Arsenal got back to winning ways with a battling victory over Burnley at the Emirates as Aubameyang’s brace and Ozil’s creative masterclass earned three points.
After going 22-games unbeaten Arsenal suffered back to back defeats and Unai Emery definitely needed a win to make things right. A win is what Arsenal got when they hosted relegation battlers Burnley at the Emirates, although the Clarets made them work hard to earn all three points. The Gunners eventually won the game 3-1, courtesy of goals from Aubameyang and substitute Alex Iwobi.
Arsenal started brightly, and at the 14th minute mark, Ozil split open a tight Burnley defence to send in a beautiful ball for Kolasinac, who squared it for Aubameyang to score from the outside of his boot. Arsenal then maintained their lead going into halftime, and for the first time, this season in the league led at half-time.
The second period began rather quickly as Arsenal scored again in under three minutes after Kolasinac went ahead with a counterattack, who passed the ball to Lacazette who in turn sent the ball into the box to Aubameyang who was unmarked. Aubameyang then sent in a thunderous effort past Hart to go top of the Premier League goalscoring charts. 2-0.
Burnley pulled one back through Ashley Barnes and from then on it looked as if Arsenal might be headed towards a nervy finish. Burnley did threaten to score another goal, but some brilliant work from Ozil who ran at the defence with the ball sent in a reverse pass to Iwobi who scored the third to seal all three points. Emery will be delighted at getting back to winning ways.
Here’s how the Arsenal stars fared during the game.
Bernd Leno – 7
An assured performance from the German keeper. The Burnley goal was beyond his control, as it was a defensive mistake. Otherwise, he was spot on in collecting high balls and protecting the goal from set pieces. Made a good save to deny Burnley from going ahead in the first half. Stable enough to keep his spot, no doubt.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6.5
Good performance from Maitland-Niles to cover for Bellerin’s absence. Made some decent attacking runs as well as one inside the box, although nothing came of it. Took a few shots too, but directed one good chance towards Hart. For a verdict on his performance during the game, he is much more suited to being right-back than wing-back.
Sokratis – 8
Top class performance from the Greek defender upon his return from suspension. Won all of his clearances, headers, and duels during the game, and showed what Arsenal missed during their loss to Southampton. His battle with Ashley Barnes was particularly intriguing, something which earned him a booking. Overall, a real defender’s performance.
Nacho Monreal – 6
Monreal started the game at center-half and ended in the treatment room, further adding to Arsenal’s defensive woes. Before he went off in the first half, it looked like he had control of his position and his departure led Emery to change the formation.
Sead Kolasinac – 8.5
Game after game he is growing in stature. The Bosnian defender was yet again a menace in attack, unnerving the Burnley defence with his powerful running and incisive delivery into the box. Made many chances for his teammates, although did get the assist for Arsenal’s first goal. Kolasinac was the main force behind Arsenal’s second game as well, making the brilliant run and providing with the pre-assist for Lacazette.
Granit Xhaka – 7.5
Was doing decently in his preferred midfield role, until the change in shape ensured he was back among a central defensive position. Xhaka did fine in his role and ensured Arsenal grind out the win.
Mohamed Elneny – 6.5
Elneny was playing his first Premier League game this season, after being selected ahead of Lucas Torreira. Despite some nervy moments early on when he was easily dispossessed off the ball many times, Elneny slowly took control of his position and played a good 60 minutes until being replaced by Torreira.
Matteo Guendouzi – 7.5
Guendouzi has been underrated at times, although if one notices, the Frenchman is growing with each match. Against Burnley, especially when Xhaka switched to defence and Torreira absent, he was the passer from midfield. His energy let him control the midfield plays. The best part of his game today was when he started the counter attacks, much like Xhaka, with which Arsenal scored their second of the game.
Mesut Ozil – 8
After his brief absence, and starting his first game in more than a month in the Premier League, Ozil came up with the perfect response to critics. Ozil was the creative maestro for Arsenal, creating the first and third goals. For the first, his defence-splitting pass ended up in Aubameyang scoring while the team’s third goal came due to his mesmerizing run into the box and his pass for Iwobi.
Alexandre Lacazette – 7.5
Lacazette, like always worked his socks off to ensure Arsenal have a firm hold of their attack. Got an assist for the second goal which Aubameyang scored, but otherwise was useful in holding the ball up and his occasional play from with wing created problems for Burnley. Was angry when taken off, but considering the number of games ahead, it indeed was the right decision.
Pierre-Emerick Aumabeyang – 8.5
Since Robin Van Persie in 2011/12, Arsenal have not had a goalscorer to be this active in the race for the golden boot. Aubameyang scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season to race ahead of Mohamed Salah and those goals ensured Arsenal took all three points. Both the goals warranty praise for the striker’s superb finishes.
Stephan Lichtsteiner – 6.5
Came on in the first half for Monreal and slotted in the right side of central defence in the three-man unit. Did well, and overall controlled his areas.
Lucas Torreira – 6
Torreira’s tenacity was missed for 60 mins of the game, as Emery decided to bench him owing to his excursions during midweek. However, when he came on, he did not have the absolute control he usually has, but slowly gained momentum in midfield. Made 3/3 tackles and ensured Burnley did not score more than once.
Alex Iwobi – 6
Iwobi came on for Lacazette in the last ten minutes or so, and did decent work on the left side. In the end, he capped his appearance with Arsenal’s third goal, which effectively sealed the win for his team.