It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win. It’s a second clean sheet in a row and Arsenal moving up in the table (with the chance to be even with Sp*rs next week).
You can’t complain too much about beating Burnley, because man are they an unlikable team.
Burnley 0-1 Arsenal: By the numbers
Burnley 0-1 Arsenal: By the numbers
40 – Cross attempts by Burnley (34 from open play), 9 of which were completed, with 6 assisting shots
18 – Defensive Aerial Duels won by Arsenal of 41 attempted
7 – Defensive Aerial Duels won by Arsenal in their own box of 13
5 – Defensive Aerial Duels won a piece by Ben White (9 total) and Gabriel (10 total), Takehiro Tomiyasu was 3 for 3.
21 – Headed Clearances by Arsenal, with 6 from White and 5 from Gabriel
After watching the Arsenal center-backs struggle with Ivan Toney and Romelu Lukaku, I was very worried about the threat that Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood would present. Overall I think White and Gabriel handled things really well in this match, with both Barnes (3/7) and Wood (5/11) winning less than 50% of their attacking aerial duels. Overall Burnley tried a lot of passes into the Arsenal box (51 and 42 chipped in) but Arsenal for the most part were not overly troubled with only 15 completed.
13 – Shots for Arsenal
7% – Arsenal’s average expected goal probability per shot in this match.
74 – Shots for Arsenal this season (4th most before the Sunday matches, were added in)
8% – Arsenal’s average expected goal probability per shot this season
8 – Shots for Arsenal with an expected goal value of 15% or more (2 in this match)
17 – Shots in “Prime” locations (prime locations is a half-circle 11 yards from the center of the goal), with 3 in this match.
There are areas for concern still for Arsenal. Arsenal has been mostly fine at getting shots (over 14 per match so far, even with just 1 against Manchester City) but the quality of the shots that they have taken have been very poor. Arsenal’s numbers for getting the ball into the penalty area has been good (51, 3rd most before the Sunday matches were added in) but their ability to get the ball into especially dangerous areas has really been lacking with just 25 passes completed within 15 yards of the center of the goal.
Some of this might be down to the speed at which Arsenal attacks, generally slower attacks mean a more set defense. There is a reason that teams drop back into banks of 4 defenders and that is because it is really hard to access dangerous spaces to create good chances. Arsenal has averaged 2.14 yards towards goal per minute of possession so far this season and managed 2.05 yards per second against Burnley. A lot of the possession that Arsenal did have was in areas of the pitch that were not very dangerous, with just 140 touches in the final third (Burnley had 203) and more touches in their own defensive third than anywhere else (298 touches). This seemed especially obvious in the second half where Burnley had much more possession in the final third (even if it ultimately lead to crosses that Arsenal handled).
67 – Defensive Pressures for Arsenal, the fewest that they have had in the Premier League since StatsBomb has collected this data (going back through he 2017-18 season).
24 – Pressures in the defensive third for Arsenal, the fewest since February 28, 2021 in a 3-1 win at Leicester. That match also featured significantly fewer final third touches for Leicester than Burnley managed against Arsenal (82 vs 140).
I am not 100% sure what to make of these stats, perhaps Burnley were looking to play so direct that Arsenal did not have a chance to pressure them, but also with Burnley having the ball so close to Arsenal’s goal it feels like it should be inevitable that Arsenal should have had ample opportunities to apply pressure.
The lack of defensive actions in the attacking third makes sense, Burnley plays direct and doesn’t give teams many opportunities. The lack of action in the middle and defensive thirds is a bit more of a concern and could be directly tied to the lineup choice where Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe played as nominal midfielders.
Overall, I am not too worried about this result, getting a win at Turf Moor is never easy. The results and the performances for the season however still leave a lot of questions to be answered for Arsenal.
sources: Opta, StatsZone, my own database, StatsBomb via FBRef