Arsenal started their home campaign nicely with a win over Burnley as Dani Ceballos shined on his full debut to get the season rolling.
Arsenal fans took to Twitter to showcase their displeasure that Dani Ceballos is only on a season-long loan deal. His performance in Arsenal’s win over Burnley would have triggered a protest to make the club sign him permanently; such was his impact. But, Arsenal as a whole, displayed great character to collect all three points in their first home game of the season.
Alexandre Lacazette was back in the side after not featuring against Newcastle United and began in style, scoring the opening goal in the 12th minute. Ceballos was the provider from the corner as Arsenal got the ball rolling. The Gunners had reasonable control over proceedings, although Burnley capitalised over Arsenal’s defensive lapses to score an equaliser through Ashley Barnes.
Nicolas Pepe’s much-awaited arrival on the pitch happened at half-time as the Ivorian came in place of Reiss Nelson. Pepe instantly provided a new spark in Arsenal’s attack. He fed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Nick Pope saved his strike on goal. Ceballos then offered yet another opportunity, this time to Aubameyang and the striker expertly finished from outside the box. 2-1.
There were other notable performers in David Luiz, Nacho Monreal and Matteo Guendouzi, while Joe Willock impressed for a second game running. Arsenal did what they haven’t in ten years as the North London side registered a win in the first two games of the season.
Overall, Arsenal look set to take on Liverpool next week, but until then, they should savour this victory over Burnley. Here’s how Arsenal’s players have been rated from their win against the Clarets at the Emirates.
Bernd Leno: 7/10
Made some decent saves, but was susceptible when the ball was high and found it increasingly difficult to deal with Burnley’s crosses. As for the Burnley goal, although he wasn’t at fault for the defence left him hanging, the German does need to communicate well with his defence. He would be disappointed not to get a clean sheet.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
Another effective performance as Maitland-Niles continues to improve defensively and in the final third. Dwight McNeil did give him a tough time, but Maitland-Niles returned the favour multiple times. A solid display from the versatile right-back who is set to deputise at least until Hector Bellerin’s return.
Cannot call Sokratis clumsy for his role in Burnley’s goal, but his ability to charge into challenges often leaves him out of position. That moment was probably his only real blip in his game on the afternoon, but otherwise solid at the back.
David Luiz: 6.5/10
Similar to Sokratis’s role in Burnley’s goal, Luiz lost Barnes when the Greek was pulled out of position. Overall, Luiz had a good game, and his ball-playing ability was on full display. He also showcased his ability to play precise long balls, although it is still a work in progress at his new club. He is likely to grow from here.
Nacho Monreal: 8/10
Another solid display from Monreal, who unlike at Newcastle, also got effectively forward. Defensive displays from Monreal in this game would certainly not make Sead Kolasinac happy, and the Bosnian will have to fight for his place now. Monreal did not harm his chances to start the Liverpool match.
Matteo Guendouzi: 7.5/10
Energetic all over the pitch and effectively brilliant. Guendouzi has undoubtedly matured from last season, and his performances are showing a pinch of maturity and leadership. Controlled the midfield, won the ball five times through perfectly timed tackles in the first half alone. It does look like he’s here to stay in this Arsenal midfield and play a vital role this season.
Joe Willock: 7.5/10
Willock is one of those players who isn’t flashy, does the job well and works in tandem with fellow midfielders. His quick feet is also a surprising attribute in his locker, and overall, he got into right positions to keep the tempo going. Always in the thick of things during the game and did no damage to his chances of playing more this season.
Dani Ceballos: 8.5/10
A terrific full-debut for Ceballos as he helped Arsenal secure a vital win. He was the provider of both assists to Arsenal’s goals, but his game in midfield is what caught the eye. Twisting and turning, winning the ball back and the consensus was that Arsenal have at last found a viable heir to Santi Cazorla, albeit only for one season.
Reiss Nelson: 6/10
Another good outing for Nelson who continued his rising form in Arsenal’s attack. Selected ahead of Nicolas Pepe, Nelson did have some moments during the game, including a shot on target. He will get enough playing time this season despite the congestion of attackers in the Arsenal squad.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8/10
He may have had a less impactful game compared to the last one where he played centrally. But Aubameyang’s winning goal made all the difference Arsenal should be concerned with. Apart from the goal, he was a constant threat to Burnley’s defence and supported the attack very well from the left side of the pitch.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7.5/10
What a goal to begin the afternoon, as Lacazette expertly controlled the ball amid intense pressure and crowding from the Burnley defenders. He controlled the ball and smashed it home despite being in an uncomfortable position. However, he did not yet look a 100% fit and should regain some of his sharpness before the crucial game to Liverpool.
Nicolas Pepe: 7/10
That one nutmeg that brought the Emirates crowd to its feet, Pepe offered significant threat and a glimpse of what is to come in the next few matches. A menace on the right side and created two good chances for Aubameyang, including an excellent opportunity to wrap up the game in the final stages. The promise was there; today, he showed some of the substance he carries in his game.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
Sent on late to shore up the side defensively. Did a fine job, especially getting into a tussle with Barnes that denied Burnley a late chance to build up before the final whistle.
Lucas Torreira: 6.5/10
Like Kolasinac, Torreira was sent to bolster the midfield and did a fine job. Could have scored with a chance created by Willock but Pope was there to save his well-directed shot.