- Arsenal 3-1 Burnley review
This early kick-off was a chance to get a win after the Scum and Southampton defeats.
And we got this, though it wasn’t all plain sailing. Burnley started in the relegation zone, and for this reason alone it was never going to be easy.
Sokratis returned, and Elneny started as a centre-back. Moreover, Ainsley Maitland-Niles filled in at right wing-back, whilst Kolasinac took up the left. Monreal was a centre-back on the left side, with Guendouzi and Xhaka in the middle. Ozil returned, and Lacazette and Aubameyang up top.
The game started off brightly, with a very quick chance in which both Laca and Auba missed. But after this, literally, on the breakaway, Burnley missed a great chance to score with a low drive to Leno’s right. Leno saved it, but this was telling of other errors later in the game.
We got in the lead through via some good interplay between Ozil, Lacazette, and Kolasinac, and Auba slotted in from 12 yards to get the opener. It was his 11th PL goal of the season and was now hot on the heels of Mohamed Salah in the PL scoring charts.
The rest of the first half was a bit muted, with Burnley threatening in limited measure, but in part due to poor passing from the back from Arsenal.
The second half commenced with another Burnley break, but our defence smothered this, and Elneny and Guendouzi lifted a throughball for our forwards to collect. Laca squared to Auba in the area, and he rifled in past Joe Hart.
Burnley got one back though – as it was calamitous and comical defending in the box which allowed Ashley Barnes to sneak in past Leno’s near post.
We got the third and the winner though, via an Iwobi drive. Iwobi came on to replace Lacazette in the latter second half, and he collected a square pass on the right-hand side of the six-yard box and slotted home.
It was not the best of performances, but given Chelsea and City lost, and Spurs are still to play, it was not a bad day overall.
I feel this game stood out, for me at least, for a few reasons.
Auba moved to the top of the scoring charts, as his brace pips him ahead of Mo Salah. He really is proving his world-class talent, and surely he’s better than Kane.
Secondly, our defence is still poor. We almost conceded from some bad positioning, and this is something we seriously and critically need to correct. Their goal was as largely down to our inability to clear the ball properly, when Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, and Xhaka, all held firm opportunities to do so.
Ozil’s return was boosted by a prime “pre-assist”, which led to Kolasinac squaring to Auba for his first goal.
And overall, we looked pretty lax in our play and attacking impetus. 3-1 certainly didn’t flatter us – we warranted the win overall. But it was in truth dull in parts, and we largely just kept possession and didn’t threaten as much as we could have.
Burnley didn’t necessarily look to park the bus. But they were physical in parts, and we should be commended for matching their physicality, and in some cases outdoing them in “roughhousing”.
But it was a comfortable win nonetheless, even if it wasn’t a stellar performance.
We possibly got some more injuries, which is worrying. Monreal went off, and was replaced by Lichtsteiner, and who knows how long he may be out for. It could just be precautionary, but it’s troublesome how we’re suffering these defensive issues.
Moreover, it’s imperative, if we’re to get top four, that we don’t concede too many goals. Spurs and Chelsea are better organised defensively, and this shows via their better goals against tallies. This could be the critical factor in securing top four, and it must be something to rectify.
Overall, it was a “meh” performance – and one typified by being slack, sloppy, and overly contented to pass the ball in large parts. This isn’t to be arrogant – but had we been on point for the 90 minutes it would have been a demolition for Burnley. Three points is three points though, and they all count in our efforts to secure top four.
Leno – 6
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5
Sokratis – 8
Elneny – 6
Monreal – 6
Kolasinac – 7
Xhaka – 6
Guendouzi – 6
Ozil – 5
Lacazette – 7
Aubameyang – 8
Lichtsteiner – 6
Torreira – 5
Iwobi – 7
Man of the match
He got a good brace, with his second a thunderous lash which Hart had no chance to save. He surely is in contention to win the Golden Boot, and would be in a strong line of strikers to do this in PL history (inclusive of people like RvP, but I’m thinking more of Henry in fairness…)