gilks (elbow,) Jutkiewicz (knee,) Barnes (knee)

"I was a no-brainer," Joey Barton said about how stupid
other teams were to not sign him.
With backup goalkeeper Matt Gilks out injured, Burnley this week signed veteran keeper Paul Robinson to a short-term deal to back up Tom Heaton, their usual number one. You may remember Robinson from all of the goals he has conceded to Arsenal, in that no goalkeeper has conceded more goals in history against a single club than Robinson has against Arsenal.

You may also remember one of their midfielders, a certain Mr. Joey Barton. The Twitter philosopher spent three of the last four seasons with Queens Park Rangers, with a year on loan at Marseille thrown in for good measure. This summer, there had been rumors that Barton was going to sign with West Ham, but the Hammers nixed the deal after fans protested.

Forwards Lukas Jutkiewicz and Ashley Barnes, both with knee injuries, are Burnley's only other injuries. As such, I would expect Burnley's XI to remain unchanged from the side that has been on their winning run.

Current Form

Burnley scored twice from the penalty spot against Derby
in their last league match.
Arsenal are winless in their last three matches, all in the Premier League. The last time they went winless in three across all competitions was back in November, when they lost to Bayern Munich, drew Tottenham, and lost to West Brom. They picked up a win against Dinamo Zagreb in the middle, which helped, because they then drew Norwich in the league the following weekend. As for their league form, it's three without a win for the Gunners for the first time since, well, that same stretch of league games against Spurs, West Brom, and Norwich.

The last time Arsenal went four matches without a win, it was April of 2014 as they blew their league lead. That string started with the 6-0 loss to Chelsea, before draws with Swansea and City, a 3-0 loss at Everton, and the FA Cup semifinal against Wigan which required penalties to win. So technically, that was five without a win (as shootouts count as draws,) before a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Burnley are on a run of good form in the Championship, having won four in a row across all competitions. That run started with their third round cup victory over Boro, 2-1 at Riverside Stadium. Three days later, they trounced MK Dons 5-0, racking up four before Dons had a defender sent off on 75 minutes. Four days after that, they beat Brentford 3-1 on a Friday night, then didn't play again until the following Monday, when they smashed Derby County 4-1 at Turf Moor.

Match Facts

Aaron Ramsey gives Arsenal a 1-0 lead at Turf Moor last April.
Arsenal and Burnley met twice last season in Premier League play, with Arsenal winning both matches. Last October at the Emirates, Alexis Sanchez scored twice and Calum Chambers tallied his first as a Gunner as Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners; still, it took 70 minutes for Arsenal to finally get the breakthrough. At Turf Moor in April, Aaron Ramsey scored after a dozen minutes and Arsenal held on to win 1-0.

Arsenal have met the Clarets on seven previous occasions in the FA Cup; Burnley won twice in the 19th century, while Arsenal have won the last five meetings. The Clarets came away with huge first round wins against Arsenal back in 1896 (6-1) and 1898 (3-1,) but Arsenal returned the favor in 1937, with a 7-1 win of their own. Burnley have not scored against Arsenal in the FA Cup since then, with the Gunners winning 2-0 in 1950, 1953, and 2008, as well as 3-0 in 2009. The four Arsenal goalscorers from those most recent two matches make for fun reading: Eduardo had two of the five goals; the other three came courtesy of Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, and Emmanuel Eboue.

This is the 70th time Arsenal have progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup; they have faltered at this stage 15 times and have advanced 54 previous times. Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have lost in the fourth round on four occasions: to Leeds in 1997, to Leicester in 2000, to Bolton in 2006, and to Stoke City in 2010. Only the loss to Leeds, in Wenger's very first season, came at home. Arsenal have only lost at home in this round on three occasions, total.

The Referee

Hey, it's the ref who looks like Mark Strong!
The referee is Wiltshire-based Roger East. Arsenal have not had East very much in his career, although the only Gunners match he has worked this year was only a month ago. That was the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on December 28. The only other Arsenal match he's ever worked was the 2-2 draw with Hull City last season, in which Danny Welbeck scored in injury time to earn Arsenal a point.

Last season, East took charge of two Burnley matches, including a 1-1 draw with Spurs in the third round of the FA Cup (Burnley lost the replay at White Hart Lane) and a 2-0 loss to Southampton at St. Mary's in March. This will be his first Burnley match this season.

Around the Fourth Round
  • Friday (night): Derby County v. Manchester United; Pride Park Stadium, Derby
  • Saturday (early): Colchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur; Colchester Community Stadium, Colchester
  • Saturday: Aston Villa v. Manchester City; Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Saturday: Bolton Wanderers v. Leeds United; Macron Stadium, Bolton
  • Saturday: Bury v. Hull City; Gigg Lane, Bury
  • Saturday: Crystal Palace v. Stoke City; Selhurst Park, London
  • Saturday: Nottingham Forest v. Watford; City Ground, West Bridgford
  • Saturday: Oxford United v. Blackburn Rovers; Kassam Stadium, Oxford
  • Saturday: Portsmouth v. Bournemouth; Fratton Park, Portsmouth
  • Saturday: Reading v. Walsall; Madejski Stadium, Reading
  • Saturday: Shrewsbury Town v. Sheffield Wednesday; Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury
  • Saturday: West Bromwich Albion v. Peterborough United; The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Saturday (late): Liverpool v. West Ham United; Anfield, Liverpool
  • Sunday (early): Carlisle United v. Everton; Brunton Park, Carlisle
  • Sunday (late): Milton Keynes Dons v. Chelsea;, Milton Keynes
John Painting is a contributing writer to the Modern Gooner and low-power television station. You can follow him on Twitter @zorrocat for broadcast schedules.