Bang, Bang, Bang Gunners Kill Off Burnley Late On!
The Emirates Stadium
Saturday 1st November 2014 @3pm Kick-Off
It is proving to be a nightmare season so far for the Clarets and the misery continued against the Gunners on Saturday with a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates. Burnley fans were of course heavily praying for a shock win against high flying Arsenal but knew hand on heart the chances of that happening was pretty remote. There was perhaps some hope with the score still at 0-0 and only 20 minutes to go but then three quick Arsenal goals including a brace from hotshot Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez over an 18 minute spell condemned the Clarets to their fate as normal service was resumed. If you actually analyse the game, despite containing the Gunners for most of the match we created few chances and in the end Heaton with some remarkable saves kept the score reasonably respectable. The truth is we were outclassed and although some 'glass half-full` fans will remind those feeling low that results against such teams will not decide our chances of survival the downhearted can easily counter that by asking which teams are we actually capable of beating at this level? We have not won yet and that includes games against teams in the bottom end of the table. The longer we go on without a win the more difficult it will be to keep morale and confidence high.
The defeat against Arsenal leaves the Clarets firmly rooted at the foot of the table with still no win this season from ten games (eleven if you count the Owls Capital One Cup defeat) and things are now certainly looking desperate. Burnley have only collected four points (4 draws) from a maximum 30 available and they are still three points behind second from bottom QPR. At least there was no joy for the Rs on Saturday either following their 2-1 defeat at Chelsea and fourth from bottom Leicester on nine points also failed to pull further ahead of the Clarets after going down 1-0 at home to West Brom. Third from bottom Sunderland with eight points play their game on Monday night and that is an interesting one away to Palace who only have one point more than the Black Cats whilst being ahead of the Foxes on goal difference only! It looks like any result in that clash would be satisfactory for the Clarets and would keep at least one team within catching distance. It is now though vital we get that elusive first win in our next game at home to Hull City next Saturday if there is to be any hope of turning round this miserable season so far and providing some hope of survival. Burnley now have four home games from their next six matches and their two away games at Stoke and struggling QPR are also winnable. We could be entering our most crucial period of the season where amassing points will be vital. Come on lads let`s get out of the bottom three by Christmas and significantly add to the squad in the January window to boost our chances of survival.
As expected a fit again Dean Marney returned to centre midfield but there was a surprise up front where Sean Dyche decided to keep a 4-4-2 formation rather than the mooted 4-5-1. That was perhaps a surprise in itself against Arsenal but the bigger surprise was that Marvin Sordell was preferred as the partner for Ings up front with the Juke dropping to the bench. Ings actually played just behind Sordell and Arfield was back to his usual position on the wing at the expense of Kightly who was back on the bench. Stephen Ward also retained his place at left back with Ben Mee once again on the bench. The line-up then was as follows :
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Ward, Arfield, Marney, Jones, Boyd, Ings, Sordell
Subs: Gilks, Keane, Mee, Kightly, Wallace, Chalobah, Jutkiewicz
Full Match Report
It was a nice sunny day in North London as referee Craig Pawson got the match underway. The Emirates might be an impressive stadium but it always seems to lack atmosphere. Arsenal fans never sound that passionate and only tend to go for polite applause at times. It was left to 2000 or so Burnley fans to try and raise the noise levels but we all knew this was going to be one difficult battle to win with the opposition holding all the modern weaponry in terms of both quality and quantity! The Clarets though started well and caught the Gunners out on the break after nine minutes with Ings and Boyd both involved before the hosts managed to clear their lines. You just sensed though that Arsenal were patiently biding their time ready to pounce. It needed Trippier to block an attempt by England international, Danny Welbeck after the former Manchester United striker played a quick one-two and charged into the box to unleash a shot on target. The hosts then had a strong claim for a penalty from a corner turned down by the referee. Boyd already booked earlier made contact with his arm as the ball floated over from the right but despite irate claims for a penalty especially from Per Mertesacker, the officials gave the former Hull wingman the benefit of the doubt and turned down all the Gunners` appeals. Arsenal kept pressing though with Burnley at most only creating half-chances. Next it was the turn of Cazorla to put Burnley under pressure. He latched onto the ball following an impressive turn by Sanchez that led to a cross from Chambers. His volley though flew just a few inches wide of Heaton`s left hand post. After 30 minutes Burnley created their first real chance. Boyd did all the hard work to allow Arfield space to nearly set-up Ings on the penalty spot but it wasn`t to be. The ever dangerous Arsenal top scorer, Sanchez then came close at the other end with an 18 yarder that was curling towards the back of the net until Heaton dived to his left to save the day once again for the Clarets. Ings was just off target with a shot from distance but the Gunners once again pressed forward. It only seemed a matter of time before Sanchez would score but once again he was thwarted after cutting in from the left to unleash a powerful right-footed shot only to see the ball skim past the upright. Sanchez was wreaking havoc now and with Burnley`s defence under pressure, the visitors` hesitancy allowed Cazorla to find the Chilean out on the left with a pin-point accurate pass. Heaton saved the day yet again though to block the danger. Somehow Burnley had survived the first-half and went into the dressing room at half-time with the game still in stalemate!
Both managers decided not to make any changes for the start of the second half and it was the Clarets who came out of the blocks the quicker putting Arsene Wenger`s men under some early pressure. Ings sliding in just missed out making contact with the ball much to the relief of Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Burnley were now enjoying their best spell of the game and you could sense the Arsenal fans were getting somewhat frustrated with the Clarets now seemingly in control. The Gunners were being forced into mistakes and belief in the away end began to improve. Wenger sensed he needed to make a change and in the 64th minute on came home crowd favourite Aaron Ramsey to surprisingly replace captain Mikel Arteta. Four minutes later Dyche made a change of his own with Jutkiewicz coming on to replace Sordell. The Gunners though thought they had finally broken the deadlock after Mertesacker picked out Chambers with a through-ball that got in behind Ward. Chambers in the six yard box then cut the ball back to find Cazorla who looked certain to score until somehow Michael Duff at full stretch managed to block the attempt. Somehow we were holding on by the skin of our death but that all changed with 20 minutes to go when the hosts finally got their noses in front. Chambers picked out the ever-dangerous Sanchez with a subime cross. His downward header from just eight yards out gave Heaton no chance and within two minutes the Gunners had doubled their lead! How many times this season have we conceded yet again so close to going behind or drawing level? The Burnley defence should have done better clearing the danger from a corner but there was Chambers who drilled the ball home from close range. The game was now over for the Clarets with just 18 minutes of normal play remaining and they were now in danger of suffering a heavy defeat as the Gunners onslaught continued. It was now time for Heaton to thwart the Gunners even more with a sequence of impressive saves. First Lukas Podolski was denied by an instinctive, superb save by the Burnley keeper. Substitute Theo Walcott and then Aaron Ramsey both had to endure spectacular saves from Heaton before Podolski thumped the post with a spectacular volley. In the end though Arsenal had more ammunition in the locker and by now Burnley were firing blanks. Another bang this time from Sanchez`s gun finally sealed a miserable day for Clarets fans after the Chilean scored his brace slotting home from close range with seconds remaining. The difference in class and quality of player on display by the hosts was there for all to see and realistically how can we be expected to compete against a side that contains one player (Sanchez) worth about £35 million when we have only spent £45 million on players in the whole of our history? These are worrying times for the Clarets, make no mistake about that. Worryingly we have now conceded 15 goals in our last 5 games (average 3/game) and only managed to score four times. The club and the squad are out of their depth in this league and a decision has to be made whether to roll over and give up or try and do something in the January window before it is too late (if it`s not already by then)
Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Cazorla, Arteta (Ramsey 64), Flamini, Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Walcott 80), Welbeck (Podolski 80)
Subs Not Used: Martinez, Rosicky, Sanogo, Bellerin
Goals: Sánchez 70, 90 Chambers 72
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Ward, Arfield, Marney (Chalobah 80), Jones, Boyd, Ings, Sordell (Jutkiewicz 68)
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Keane, Kightly, Wallace, Mee
Booked: Yellow Card for Boyd (16)
Possession: 68% Arsenal, 32% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)
It's A Dyche View!
'We had been solid before Tom Heaton had to make great saves but after they scored they opened the game up. They have pace, power and energy but they also have tactical awareness.
'It's not just about one win. We need more than one win, make no mistake. That is the challenge. It is a high state of learning in the Premier League.'