David Luiz made his debut and had to prove his worth early on, having to deal with Burnley front men Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, but he performed well alongside Sokratis and played a big part in limiting The Clarets to a single goal.Both teams looked to be playing for the win from kick-off. Sean Dyche tried his utmost to bring an end to his sides bad record against Arsenal and aimed to utilize his squads’ strength to exploit our defensive frailties. The visitors were sending in cross after cross to the danger area in search of either Wood or Barnes to put it away and they created some real problems for our back line on occasion.
Bernd Leno was kept on high alert for the full 90 minutes as Burnley went on to have 18 attempts on goal, only 5 of which were on target. We answered with regular attacks of our own and we looked dangerous from the off. Reiss Nelson made his second start of the season and had a goal ruled out for offside, while Matteo Guendouzi came close scoring his first league goal since joining Arsenal, but he was denied by The Clarets’ man between the sticks, Nick Pope. Despite their best efforts there was little Burnley could do to stop Alexandre Lacazette from giving us an early lead, in quite a bizarre fashion. Loan star Dani Ceballos’ corner kick found Lacazette in the box and the Frenchman did brilliant to turn the ball away from defenders closing in on him before, while going to ground, he let off a shot that slipped through the legs of Pope to find the back of the net. It was a goal on his return to the starting 11 and it also marked Ceballos’ first assist as an Arsenal player on his home debut for the club. Going in front brought more confidence to our run of play and we continued to battle for another goal, all while dealing with Burnleys’ continued assault in search of an equalizer. 2 minutes before the break, the score was levelled. Dwight McNeils’ attempt on goal deflected off Sokratis and moved swiftly in to the path of Ashley Barnes, who held off Guendouzi to ease the ball passed a sprawled Leno. It was certainly deserving after the display our visitors had been putting on and The Clarets main man will be thrilled to have bagged another goal against Arsenal and to extend his fine form on the front lines at the same time.
The second half saw Nicolas Pepe replace Reiss Nelson and our record signing was eager to get in to the thick of things as soon as he was introduced. The Ivory Coast international wowed fans with his pace and dribbling ability and this will be seen as a very positive step in the right direction for the club. His presence on the pitch was felt and you can already start to get an idea of the problems Arsenal could cause in the future with Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette at the helm. Even after his introduction to the game, finding a winner wasn’t made much easier with Burnleys’ resolve proving difficult to break down. The team continued to work hard, particularly eventual man of the match winner Dani Ceballos and it was the young Spaniard who created the opportunity for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to net the winning goal for us for the second week in a row. Ceballos put in an all-round great performance for the team and nearly scored the winner himself, but his shot was kept out by another stellar save by Nick Pope who had to stretch at full length to keep the visitors level. However, just a minute later he did the next best thing after winning the ball back to let Aubameyang loose. The 30 year old Gabonese striker had come close to adding to the score-line throughout both halves and he eventually succeeded after Ceballos’ intervention saw the front man through on goal, taking on 2 defenders as he fired in the winner at the near post.
There were a number of positives from our performance. David Luiz was confident as ever on the ball and showed the threat he poses with his ability to find strikers from the back line when he let off a beautiful cross to see Aubameyang through on goal early in the first half. The Brazilian looked good in his first outing as an Arsenal player and had a solid debut he can build on. Like-wise for Nicolas Pepe. There’s a lot of added pressure on big money signings, but Pepe looks like he’ll thrive off of it. He’s a skillful player who doesn’t shy away from taking players on. His dribbling ability will surely encourage the opposition to keep their legs closed when he’s on the move and his pace is going to be an absolute nightmare for any team in the Premier League this season. Matteo Guendouzi had another good game for us and Lucas Torreira continued his encouraging return to fitness with his contribution to the side. We definitely aren’t at full strength yet and we won’t be for a few more months since both Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin are only expected to be in full first team training in October, but that only makes our games against Newcastle and Burnley that much more promising. We’ve done well to get by without key players in recent weeks and it shows improvement in squad depth. The cherry on top was seeing Dani Ceballos’ celebration after assisting Aubameyang in the second half. He might only be with us on loan, but he sparked such fire in Arsenal fans with such a passionate display at the corner post after the winner was scored. Truth be told, he looked right at home at The Emirates. It’s unfortunate that he’ll only be a Gunner temporarily, but if there’s one thing I learned from the clubs’ Summer transfer business it’s that we can start to dream a bit again. Who knows what could happen next season? One thing that’s certain though is that if he continues to perform like that, he’ll earn a lot more man of the match awards and become a fan favorite in the process. We take plenty of promise with us to Anfield next week and Aubameyang himself said the team are set on getting revenge on our league rivals when he hopped on to a live stream with AFTV on Instagram after yesterdays’ game. With the way he’s been playing lately, I’d expect nothing less than a good run out by the team next week and I feel like the squad has enough in them to cause a bit of a panic in Liverpools’ locker room before kick-off. Rightfully so.