Thomas Partey stood out while Granit Xhaka played his part in the final result, as Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Burnley on Saturday.
Arsenal made a brilliant start to the game, taking the lead in the sixth minute, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang produced a brilliant finish after being found by Willian following a fine run by the Brazilian. Thereafter, the Gunners were the stronger of the two sides, although chances came few and far between. Nevertheless, the next goal came completely against the run of play.
Granit Xhaka received the ball from Bernd Leno inside the Arsenal box and immediately came under pressure from a Burnley press. This is when he failed to clear the ball, instead smashing it against Chris Wood, who gleefully accepted the easiest goal of his career. This meant the two sides went into the half-time break surprisingly still on level terms, with the score reading 1-1.
Post the interval, both goalkeepers were forced into action, but the goal was not breached for the rest of the game. The two sides, though, did come close to breaking the deadlock again as the game reached a frantic end. However, the score remained at 1-1, with both teams sharing the spoils. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mikel Arteta’s men.
Bernd Leno: 7/10
A game of hits and misses for Leno, who should have chosen to clear the ball away instead of playing the pass to Granit Xhaka in the lead-up to Burnley’s goal. However, the Arsenal no. 1 made a few important saves, especially in the second half, to keep his team in the game, with the one to deny Erik Pieters standing out.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
A surprise selection, particularly for the right-back slot, Chambers made a decent enough return to the side. Not tested a fair bit, the Englishman made 5 clearances while being solid in the air with 4 aerial duels won. Will be interesting to see if he is given a run in the side now.
David Luiz: 7/10
David Luiz does not always manage to remain rock solid at the back but against Burnley, he barely put a foot wrong. The Brazilian moved the ball forward reasonably well and won 7 of the 9 duels he contested while making 3 clearances. Not to be blamed for the goal that Burnley scored.
Pablo Mari: 7/10
Starting ahead of Gabriel Magalhaes once again, Mari was a solid presence at the heart of the Arsenal defence, hardly giving Matej Vydra an inch around the box. Won 9 duels over the course of the game and was particularly imposing in the air while also making a couple of tackles and crucial interventions.
Kieran Tierney: 6/10
The usual swagger was missing from Tierney’s game on Saturday, and he just could not manage to influence the proceedings in the final third as much as he usually does. Did play 1 key pass but over the course of the game, he was quite wasteful, losing possession a staggering 23 times. Not tested much at the back.
Thomas Partey: 8/10
The standout performer for Arsenal, Partey sparked the move that eventually saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang break the deadlock. Continued to move the ball forward with a lot of precision and purpose. Had that presence and aura around him in midfield and it is clear that Arsenal are better with him in the side.
Granit Xhaka: 4/10
Bernd Leno on Xhaka: “We wanted to build out again because it had been working & it was very unlucky from Granit but it happens. There is always a risk to play out from the back but this is our style. I think we have more than enough situations where it works to our advantage.” pic.twitter.com/tvBkAyB3iP
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) March 6, 2021
The pantomime villain from the reverse fixture once again suffered versus Burnley. This time around, he had been hoping to make amends for the horrors of the last meeting but a moment of sheer foolishness handed Burnley the equaliser on a silver platter. Quite wasteful on the ball as well, losing possession 17 times. Sometimes, Xhaka just cannot catch a break.
Bukayo Saka: 6/10
One of those occasions when Saka could not manage to impact the game all that much. Some of his trademark touches were on show while he linked up well with Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard. However, Saka could not make a couple of chances from Aubameyang count. A rare blip.
Martin Odegaard: 6/10
Not the most satisfying of performances from Odegaard, who did not have many opportunities to showcase his abilities as well as he would have wanted to. Did set up a couple of chances and was one of the few Arsenal players who posed a fair bit of threat in the second half before inexplicably being taken off around the hour mark.
Willian made a fine start to the game as it was his run that opened up the opportunity for captain Aubameyang, who then handed Arsenal the lead. Showed a lot of purpose whenever he got on the ball but was also quite unimaginative once Burnley sat in their shape.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7/10
The game could not have started on a better note for Aubameyang, who bundled the ball into the net early on to end a slick move. Showed a lot of incisiveness in the remainder of the first half, linking up particularly well with Saka, who was set up twice with promising chances that came to nought. Influence faded as the game wore on.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 6, 2021
Alexandre Lacazette: 5/10
On for Odegaard, Lacazette was a strange substitution as he did not really add to the game, whereas the Norwegian had been making some strides before he was taken off. The Arsenal fans would have been scratching their heads.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
On for Willian, Pepe posed a great deal of threat after being subbed in but missed a couple of big chances. Nearly earned a penalty after a shot from point-blank range hit Erik Pieters’ shoulder, but after initially being awarded a spot-kick, VAR reversed the decision.
Dani Ceballos: N/A
A late introduction in place of Thomas Partey, Ceballos did not have enough time to make an impact.