Daily Archives: November 2, 2014
Arsenal 3 (Sanchez 70′, 90′, Chambers 72′) – Burnley 0
With the Gunners starting the Premier League campaign in a rather slow fashion, it was high time they started amassing the points from whenever the chances afforded themselves and playing a side like Burnley was a perfect opportunity to grab three points. Arsene Wenger stuck with the side that won Sunderland but it was interesting see Alexis Sanchez play behind Danny Welbeck instead of the flanks we’ve been accustomed to seeing him play.
Arsenal drew first blood when Welbeck teed up Santi Cazorla but he fired a tame shot that was easy pickings for the goalkeeper. Cazorla is a player that is desperately searching for a goal and his bad luck was to continue all game long. The Spaniard was impeded by Boyd but Alexis’ free kick didn’t threaten the goalie. The Ox stole the ball from Duff and surged into the danger area before dinking a neat ball to Cazorla’s path but the Spanish maestro blasted his shot wide.
Burnley had a rear foray forward that almost saw Mathieu Flamini concede an own goal but Wojciech Szczesny showed great reactions to anticipate the ball. Alexis shimmied past a marker before cushioning the ball to the Ox. The English speedster found Cazorla but the Spaniard fired a rather tame shot, much to the frustrations of the fans. Welbeck showed great determination to dash with the ball before feeding Cazorla that threaded a neat ball to Alexis. The Chilean hotshot curled a goal-bound shot that missed by a lick of paint.
Arsenal continued to ask questions of the Burnley defense but the team’s rearguard were water-tight at the back and one was wondering what the Gunners had to do to unlock the vault of their backline. Against the run of play, Burnley provided a scary moment when Danny Ings got in behind the defense and Szczesny was caught in No Man’s Land but Per Mertesacker was on hand to mop things up and avert the danger.
After another dismal attempt on goal from Cazorla, Arsenal finally broke the deadlock when Chambers swung in a brilliant cross (his initial crosses were Sagna-esque) that was headed home by Alexis, yes, Alexis de la Work Rate. How the Chilean managed to challenge for the ball, yet alone head it in was beyond me but in all honesty, I didn’t care. It was one nil to the Arsenal and that was all that mattered.
I think it has become a normal trend in football for defensive teams to open the floodgates when they finally concede a goal after long shifts of great defensive work. Take the 2013/14 Champions League final for instance – Atletico held on till the 90th minute before Sergio Ramos nodded that ball beyond Thibaut Courtois to send the game to extra time. In the extra time, it was evident that the Atletico defense was clearly jaded and their rivals punished them with three extra goals to put the game beyond that.
Just two minutes after Burnley had conceded, Arsenal had a corner that saw Welbeck’s shot blocked on the line before Chambers poked the ball home from point-blank range to extend Arsenal’s lead. Ramsey wanted to get a bite of the cherry but his attempt was launched into orbit. The manager brought on Lukas Podolski and the fit again Theo Walcott that earned a rousing reception for every touch on the ball.
Podolski made his presence felt almost immediately when he attempted a lovely scissors kick that was magnificently saved by Tom Heaton. Szczesny was spotted clapping his hands after that attempt but one wonders if he was applauding Podolski’s technically astute attempt or his counterpart’s save – or both! Walcott was the next to fire in an attempt from a rather tight angle but his shot was saved by Heaton. Podolski received a lobbed pass from Walcott and blasted a shot that slammed the post. Heaton made another superb save from a Ramsey Quaresma-esque attempt to keep the scoreline respectable.
However, Sanchez wasn’t going to be denied his second brace in a week when he latched onto Kieran Gibb’s pass, sorted his feet and side footed the ball home. The game was done and dusted and there was no coming back for Burnley.
Wenger ran out of superlatives for Alexis in his press conference, stating how moving him to the middle has been a stroke of genius. Having Alexis further up the pitch has seen him take a Dennis Bergkamp-esque role and with his work rate and creativity, he would be a potent threat to any team going forward. With the likes of Walcott on his way to full fitness and Olivier Giroud “ahead of schedule” things are looking good again.
Thanks to Alexis, the man that turned up yet again.
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