Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: 3 prime takeaways from the Gunners' latest Premier League win
Arsenal secured a 3-1 win at home to Burnley this weekend, with the Gunners and Clarets needing the points for varying reasons.
For Burnley, the points were required since the club - after finishing 17/18 in the Europa League spaces - were in the relegation zone. Arsenal, after losing to Southampton and their "good friends" Tottenham Hotspur, required the points to keep in touch with both Spurs and Chelsea in the top four hunt.
Moreover, Manchester United may feel more energised now Jose Mourinho has gone, and club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has become their interim manager. So the need for points was ever critical.
Arsenal and Burnley had two quick chances in the opening phases. Lacazette and Aubameyang missed from close range, and practically immediately, Burnley broke away and a save from Leno kept the score at 0-0.
Aubameyang netted his 11th of the season shortly after, as Mesut Ozil (returning in this game amidst much speculation) passed skillfully to Kolasinac, who in turn squared for Aubameyang to slot home. It wasn't perfect contact, but it was a goal nonetheless, and it set Arsenal on their way to the win.
The first half after this was flat, but the second half saw more action, as Arsenal scored again after an early Burnley break. Elneny and Guendouzi won the ball back from the Lancashire side, and they sent the ball upfield for Lacazette to collect. He then released Aubameyang, who rifled home from 12 yards. It was his 12th of the season, and he now leads the PL scoring charts ahead of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.
Burnley got one back, in large part due to weak Arsenal defending. Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, and Xhaka failed to clear the loose ball, and Ashley Barnes struck a low shot to beat Bernd Leno at the near post.
The third for Arsenal came via substitute Alex Iwobi, and the Nigerian international picked up a pass-cum-loose shot from Mesut Ozil to secure the points.
It wasn't classic Arsenal, but it was a professional job, which was in large parts pretty dull as a spectacle. In truth, the Gunners could have scored a hatful had they really be on song.
For Burnley, it was more doom and gloom, and their manager Sean Dyche wasn't happy (considering he deemed the Arsenal players divers). But for a club that had amazed many by reaching the Europa League, it seems their stay in the top flight, for now, may be ending, bar a change of form in the winter/spring periods.
For Arsenal, it was a welcome win following disappointing defeats to Southampton and Tottenham respectively. They also will be heartened by Chelsea losing to Leicester City, and even Manchester City losing to Crystal Palace (which would be heartbreaking to Burnley).
Dyche denouncing divers
Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager, wasn't happy after his team's loss. He felt that Arsenal players had dived, and thus cheated to secure a victory.
Whether this is true or not is moot, though the game overall was a physical one, with both sets of players committing fouls and having scraps. Dyche goes on to explain that he wanted to be progressive, but it wasn't enough given the result:
What may be of a larger concern though is that his team may get relegated. And for a side that until now had held their own in the league, this is a dramatic drop in form.
To blame this, as some have said, on the brief Europa League stint this season is moot. What may be an issue is that other teams around them have improved, or they have stagnated. Maybe Dyche has reached his limit with the current players. There may be a multitude of factors causing their slide.
What's certain is that they seldom threatened Arsenal and needed an Arsenal defensive calamity to get a goal back. They also were physical, but this didn't really faze Arsenal. Having a world-class forward like Aubameyang, and other top players like Lacazette, Ozil, etc. would be too much for any side on Earth to handle. Burnley can still stay up, but it would require more from them to secure it.
Dyche though has done well thus far at Burnley, and it would be a credit to him and the league overall if they survived.