Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Elneny, Saka, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Subs: Runarsson, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Willock, Nketiah, Smith Rowe
Arsenal slumped to a fourth consecutive home defeat after a Granit Xhaka red card and a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal saw us go down 1-0 to Burnley at the Emirates this evening.
The starting XI had a familiar look, and although Mohamed Elneny was recalled in midfield, there was only one change from the side which lost the North London derby.
The game started slowly enough, neither side had a sight of goal in the opening ten minutes. Arsenal forced a bit of a scramble in the Burnley box, and there was a huge let off when Chris Wood headed wide with the goal at his mercy in the 14th minute.
Rob Holding fizzed a header over in the 21st minute after an excellent ball in from Bukayo Saka, and the Gunners best passage of play saw Pope save well from Lacazette. Gabriel then headed a Willian cross wide when he probably should have hit the target, it was more or less the position he scored from against Wolves.
After that, nothing of note happened before half-time, and the teams went in level at the break.
Kieran Tierney started and ended a good move down the left, linking with Aubameyang but Pope was equal to his right-footed shot. The captain then put a header on target from a Bellerin cross, but without the sufficient power to trouble the Burnley keeper, and moments later Saka tested the stopper with a right-footed shot from a Willian cross.
Aubameyang’s deflected shot drifted not far wide, and it was looking better for the Gunners, until Granit Xhaka’s stupidity reduced us to ten men. He picked up a yellow card for a cynical foul, then a straight red after a VAR check showed him grab his opponent by the throat after a melee in midfield. Red card incident.
Dani Ceballos came on to replace Lacazette, Aubameyang saw another shot saved by Pope, and Mee fired one from distance which Leno saved easily. Auba was sent through, again Pope saved but the offside flag went up.
The captain’s night went from bad to worse, when from a Burnley corner he headed into his own net to put the visitors 1-0 up. 0-1.
Previously Elneny was lucky to get away with a yellow card in the box for raising his hands to the face of an opponent.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles came on to replace Bellerin, Nketiah was brought on for Willian with 8 minutes of normal time remaining, and Saka – our genuine bright spark on the night – saw a good shot headed over by Tarkowski.
The game went into five added minutes, Arteta’s men desperate for a goal. A Rob Holding shot hit Nketiah and bounced into the arms of the keeper, Gabriel saw a tame header easily saved, and that was that.
Next up Southampton on Wednesday.