PIERRE-Emerick Aubameyang continued his love of playing against Burnley as his second half goal – his seventh in four against the visitors – handed the Clarets their first defeat of the new season.
It was a spirited display from Sean Dyche’s side and there were many positives to be taken from the game, especially the response after falling behind in the first half to Alexandre Lacazette’s goal.
Ashley Barnes made it three goals in two games after he levelled proceedings on the stroke of half time. Burnley found chances hard to come by in the second period and fell to a narrow defeat.
The visitors started the game promisingly as they looked to attack down the right hand side through Johann Berg Gundmundsson – his cross was just over the head of the onrushing Jack Cork.
Arsenal first threatened Nick Pope’s goal as a Dani Ceballos corner was curled in and Ben Mee missed the header at the near post. This took Matt Lowton by surprise as the ball rebounded off him and went out for another corner – it could have gone anywhere.
It didn’t take long for the opening goal as, in the 13th minute, Lacazette put the Gunners in the ascendency. Ceballos whipped in a low corner that Burnley struggled to deal with, Lacazette held off Erik Pieters on the turn and squeezed it through Pope’s legs.
Dyche will be disappointed with the defending for the goal.
Up the other end, the Clarets were causing Arsenal all kinds of problems from the own set pieces. Firstly, James Tarkowski rose highest from a corner, his header was met by the head of Barnes – Bernd Leno showcased good reflexes to keep it out.
As the half wore on, Burnley continues to threaten the Gunners’ backline with Gudmundsson cutting in on his left foot from the right and whipping in some fantastic crosses.
Mike Dean wasn’t endearing himself to the Gooners in the stadium as Burnley had a spell of numerous free kicks which they could load in to the box.
With a minute of the opening period remaining, the main man, Barnes, pulled his side level – Dwight McNeil’s effort was blocked and deflected to the striker who calmly slotted under Leno.
Moments later, Arsenal had the ball in the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside by VAR.
Dyche’s men went in to the break all square and deservedly so.
Unai Emery introduced £72 million man Nicolas Pepe at the start of the second half making Burnley the first side to come up against the dangerous front three of Aubameyang, Pepe and Lacazette.
The second half began with the Arsenal fans, and Emery, on the case of Mike Dean for every bit of time wasting Burnley may have been doing.
Arsenal came out of the blocks quickly after conceding a goal late in the first half and the Burnley defence had to grit it out and weather the storm.
Not long after the hour mark, Aubameyang made it seven goals in four games against Burnley as he restored Arsenal’s lead.
Ceballos, on-loan from Real Madrid, robbed Gudmundsson of the ball and gave it to the striker – his driving run forward made it to the edge of the box as he smashed it home in to the bottom corner.
Burnley worked up some late pressure, but couldn’t find the all important equaliser.
Burnley XI: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Gudmundsson (72′ Lennon), Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood (60′ Rodriguez)
Unused subs: Hart, Taylor, Gibson, Hendrick, Bardsley
Arsenal XI: Leno, Sokratis, Ceballos (83′ Torreira), Lacazette (72′ Kolasinac), Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Monreal, Luiz, Nelson (45′ Pepe), Willock, Guendouzi
Unused subs: Mkhitaryan, Chambers, Martinez, Martinelli