Arsenal-Burnley Preview: Wilshere out & Gibbs faces late test

The midfielder has a knee problem that will keep him out of Saturday’s game against Sean Dyche’s team, while the defender could also be absent

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Jack Wilshere will be unavailable as Arsenal host Premier League basement side Burnley, while Kieran Gibbs will undergo a late test on a hip injury.

Theo Walcott has been absent since rupturing anterior cruciate ligaments in a 2-0 FA Cup win over London rivals Tottenham back in January but is still not ready to play from the start.

Having resumed full training at the start of October, he has since played 45 minutes for Arsenal’s Under-21 side and was an unused substitute for the first team’s 2-0 win at Sunderland last weekend.

If Walcott was to make an appearance from the bench it would inject even more pace into a frontline that already contains Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.

Chile star Sanchez has had a hand in each of Arsenal’s last four goals, scoring twice at the Stadium of Light after hitting the opener and assisting Welbeck’s late equaliser in the previous weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to Hull.

Arsene Wenger has admitted he is excited to have so much speed at his disposal but says he will not take any risks with Walcott.

“Could the attacking pace frighten defences? Let’s see,” he said after the win against Sunderland.

“My imagination works like yours, but I have to prove that they can work together on the pitch and that’s what I’ll try to do when everybody’s back.

“We dropped points at home unexpectedly against Hull and that’s why we have to focus on winning the Burnley game before I can plan giving Theo some competition.”

Sean Dyche will celebrate two years at the Burnley helm by making the trip to one of the top-flight’s powerhouses, something few would have banked on the Lancastrians doing so soon after he replaced Eddie Howe.

Having steered Burnley to second place in the Championship in his first full season in charge, Dyche has struggled to inspire his side towards securing their top-flight status.

Sitting bottom as they head to Emirates Stadium, Burnley are the only side in the Premier League or Football League without a win and only Aston Villa have scored fewer than their five goals in the top division.

Last season’s leading scorer Danny Ings registered his first league goal of the campaign in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Everton, though, and Dyche is determined to remain positive.

“It dents you but it doesn’t break you,” he said of Burnley’s poor start, which has seen them take four points from nine games. “It can be a reality, whether it hurts or not is irrelevant.

“It gives you the added motivation to get wins. It’s important we focus on what we’re about. We get the players prepared to go and achieve things.”

Burnley have received a boost to their midfield options ahead of the game with Dean Marney recovering from a hamstring injury.

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