Are Arsenal in a relegation combat? That query might come to look silly within the coming months. However this dismal defeat plumbs a brand new depth and it’s exhausting to see how the present set of gamers, who throw Mikel Arteta’s belief again in his face week after week, dig themselves out of the mire.
They’d sought a purpose from their struggling captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; they simply didn’t anticipate it to be headed into his personal web quarter-hour after Granit Xhaka had modified the sport’s complexion with an idiotic purple card for violent conduct towards Ashley Westwood. It made a deserved win for Burnley, and their first towards Arsenal since 1974. For his or her half, Arsenal have misplaced 4 successive residence video games for the primary time since 1959. The data are being smashed; the crew itself simply appears to be like damaged.
Arteta had spoken glowingly of his gamers’ response in coaching to final weekend’s possession-heavy however opportunity-light defeat at Spurs, additionally providing brief shrift to the barely outlandish concept that senior squad members had been letting him down. So maybe it was little shock that, apart from the injured Thomas Partey, the derby day starters have been invited out for an additional flip. Presumably the logic was that, towards a facet as goalshy as Burnley, Arsenal could be trusted to utilize what nous they do have.
Any such thought ought to have been uncovered as folly inside 14 minutes. When Robbie Brady was allowed to shift the ball on to his left foot it seemed each inch the form of place Burnley’s two bustling strikers, Chris Wooden and Jay Rodriguez, would possibly look to use. Brady’s inswinging cross was distinctive and, after Gabriel Magalhães unaccountably selected to step out of place, Wooden was left fully unmarked in entrance of the posts. He didn’t even want to leap however, maybe taking his eye off the flight, glanced vast of Bernd Leno’s purpose along with his shoulder.
It was a sizeable let-off for Arsenal, who had begun brightly if with little conviction. Alexandre Lacazette, once more given the No 10 place, miscued an tried volley from Willian’s header down within the opening minutes and Aubameyang’s angled shot was deflected vast within the aftermath. For a interval after Wooden’s miss they started to function extra crisply and had their very own causes to remorse not being forward by the interval.
A lot has been made from Arsenal’s unsuccessful crosses up to now fortnight, however when the supply is on level and the recipient is clearly identifiable there’s nothing remotely mistaken with that methodology of development. Bukayo Saka proved the purpose with a intelligent, flat ball that discovered Rob Holding in area 15 yards out. Holding nodded a foot excessive. There appeared extra prospect of an opener when Kieran Tierney, haring to the by-line after Saka couldn’t attain a via move, reduce precisely however Nick Pope saved Lacazette’s stabbed effort along with his legs.
Gabriel then headed vast when, in rising above Burnley’s defence, he had arguably performed the exhausting half. However the checklist of scares for Sean Dyche’s facet prolonged no additional they usually had yet another sight of their very own when Holding blocked a meaty volley from Rodriguez.
In reality Arsenal had simply not proven sufficient. They wanted cool heads and accountable management to information them right into a profitable place however needed to make do with Xhaka, whose dismissal got here throughout a interval wherein a breakthrough had began to look reasonable. It was exhausting to inform precisely what enraged Xhaka throughout a melee that sparked after he had fouled the breaking Dwight McNeil. A VAR examine confirmed conclusively, although, that he had grabbed Ashley Westwood across the throat and the end result was in little doubt as soon as Graham Scott had checked out his pitchside monitor.
Previous to that, Arsenal had began to make Pope work frequently. Aubameyang teed up Tierney for a shot that was saved low down earlier than heading straight on the keeper himself. Saka then compelled a parry after Willian had centred. Moments later Xhaka disgraced himself and now the sport’s steadiness was fully unsure.
Burnley sensed a direct turning of the screw and may need succeeded if Ben Mee had obtained correct contact on a left-sided nook; quickly, although, they obtained it proper from the identical supply. Mohamed Elneny had simply been cleared of his personal potential purple card when Westwood delivered once more. Aubameyang rose to problem on the close to put up and though he received the ball, he may solely watch in horror because it skimmed off his head and nestled in Leno’s far nook. The primary boos of the Covid-19 period could possibly be heard within the Emirates stands.
Aubameyang slipped when a half-chance to make amends beckoned. Arsenal huffed, puffed and left at an ebb decrease than virtually anybody current may keep in mind.