Burnley (0) 0 Arsenal (1) 1
Turf Moor, 52-56 Harry Potts Way, Burnley BB10 4BX
Saturday, 18th September 2021. Kick-off time: 3.00pm
(4-1-4-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Kieran Tierney; Thomas Partey; Nicolas Pépé, Martin Ødegaard, Emile Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Bernd Leno, Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Cédric Soares, Nuno Tavares, Pablo Marí, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Gabriel Martinelli.
Scorers: Martin Ødegaard (30 mins)
Yellow Cards: Nuno Tavares
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 56%
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth Official: John Brooks
VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Lee Mason; AVAR Matthew Wilkes
Over the past few years, we have had a good record at Turf Moor, so let’s hope that our record continues with a much-needed victory today. Although we expect this to be a tough game, we certainly have the personnel to grab three points and return to London as victors; nothing less will do.
We started the match fairly confidently, with one or two frustrating misses, particularly from Nicolas Pépé, who was desperately unlucky not to score as early as the sixth minute. The home side, through Ashley Barnes, came close to scoring a couple of times, and in reply, soon after, both Thomas Partey and Martin Ødegaard had strong attempts which were parried by the Burnley defenders. Bukayo Saka was fouled by Ashley Westwood on the edge of the penalty area, and with the resulting free-kick, Martin Ødegaard confidently whipped the ball over the wall and past Nick Pope for the opening goal of the match. Our goal appeared to wake the home side up, and they immediately put pressure on our defence, but thankfully they held firm. The goal gave us confidence to bring the match to the home side, and we started to create some good chances to score, with the play being dictated by Emile Smith-Rowe and Nicolas Pépé which created somewhat of a panic in the Burnley defence. Literally on the stroke of half-time, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a superb chance to score, but unfortunately his shot was cleared by Ben Mee as Anthony Taylor blew the whistle for the break.
And so, the second half began with the home side looking for a quick goal from the restart, with Jóhann Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood and Ben Mee’s attempts all going wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s goal. We managed to settle proceedings down, and now Thomas Partey’s midfield skills started to control matters, with him being first to the tackle when needed, and distributing clever balls to Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka. Although the home side made two substitutions on the hour, our forwards were constantly finding ways through the Burnley defence; how Nicolas Pépé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn’t score from close range, was nothing short of amazing, really. With twenty minutes left of the match, Ben White passed the ball back to Aaron Ramsdale, but unfortunately didn’t see Matej Vydra coming in to try to grab the ball. Aaron Ramsdale got there first of course, but the Burnley player fell, and in dramatic fashion too. After vocal appeals by the home side, Anthony Taylor consulted VAR, and thankfully the appeal was denied. This obviously angered Burnley, who came at us with all guns blazing for the next few minutes, and as a result, Mikel Arteta made two substitutions within three minutes; Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nuno Tavares replaced Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey in an attempt to stem the tide of constant Burnley attacks, and although everyone did their best, the outstanding performance was that of Aaron Ramsdale, whose performance this afternoon at Turf Moor was truly a golden one in ensuring Burnley were kept at bay. After everything that has gone on today, the officials decreed that there should be four minutes injury time, during which both sides made one last attempt to score, but to no avail, and for the second weekend in a row, we have taken maximum points from both matches, thankfully.
Two matches, two wins, six points. That’s the facts as they stand, and going on today’s performance, not only was it an improvement on last Saturday’s match against Norwich City, but there is a confident air that is starting to permeate the atmosphere around the team now. Early days, early dreams; every man played their part well today, none more so that Aaron Ramsdale, who was truly immense in goal, and hey, let’s not take anything away from Martin Ødegaard’s goal either, which was truly something spectacular. Fantastic stuff really, and as Arsenal supporters we have learned through recent bitter experience to take one match at a time, so let us enjoy the moment, bank the three points, and concentrate on next Sunday’sderby match against Tottenham Hotspur here at the Emirates. Should be a cracker.
Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: AFC Wimbledon at the Emirates on Wednesday, 22nd September at 7.45pm (Carabao Cup/EFL Cup. Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.
Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.