Gunners Edge Past Burnley to Continue Winning Streak
Burnley 0 Arsenal 1 (Ramsey 12′)
Arsene Wenger and his side knew the task that was before them – a dogged Burnley side with quite a decent home record. With the Gunners winning seven games on the bounce, there were fears of complacency but Wenger had to let his lads know that focus was key. As expected, he stuck with the same XI that was so impressive against Liverpool. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it yeah?
Burnley play with a compact system that involves smothering the opponent and in the course of the game, they did that superbly but credit must go to the Gunners for another gritty performance that was enough to go back home with three precious points because in the end, that’s what matters.
Arsenal drew first blood when Alexis Sanchez swung in a free kick that was saved by Tom Heaton. Sanchez was to have a frustrating evening, and he was fouled more times that the amount of one on ones Lionel Messi scores. Yes, there have always been a complain or two about Per Mertesacker’s pace but it was fully exploited when Sam Vokes charged in from the left, leaving the German to eat his dust but David Ospina made himself big to block the effort on goal. Sanchez and Mesut Ozil combined perfectly together but the attacking play lacked end product as Alexis grazed his shot over the bar.
Arsenal finally got their breakthrough from the right definition of the world, carry. Francis Coquelin made a great interception (he was to go on to have 11 interceptions in the game) and fed a rather heavy pass to Alexis. The Chilean got through on goal with a blasted effort but if was blocked by the Burnley defense. The ball fell kindly to Ozil’s path and his first time volley was parried by Heaton. With the Burnley defense failing to clear their lines, Alexis let another one rip but it was blocked again until Aaron Ramsey smashed the roof of the net with a goal that proved to be the match winner.
The home side tried to respond with a well-taken free kick from Trippier that was parried away by Ospina. Burnley gained some momentum in the second half and pressed the Gunners had but Arsene Wenger’s side had a couple of breakaways. Ozil threaded a neat back-heeled pass to Sanchez but his effort was saved by the goalie. Ozil was in the thick of things yet again when he chipped a lovely ball to Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus’ effort was blocked. He had the technique in him to hit the ball first time but he chose not to.
Burnley almost got an equalizer when Mee nutmeged Bellerin before swinging a cross that missed everybody including Boyd that miscued his attempted shot on goal. Danny Ings hasn’t been on the score sheet from quite some time and he attempted an acrobatic effort that was saved by Ospina. Arsene Wenger summoned Danny Welbeck into the fray and he had a couple of attempts but the Englishman’s finishing was wayward.
At the sound of Mike Dean’s whistle, the Gunners had equaled a record they set in March 2004 – an outstanding eight wins in a row in the Premier League. Arsenal is one of the hottest teams in Europe based on form and it can only get better for Arsene Wenger and his mind.
The key thing about this run is focus and Per Mertesacker has stated that he and his teammates aren’t thinking about the title, but aiming to finish in a strong position,
“It’s not in our hands anymore. They [Chelsea] have a decent lead so it’s very difficult for us at the moment, we’re just focusing on ourselves and that has made us very strong in recent weeks.
“It has been a fantastic journey throughout the whole season but at the moment we are quite sharp and we’re trying to take advantage of that. We want to try to continue that because it makes us stronger and gives us a lot of credit and respect.
“We are on a good run and Chelsea have been absolutely amazing this season, so we’re trying to compete with them at the top. It’s not in our hands anymore but we’re trying to focus on ourselves.
“Great togetherness, great spirit and great cohesion is what makes us strong. Even if we have dropped points this season, we came back even stronger. At the moment we can’t learn from defeat because of our great run, we have to learn from victories. There’s a lot to improve but the win at Burnley is just about the result.”
These are the words of a true leader. Mertesacker was not among the goals but he had an awesome game. According to WhoScored, the BFG made 12 clearances, three interceptions and won nine aerial duels, which showed his dominance in defense. Coquelin beasted yet again making an impressive 11 interceptions breaking up play and just doing what he does best. The midfield dynamo has stated that this was one of the club’s hardest wins and most important.
Up next is Reading at Wembley, I’m sure the boys are fired up for it.
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