goonersphere logo website logo-02

October could be a defining month for the Gunners

match report burnley arsenal 2016

Match Review: Burnley 0 Arsenal 1 - Premier League 02.10.16

Bump! It was back down to earth for the Arsenal on Sunday. Having swept all before us with ease over the last couple of weeks, it was a very different story at Burnley, as we toiled for ninety minutes without success and only found the breakthrough with virtually the last kick of the game. Many were expecting an easy win, but Burnley frustrated us and we really couldn’t have complained if the match had ended in a draw. The Premier League doesn’t do easy games and this is a timely reminder that complacency won’t go unpunished.

Unsurprisingly, Wenger made only one change from the team that dispatched Basel in midweek, restoring Cech in goal. There was some unfortunate news on the injury front, as both Giroud and Lucas were ruled out through injury, leaving with only Alexis to fill the striking role. With luck though, both of them plus Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey will be available after the international break.

From the first minute, we didn’t look at our best. Against Chelsea and Basel, we were swarming our opponents and passing them into submission. The energy and intensity of our play overwhelmed the opposition and led to early goals. Here though, we looked off the pace and Burnley were able to drop deep and keep us at arm’s length. The movement was poor and as such, so were the limited chances we created.

Another worry was how close Burnley were coming from corners and crosses. Monreal in particular struggled and was beaten in the air twice for near goals. It was just indicative of a lack of concentration and sharpness within the Arsenal team, poor decisions were being made at both ends and it looked like the game would inevitably fizzle out into a draw. Certainly based on the performances of both teams, it would have been a fully justified result.

However, none of that matters if you can find that one goal to edge ahead of your opponent. Fittingly, our winner came in same sloppy way the rest of the game had gone. We’d just been denied a very good shout for handball and a penalty and all hope of a win seemed to have faded. Somehow only two minutes were added on at the end of the game and those had expired as we took a last gasp corner short. Alexis crossed the ball, Walcott of all people nodded it on and a combination of Chamberlain and Koscielny bundled it into the net. On closer inspection, Koscielny got the only touch and kicked it onto his arm before it trickled in. 

To be honest, a controversial last minute winner scrapped in off our centre back’s arm is as good a way to win a game as any. There were two issues that arose from the goal. The first was whether it was offside, but this was put to bed pretty quickly as the footage shows that Koscielny got the only touch and he was onside when Walcott flicked the ball on.

The second was the handball and this is a much greyer area. The handball clearly wasn't intentional, as Koscielny couldn’t possibly have deliberately kicked the ball into his arm in such an awkward way. By the letter of the law, that means that the referee was entitled to give the goal and technically it is perfectly legitimate. There is an argument to say that if the ball hadn’t made contact with Koscielny’s arm then it wouldn’t have gone in. I can understand that and if it had happened to us, I’d be mad as hell! But the reality is that the goal was legitimate, the referee allowed it to stand and we got the points. That is the be all and end all in football.

Despite the win, the performance was a bit of a concern. Although this tactic with Alexis up front worked incredibly well against Chelsea and Basel, I still feel we miss Giroud in games like this. His injury has deprived us of an aerial threat up front for weeks now and it’s really important for us to get him back and at the very least have him as an option off the bench. You can’t always blow teams away, you have to respect the ability of teams like Burnley to be able to stop us from executing our plan A and be able to find the win another way. I know we actually did get the win, but we won’t strike lucky in the 93rd minute every week.

There’s no need to panic or go overboard with the criticism. We had an off day and we got away with it. It should be a bit of a warning and a kick up the backside, but it’s not a major problem. The problem will come if we see repetitions of this performance in the more winnable games.

We have four such games coming up, all of which occur at the Emirates. Swansea and Middlesbrough visit in the Premier League, while in midweek we face Ludogorets in the Champions League and Reading in the League Cup. We have to be ambitious and say that anything other than four wins will be a disappointment. The only other away trip we face this month is away at Sunderland. October has the potential to be an excellent month and one where we could send out a message. It’s not unreasonable to believe we should win every game this month and that would generate some serious momentum. One down, five to go.

arsenal celebrate controversial winner against burnley


Burnley (4-5-1)

Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Hendrick, Marney, Gudmundsson, Defour (Arfield 62’), Boyd, Vokes
Robinson, Flanagan, Kightly, Bamford, Tarkowski, Arfield, O’Neill

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka (Elneny 71’), Cazorla, Walcott, Özil, Iwobi (Chamberlain 71’), Alexis
Ospina, Gabriel, Holding, Gibbs, Elneny, Reine-Adelaide, Chamberlain

Player Ratings

Cech - 7/10 - Made a couple of very good saves to deny Burnley
Bellerin - 7/10 - Can’t fault his performance really
Koscielny - 7/10 - They all count Laurent!
Mustafi - 7/10 - He’s made an excellent start to life at Arsenal  
Monreal - 6/10 - Looked a little shaky in aerial duels
Xhaka - 6/10 - Fairly quiet day, no thirty yard screamers to be seen :(
Cazorla - 6/10 - Struggled to make an impact, but not for want of trying
Iwobi - 6/10 - Had a few good moments, but mostly stifled
Özil - 5/10 - Clearly not at his best, looked very frustrated too
Walcott - 7/10 - Worked as hard as anyone and had a hand in the goal
Alexis - 6/10 - Cut a frustrated figure, had two good chances to score in the second half
Elneny - 6/10 - Worked hard, but struggled to make an impact
Chamberlain - 6/10 - Didn’t have much time to influence the game

 Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?

Think you know Arsenal? Test your Arsenal knowledge on our trivia page and see if you can beat the top score.

Don't forget to like us on Facebook, add us to your G+ circle and follow us on Twitter.


Tags: Premier league, Match Review, Match Report, Burnley vs Arsenal, Koscielny handball

Featured On

FFC Blog Network Arsenal News & Transfers

Arsenal PRSS Arsenal News