Finally we get a point against Arsenal
Our run of consecutive defeats against Arsenal, stretching to ten games in the Premier League, came to an end with yesterday’s 0-0 draw but we were so close to getting our first win against them in over 45 years.
We had the chances to win it, most notably through Jay Rodriguez who saw his volleyed effort come down off the underside of the bar and land on the line, but, even so, this was another really good result for us in what was undoubtedly an excellent performance.
I’m never so sure if there is anything in it but I always think it best that we get horrendous weather when the likes of Arsenal visit the Turf but it wasn’t to be, the strong winds of Saturday had all but disappeared and they were good conditions for football although Mikel Arteta did find some things to moan about.
It’s surprising what a couple of wins can do. Ahead of the Leicester game there was a real air of negativity around the Turf. It was the defeat against Aston Villa that had deflated everyone knowing that the next four games were Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal, and when the first of them ended in a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea there was some real doom and gloom around the place.
Things change in football. We beat Leicester, we won at Manchester United and suddenly things were looking a lot better. Even though it was Arsenal, a team we have never even been in front against in the Premier League, there was real belief among the supporters that we could get something from the game.
Arsenal probably had the first two chances of the game. Alexandre Lacazette, a player who I’ve never thought is very good, headed the first of them hopelessly wide and then Aubameyang, who is a good player, shot even more hopelessly wide after he’d sprung the offside trap as the visitors employed some long ball football.
If that was a worrying start, that’s all it was. We were soon into our stride and taking the game to Arsenal. The only thing that seemed to stop us in our stride was the constant worry of Arsenal players hitting the deck. Had the strong winds returned? Were they being blown over? Strangely, we seemed far more able to stay on our feet.
Our first effort on goal was from Jay Rodriguez whose shot from outside the box was saved really well by Bernd Leno down low to his right, but it was followed up with a Dwight McNeil shot flying just over and Jeff Hendrick coming close with a shot made difficult when he had to dig the ball out from as it came across from McNeil.
More than once we worried them with corners and when Chris Kavanagh blew for half time I bet Arsenal were relieved to get in at 0-0.
Arsenal didn’t seem to have an answer. Both of our full backs were causing them countless problems and they collected yellow cards trying to stop both. Matt Lowton was nothing like the player who has struggled recently. Charlie Taylor was frightening them to death coming down the left.
But the one big chance came with around 12 minutes remaining. The ball had come in from the left and gone out onto the right hand side. Hendrick, after having one attempt to get the ball back in blocked, played it back for Ashley Westwood. McNeil got his head to it and in came Jay Rod whose volley smashed against the underside of the bar. I, like so many Burnley fans, was on my feet believing we’d scored. We hadn’t, it had dropped down onto the line and the one piece of technology that actually works, goal line technology, did its job.
We’d seen little of Arsenal other than an Aubameyang header that had gone wide but they did start to get more of the ball in the closing minutes of the game. We got to 90 minutes at 0-0 and up went the board for three minutes.
Was I the only one who feared we would concede a controversial goal once we were in added time? What would have been a perfect scenario was to have won it 1-0 with a stoppage time own goal from David Luiz, now that would have been anti-football.
It was mixed feelings I suppose at the end. You could do no more than enthuse at how well we’d played. Sean Dyche suggested it might have been our best performance of the season and it really is hard to disagree with that. But added to that was the frustration that we’d only picked up one point from a game we should have gone on and won.
Arsenal have taken four points off us this season. They will surely sit and wonder how on earth they did because they didn’t deserve to beat us at the Emirates and, while not quite Dick Turpin like, they hardly deserved the point they got yesterday.
As for us, what a difference three games has made. From wondering where on earth the next win was coming from, we’ve now got up to 31 points. In all our seasons in the Premier League, the most number of points that was ever needed to stay up was 36 in 2014/15 season when we went down with 33. I think it might need a couple more this season so we’re not there yet. These last three games have given us all a massive lift though, on the pitch, the dugout and in the stands.
What a return to form it has been and at such an opportune time. Now we get a week off before travelling to Southampton a week on Saturday. That, until recently, looked one of the more inviting fixtures but not any longer. They might have been beaten at Liverpool two days ago but they have won five of their last eight games and are currently behind us only on goal difference.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Robbie Brady, Matěj Vydra.
Yellow Card: James Tarkowski.
Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Héctor Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Bukayo Saka (Lucas Torreira ht), Mattéo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli, Mesut Özil (Joe Willock 63), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette (Eddie Nketiah 89). Subs not used: Emiliano Martinez, Sokratis, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pépé.
Yellow Cards: Mesut Özil, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester).
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