Arsenal travelled to Turf Moor to face Burnley and managed to eke out a 1-0 win that saw their winning run stretch to eight games, a sequence of wins that no other team has managed this season so far. While talks of a late title challenge are still premature and probably more in the reams of fantasy anyway, they have a genuine chance of finishing 2nd place, and if they can combine that with a successful defence of their FA Cup, Arsenal fans can see this season as a success rather than that of underachievement. Here are a few things we learnt from the game.
Arsenal have a settled team
Any run of 8 successive Premier League wins is nothing to be scoffed at, even if it means some of the games were more difficult than the others. It just shows that Arsenal have managed to find a balance between offence and defence that has started to work for them. More importantly, with all the injured players fully fit now, Arsene Wenger has different options to call upon based on what is required. But the manager seems to have settled with a starting XI that has been doing the job at the fag end of the season.
The forward line is pretty much set with Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud taking up the role of finding the goals, with Mesut Ozil in the number 10 role helping the team by splitting opposition defences. On the right is usually Oxlade-Chamberlain, and in his absence, it seems Aaron Ramsey is being preferred over Theo Walcott and that has worked wonders too. Coquelin and Cazorla are manning the central midfield, while the defence is settled with Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal and Ospina.
Burnley can hurt teams with their attack
While they may not have had success against Arsenal, Burnleya s Vokes and Ings definitely gave a lot of headaches to the Arsenal defence, especially when Mertesacker was left to deal with one-on-one situations. Even when it came to a straight out race for the ball between the strikers and Koscielny, the French defender almost always found himself on the losing end. It was unfortunate that Burnley did not get the goal that they so desperately wanted, but it was still a good sign that they came close on quite a few occasions.
This could prove to be pivotal for the team threatened with relegation, with 6 games remaining in their fixture list. As they showed in their win against Manchester City, they have the capability to beat even the big teams, and if they can bring it together for the last few games in the season, they have a real chance of saving their season and remaining in the Premier League for one more season. But they also need to ensure that they make every chance count and not be wasteful as they were against Arsenal, where despite all the pressure they put on the gunners defence, it came to nought.
Aaron Ramsey is back in form
In the last season, Aaron Ramsey could do no wrong, and in fact, was involved in everything right that Arsenal did. He had a phenomenal season and seemed to be scoring in every game. There was no doubt he was one of the main reasons why Arsenal spent so long at the top of the table before their season eventually fizzled out, as it so often does. Ramsey was also the one who scored the winning goal that won them the FA Cup last season, ending the trophy drought once and for all.
While he did start the season with a couple of goals, injuries meant he has not had the same impact this time around. But it seems hea s getting back to his best again, especially from the right hand side, where hea s helping out in defence and in offence. He has been involved in 5 of Arsenala s goals in the last 4 games in the Premier League, and that is a statistic that will give joy to the fans.