Result: Arsenal 2 – 1 Burnley
Competition: Premier League
Date: 17 August 2019
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Starting XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Willock, Nelson, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Subs: Martinez, Chambers, Kolasinac, Torreira, Mkhitaryan, Martinelli, Pepe
Arsenal continued their 100% record in the league with a promising win against Burnley to take them to the top of the table.
Dani Ceballos, making his home debut, was scintillating in midfield and caught the eye with assists for Lacazette’s and Aubameyang’s goals. The rest of the team also showed their quality as they kept a high tempo throughout their first home game.
Arsenal’s first home game of the season saw David Luiz make his debut in place of Chambers while another new signing, Dani Ceballos, stepped into midfield for the injured Granit Xhaka. A fit Lacazette returned to the side at the expense of Mkhitaryan who had a patchy game last week against Newcastle.
With Torreira and Pepe still some weeks away from full fitness, they had to be content with a place on the bench, as was Kolasinac who returns after security concerns.
The first few minutes were an even affair as the Gunners sought to gain control in midfield while defending aerial attacks by Burnley. Luiz was on hand to make headed clearances and showed confidence to play the ball out from the back. That confidence was epitomised when he flashed the ball a couple yards across from the goal line to evade pressure.
The Brazilian was involved in more good play in the opening stages – pinging an accurate diagonal ball to Aubameyang who looked to get in behind the defence and was also a fraction off a tap-in for Arsenal’s first corner of the game.
But it was Lacazette who made the decisive first mark on the game with a goal just minutes later. The French striker received the ball from a corner and protected it from Burnley’s defenders with his back to goal. He produced a swift turn and strike to sneak the ball in between the legs of Nick Pope. 1-0 to the Arsenal.
As Burnley pushed hard for an equalizer, the young midfield trio of Ceballos, Guendouzi and Willock showed that they were in good form with fluid movement, composure and technical ability to keep possession. Ceballos was especially easy on the eye with heel flicks, pirouettes and mesmerising dribbles in the centre of the park.
Arsenal did receive their first yellow of the game at about 38 minutes thanks to some cuntery by Mike Dean. It was a harsh decision on Aubameyang who was adjudged to have encroached into space during a Burnley free kick.
That bad luck continued on the 42nd minute as Ashley Barnes equalized for Burnley. He received the ball in the box from a deflected shot and made no mistake as he scored from the 6 yard box. 1-1. Goal by Burnley.
We had the first use of VAR in the Emirates during injury as a Nelson goal was ruled for offside. Monreal had a foot just behind the last line of defence during what was an enterprising build-up. The Gunners were decent in the first half, all things considered, and should be confident of moving up the gears in the latter stages of the game.
The second half saw the return of the half time substitute favoured by Emery early last season with Pepe making his first home appearance in place of Nelson who had a quiet game.
The Ivorian was lively from the off as he showed to be competent defensively and offensively during a move where he helped out at right back, started a counter attack with a mazy dribble and ended the move on the left wing.
Arsenal almost made it 2-1 when Pepe threaded in a pass from the right into the feet of Aubameyang whose shot was well saved by Pope. The Burnley keeper was in good form as he saved another shot just a few minutes later, this time from Ceballos who found some space outside the box to hit the target.
However, Pope couldn’t save from Aubameyang on the 53rd minute. Ceballos won the ball high up the field after losing possession and passed it to Aubameyang who was lurking in the left wing area. The Gabon striker calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the box as the Emirates went into raptures. 2-1 by Aubameyang.
Lacazette came off on 70 minutes to more applause, this time for substitute, Kolasinac. The introduction of the Bosnian saw Arsenal morph into a 3-5-2 formation as Pepe partnered Aubameyang upfront in an effort to prioritize pace in the counter and more men at the back.
The last sub of the game was saved for Ceballos who received a standing ovation for his 2 assists and excellent overall performance. On came Torreira to secure the midfield.
Arsenal held on to finish the game as winners despite late pressure from a flurry of Burnley corners as they made it 2 wins out of 2. Bring on Liverpool next week.