Share this page :

Back home after an improved performance at Liverpool a week ago, we were at our worst yesterday when Arsenal visited and went home with all three points having beaten us 5-0.

Most teams visiting Turf Moor this season have picked up wins against us and most of them have fully deserved those wins with West Ham the obvious exception, but as good as Arsenal are, they didn’t really have to be in this fixture against a Burnley team that all but surrendered.

I have to admit to not being too confident ahead of the game. I never am when it’s Arsenal given our record against them in the Premier League, but in football, always expect the unexpected and as it was pointed out to me before the game, they never really turn us over on the Turf and many of their 1-0 wins, as we all know, have come through some poor refereeing decisions.

Vincent Kompany named an unchanged team with just two alterations on the bench from the previous week that saw fit again pair Charlie Taylor and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson replacing Hjalmar Ekdal and Han-Noah Massengo. Recently, we’ve been moving ever closer to naming a team of players signed by Kompany with Josh Brownhill, who became the fifteenth player to play a hundred Premier League games for us in the recent draw against Fulham, the one exception. It hadn’t registered with me until yesterday afternoon that Brownhill was the only player in this line-up who was with the club when we lifted the Championship title last May. That’s a staggering turnover of players and the mainstays of the promotion team are generally either playing their football elsewhere or are no longer considered for the team.

Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal had won at West Ham 6-0 last Sunday so thankfully that one was out of the way, or so I thought. They named a strong team and it wasn’t long before they got themselves in front. It was just too easy as Gabriel Martinelli pulled a ball back for Martin Ødegaard just outside the box. No one made anything like a serious effort to close him down so he just stroked the ball left footed into the bottom corner.

It was far too easy for him but that was to be the pattern of the afternoon. There was no response worthy of mention from Burnley and we were perhaps fortunate to still be only a goal down when referee Jarred Gillett awarded them a penalty for a foul by Lorenz Assignon. It was soft, if a penalty at all, and I am confident that it would not have been given at the other end, not as though we ever got in a position to test that theory all afternoon.

Bukayo Saka scored from the spot and that gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead going into half time. It had, in my view, been a shocking half from us. We’d offered precious little and maybe could have considered ourselves fortunate that the scoreline was as close as 2-0.

When the teams came out for the second half, there was very much a reduced number of supporters, particularly in the cricket field end. It seemed they’d given up hope of getting anything from the game. Ninety seconds later and it became an exodus when Saka scored his second and Arsenal’s third.

Embed from Getty Images
With Craig Bellamy in charge down in the technical area with Kompany’s suspension, we made a couple of changes just past the hour. One of those was to replace Aaron Ramsey who was stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury. Quite how the hapless Gillett allowed the game to continue with Ramsey clearly distraught is beyond me but this is the referee who felt it appropriate to yellow card one player for kicking the ball away and then not bothering after that.

It wasn’t long before number four went in from Leandro Trossard. Now the exodus became a fire drill and I witnessed people leaving who I’ve never seen leave early before. What did they all miss? Just another goal, and a really embarrassing one from our point of view, as Kai Havertz received the ball from a throw in, went forward, saw off Hannes Delcroix before firing home.

There were still twelve minutes to go and then we played a further ten. Somehow, we didn’t concede again although I think Arsenal took a cue from next door and declared.

Thankfully, mercifully, the final whistle eventually blew and the few of us left inside made our way out. I actually questioned my own sanity at seeing it through, I still am questioning it.

Embed from Getty Images
This had been our heaviest home defeat since Manchester City beat us 6-1 in April 2010 with both our current manager and his assistant scoring for City that day.

That’s 55 goals conceded this season; that’s 32 conceded in thirteen home games. It’s ten home games lost now and that equals our worst ever home season in the Premier League when we lost the same number in the 2018/19 season. We did win seven in that season though.

What really hit home to me yesterday was my reaction to Arsenal’s first goal. We were behind in less than four minutes and it didn’t seem to bother me; it certainly didn’t hurt me and that’s never been the case as long as I’ve been watching Burnley and that’s now over 63 years. The reaction from most people leaving at the end was similar although I did hear two people talking and one telling the other that he thought we’d played exceptionally well and had only lost because of Arsenal’s brilliance. I was tempted to ask him what he’d been drinking.

It’s hard to pick out individuals but on a positive note, David Datro Fofana looked to be the one working his socks off for us and I’ll give Jay Rodriguez some credit when he came on for showing that he cared. The two recent signings from France, Lorenz Assignon and Maxime Estève, both played well at Liverpool but yesterday looked very much like two young players taking too big a step up. But I shouldn’t be harsh on them given what was around them on the pitch with players who have been consistently poor and with so many square pegs in round holes.

Embed from Getty Images
And, just to make things worse, I was wet through by the time I got home, like most others I assume. Having said all that, I am looking forward to next week’s trip to Crystal Palace, not so much for the match, but for the day out with friends on what is looking set to be something of an adventure by car and train with pick-ups in the wilds of Blacko, in West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire before eventually making the last part of the journey by train.

On the subject of Palace, I wish Roy Hodgson the very best as he recovers from illness and on our side, let’s hope Ramsey’s injury isn’t too serious and he makes a quick and full recovery.

I think back to last season, to the wonderful football, to the euphoria around the place. It’s all gone. I’ll never understand why we made all those changes. I’ll never understand why some of the players who got us here weren’t given a chance. Given the reaction to yesterday, I’m far from alone in my thoughts.

Yesterday was a horrible, horrible day in what has become a horrible, horrible season.

The teams were;

Burnley: James Trafford, Lorenz Assignon (Vitinho 79), Dara O’Shea, Maxime Estève (Charlie Taylor 62), Hannes Delcroix, Aaron Ramsey (Jay Rodriguez 63), Sander Berge, Josh Brownhill, Wilson Odobert (Jacob Bruun Larsen 80), Zeki Amdouni (Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson ht), David Datro Fofana. Subs not used: Arijanet Muric, Josh Cullen, Jack Cork, Manuel Benson.
Yellow Cards: Aaron Ramsey, Lorenz Assignon.

Arsenal: David Raya, Ben White (Cédric Soares 69), William Saliba, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, Martin Ødegaard, Declan Rice (Jorginho 79), Kai Havertz (Emile Smith Rowe 84), Bukayo Saka (Reiss Nelson 69), Leandro Trossard (Eddie Nketiah 69), Gabriel Martinelli. Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale, Mohamed Elneny, Mauro Bandeira, James Sweet.
Yellow Card: Bukayo Saka.

Referee: Jarred Gillett (Australia).

Attendance: 21,311.

Click HERE to vote for your man of the match.
Click HERE to post your player ratings.

Follow UpTheClarets:

Share this page :