Wednesday 15 August 2018

Burnley defender Kevin Long keen to ‘ruin’ Arsene Wenger’s farewell party

The Clarets will be the opponents for Wenger’s final home match in charge of the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger's final home match with Arsenal is against Burnley (Dave Howarth/PA)
Arsene Wenger's final home match with Arsenal is against Burnley (Dave Howarth/PA)

By Liam Blackburn, Press Association Sport

Burnley want to “ruin” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s farewell party at the Emirates Stadium next weekend, defender Kevin Long has said.

The Gunners boss has already announced he is bidding farewell to the north London club after 22 years in charge this summer and his final home game will be against Sean Dyche’s Clarets next Sunday.

There remains a slim possibility that Burnley can finish ahead of Wenger’s side and force Arsenal down into seventh place, which would mean their season begins with a Europa League qualifier in July.

Burnley have virtually assured themselves of European football for the first time in over 50 years – and that will be confirmed if Everton fail to win against Southampton on Saturday – yet Long promised they are not turning up to the Emirates just to be involved in a goodbye party regardless.

“We’ll keep going right until the end,” the Republic of Ireland international told Clarets Player HD.

“Even if we get the job done we still want to win games.

“We are creating a winning mentality and we want to keep it going and win as many games as possible.

“We want to go there and win the game. We want to cause an upset and pretty much ruin his (Wenger’s) last game there.

“As bad as it sounds, that’s what we want to do. We want to go there and win and try and get the win in the last game against Bournemouth as well.

“We want to win both games.”

A goalless draw against Brighton on Saturday more-or-less secured the Clarets a top-seven finish and, subsequently, their first taste of European football since the 1966-67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

Participation in a continental competition would bring a more hectic fixture list but Dyche has no fears about that for a side promoted from the Championship as recently as 2016.

“A lot of my players have played in the Championship and played Saturday-Tuesday relentlessly,” the Burnley boss added.

“We’re excited. How can you not think it’s a positive? Some people are suggesting otherwise. How can it not be a positive for Burnley Football Club to have the chance of European competition?”

Brighton left Turf Moor with a point, yet Southampton’s victory over Bournemouth left Chris Hughton’s side five points above the bottom three.

The Seagulls have the most difficult run-in too, facing each of the top three – Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool- in their final trio of fixtures.

However, Hughton knows the likes of Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield will all need to collect points themselves if they are to overhaul the Seagulls.

“Where we are fortunate is that we’ve got the points in the bag,” Hughton said in quotes published on Brighton’s official website.

“Those teams below us have got to win games, but we’ve got three left and we go into all of them with the possibility of getting points. That has to be our attitude.”

Press Association

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