After their first win of the season last weekend vs Norwich, Arsenal rocked up at Turf Moor intending to capitalize on some rare momentum. In contrast, the hosts came into this one still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Arsenal opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a stupendous Martin Ødegaard freekick. This wonder strike would be the only goal in a tightly contested affair between two sides in desperate need of points. The 0-1 win catapults Arsenal into 12th place, six points off the top four, while the Clarets languish in the relegation zone.
Here are five talking points from Burnley 0-1 Arsenal.
#5 Takehiro Tomiyasu is the real deal
What do you call a player that wins 100% of his aerial duels, 100% of his ground duels, makes five clearances and blocks three crosses? Takehiro Tomiyasu. In successive weeks, the Japanese international has proved that he is perfectly suited to the physicality of English football.
Against the most physical team in the league, Tomiyasu passed his test with flying colours. He was physically dominant in the air and combative in all his duels, ensuring that chances were not conceded from his right-hand side. If he continues with this combative mentality, he will be a fine asset for Mikel Arteta.
#4 Burnley still winless
At the start of the season, Mike Riley encouraged referees to “let it flow” more this season thus encouraging the officials to be more lenient when awarding fouls. This has played into the hands of Burnley perfectly, as they have attempted 87 tackles and committed 41 fouls.
Against Arsenal, Sean Dyche’s men tried to continue that trend but to no avail due to Arsenal’s technical superiority and ability to control the game. Due to their inability to kick Arsenal off the pitch, the Clarets struggled to produce an alternative game plan, resulting in just three shots on target all game.
The 0-1 defeat leaves the Lancashire club 19th in the league with zero wins in five games. Sean Dyche signed a new four-year deal during the week and surely this wasn’t how he wanted to celebrate.
#3 Arteta’s 433 is loading…%
It has been Mikel Arteta’s desire from day one to deploy a 4-3-3 at the Emirates. He famously said in an interview last year that his team are 5 or 6 players from being able to play that system effectively. Today, for the first time in his tenure, the Spaniard lined his team up in this formation.
Previously, we had seen the Gunners switch to it within games, especially when needing a goal. But today was the first time the boss had used it from the start. With Thomas Partey as the single pivot, the Ghanaian was surrounded by Martin Ødegaard and Emile Smith-Rowe in a midfield three consisting of contrasting profiles. Partey was the #6, ESR the #8 and Ødegaard functioned as a floating #10 in behind Aubameyang. Expect to see more of this in the future, especially against low-blocks.
#2 Ben White blows hot ‘n’ cold
Coming into this game, a lot was said about the Englishman’s aerial ability, his most glaring weakness. His performance against Brentford & Ivan Toney only intensified those calls. Today, up against a combative Chris Wood, the young defender faced his toughest test to date. However, in a confusing switch of events, the 23-year-old was solid in the air today and a little shaky on the ball.
No player produced more headed clearances (6) than Ben White today. On top of that, he won four out of seven of his aerial duels. On the ball, he lost possession twelve times with two of his mistakes almost costing his team the game. This was only his third start in Arsenal colours and it is only a matter of time before we start seeing him at his best.
#1 Arsenal’s new no.1 – Aaron Ramsdale
It may be time for the entire Arsenal fanbase to get on their knees and apologize to Aaron Christopher Ramsdale. When the youngster was first signed, there was an enormous backlash. Many fans could not comprehend why the club was buying a keeper that had been relegated in consecutive seasons. Fast forward a few weeks and the 23-year-old has started three games for the Gunners, keeping three clean sheets.
In stark contrast to Bernd Leno, Ramsdale commands his box authoritatively and marshals his defense flawlessly. He gives all those around him assured confidence both on the ball and in the air. In another commanding display, the 23-year-old claimed five crosses, made three saves and 26 passes. For the first time in a long time, Arsenal have a keeper that is ready to fight for the badge.