Premier League

Arsenal-Burnley Preview

Arsenal's road to a Champions League berth seems best laid through the Europa League, but they have to at least try to act like they care about their Premier League season finale.

The Gunners look to avoid ending the 2018-19 top-flight campaign on a five-match winless run Sunday against Burnley at Turf Moor.

In what should make for fantastic football theatre, Arsenal will face rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final on May 29. The winner of that contest are headed to the Champions League, and it would seem the Gunners might have an edge based on the way they've played throughout that tournament.

That's because they obviously didn't seem to harbor much interest in gaining entry to the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League. Arsenal (20-7-10) are 0-1-3 in their last four league games and sit fifth in the table.

A victory Sunday and a fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur loss would put the sides level on 70 points, but Spurs currently are eight up on Arsenal in terms of goal differential.

The Gunners last went five consecutive Premier League games without a victory during the 2008-09 season.

"We had two possibilities (to qualify for the Champions League), one is the Premier League and we lost, and the second is the Europa League," manager Unai Emery told Arsenal's official website. "(The Europa League is) a good competition to get into the Champions League. Our objective is clear: to go the Champions League."

Whilst there is still time before Arsenal's title date with Chelsea, it will be interesting to see who Emery features Sunday. It might seem unlikely he will employ both strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the starting XI, which he did last week in a 1-1 league draw versus Brighton & Hove Albion and for Thursday's 4-2 second-leg win over Valencia in the Europa.

That pair has combined for 48 goals over all competitions this season. Aubameyang recorded a brace and Lacazette posted an assist in a 3-1 victory over Burnley at the Emirates on Dec. 22.

The Clarets (11-7-19) enter the final day of the league season 15th in the table, with the possibility of finishing 14th. Though it's not where the club hoped to be sitting when the season started, it will suffice considering they were flirting with relegation heading into the new year after being overextended from their time in the Europa League.

However, Burnley will look to avoid ending the campaign with a third straight loss after being blanked by Manchester City and Everton in the last two games.

"The lads have been fantastic overall," defender Ben Mee told Burnley's official website. "We always do things right and we want to do that all the way to the end of the season.

"It's been a big effort. A massive effort from everyone at the club from the position we found ourselves in. It's up to us now to see out the season strong."

Burnley's Ashley Barnes scored one of his team-leading 11 goals against Arsenal in the reverse fixture.

Updated May 10, 2019

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