Burnley may finally be able to welcome back veteran midfielder Graham Alexander, who has been out for more than a month with a calf strain.

However, that good news is cancelled out by the blow that Chris McCann was unable to take part in either of this week’s reserve team fixtures.

Skipper Steven Caldwell is also a continued absence, although Jay Rodriguez may make his return to the squad.

Steven Fletcher broke his hand on international duty for Scotland during the week and Brian Laws will make a late decision whether or not to risk the striker, with David Nugent the likely replacement.

Question marks reign over Laws’ chosen formation after Burnley’s terrible performance in last week’s 2-1 defeat at home to rock bottom Portsmouth, with most fans hoping for a return to the 4-5-1 shape that served the side so well earlier in the season.

Martin Paterson, despite scoring in consecutive matches in a forward role, may be moved out wide to accommodate this with Wade Elliott deployed in the centre of midfield.

Laws could also call upon Jack Cork, who stood out in the loss at Aston Villa but was promptly dropped for the next match.

Arsenal have their own problems after Aaron Ramsey broke his leg against Stoke in their last fixture.

Alex Song is suspended, leaving the hosts slightly light in midfield.

Sol Campbell, Johan Djourou, Fran Merida, Robin van Persie, William Gallas and Carlos Vela are all unavailable, so Nicklas Bendtner will continue alone up front with support from Andrey Arshavin.

Abou Diaby could come back into the side after a spell out with injury, with Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky all battling to be deployed on the right side of midfield.

In the absence of Campbell and Gallas, Mikael Silvestre will get the chance to partner Thomas Vermaelen.

Arsenal will be aware that a win by a margin of four or more goals will see them leapfrog Chelsea in the Premier League table, a surprising development considering the Gunners’ poor form against top teams this season.

However, they remain right in the title race with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all still contesting the European Cup.

The run-in at both ends of the table will be fascinating, but today’s game looks certain to be nothing but a stroll in the park for Arsene Wenger’s men, with the scoreline rather than the result in question.

Prediction: Arsenal 5-0 Burnley.

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