Sunday 2 October 2016
Burnley 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal left it very late but snatched all 3 points in a tough match against a spirited Burnley side, emerging as 1-0 victors to win their fifth game in a row and keep pace in the Premier League.
As Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years' service at the club he has revolutionised, his team looked like they were still recovering from the party, as they struggled to breakdown an organised and stubborn Burnley unit. As the match drew to a close, both sides looked capable of snatching the winner but it was Arsenal who took their chance.
With seconds left in the match, an Arsenal corner was played short to Alexis Sanchez, whose whipped in cross found the head of Theo Walcott. The winger could only graze the ball but his effort fell to a free Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the back post, who struck the ball into captain Laurent Koscielny. It clearly struck Koscielny on the arm but the ball had found it's way into the back of the net and Arsenal had nicked it 1-0 with the last kick of the game. It's telling that Koscielny, a player who always gives everything for the club, was in that position (as he often is late in games), and got yet another crucial goal. He makes a habit of scoring these vital winners.
Turf Moor is not an easy place to get points (just ask Liverpool) and the home side can definitely feel aggrieved at today's result. It was an unfair result on Burnley, who had grafted hard for the point and deserved at least that. But Arsenal will not care one bit when they look back at this result come season's end. With Man City dropping their first points of the season to Tottenham, it was crucial Arsenal keep pace with the front runners and capitalise on City's misfortune.
They (whoever "they" are) say a team shows championship-winning qualities when matches are won despite not playing well. It's still very early in the season but perhaps Arsenal have shown some of that quality and character today. Only in May will we know how important today's victory might prove to be.
When the Gunners return from the international break they will host Swansea on Saturday 15 October and must beware complacency against the Welsh side, who have caused Arsenal a few problems at The Emirates in recent years. Let's hope all of our players return uninjured and can retain this winning momentum.
Thanks for reading.