Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has defended Burnley’s brand of football and insisted Sean Dyche is clever and intelligent to get his team to produce a certain style that brings success.
Gunners defender David Luiz can expect a frosty reception at Turf Moor on Sunday after criticising the Clarets in April – when he was at Chelsea – for playing “anti-football” following a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Dyche laughed off the claims at the time and received support for his style from an unlikely source before the latest Premier League meeting between Burnley and Arsenal.
Arteta, a disciple of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, said: “For me, it is very clever and intelligent and well-guided what they do. That is not anti-football. Football has to be expressed in different ways.
“They build everything surrounding their strengths and they pick the right players all the time to do what they do and they do it super well. Season by season, look what they do.”
During the previous encounter at the Emirates in August, which Arsenal won 2-1 under the management of Unai Emery, Dyche once again accused the Gunners players of diving.
Put to Arteta what he makes of simulation, he replied: “To dive? I am completely against that.”
The Spaniard urged his team not to let Burnley bully them and they will be boosted by the return of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He served a three-match suspension last month for a red card at Crystal Palace and will be delighted to be back in time to face the Clarets – a side he has scored seven goals against in just four appearances.
“All the games are really tight, but obviously defensively Burnley has been a difficult team to break down and having players that can unlock that door straight away is a big advantage and that is why Auba is so important for this club,” Arteta added.
Since his arrival in December, the 37-year-old has already had an impact and one big trait is the togetherness now present in the side.
This was highlighted in the 2-2 draw at Chelsea when Arsenal had to play the majority of the match with 10 men, but still held on for a point.
Arteta added: “For me that is the foundation of everything. Without that you can’t really build anything because it is empty.
“They need to enjoy what they do, respect each other and feel proud of where they are and who they are and develop that in the future. I think we are in the right direction.”
Arsenal’s manager was previewing the Burnley match on Friday – the day the UK left the European Union.
It is not yet known what affect it will have on football in this country, but Arteta, who spent 12 years as a player in England, hopes it will not prevent opportunities being given to foreign people.
He added: “I don’t think that anybody knows the situation we are going to be in. Things still have to be developed.
“I had the privilege to come to this country to play football, in my opinion the best in the world, and I would love other people to have the same opportunity to experience this.
“As a football player in your career, the possibility to move countries and experience different cultures, learn languages and have different challenges and adapt – it has to be the option.”