Arsenal secured their fifth consecutive win in the Premier League when they beat Burnley at Turf Moore 1-0. The Clarets were very impressive throughout the game and were extremely unlucky to lose with the last kick of the game. Their game plan at home worked again as the visitors were left frustrated in their attempts of creating scoring opportunities. After securing wonderful home wins against Liverpool and Watford, the team looked to have gained much confidence in their strategic application of gameplay on Sunday and also had good opportunities themselves. However, in the end, it was Arsenal who won it in bizarre fashion and allowed Arsene Wenger to celebrate his 20th anniversary as the coach of the club happily. Let’s look at some of the major points we observed from the game:
Sean Dyche utilized the same strategy which served him so well against Liverpool and Watford as the hosts set a deep defensive line to restrict spaces in behind for the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott to run into. The two central defender of Burnley in Michael Keane and Ben Mee were also very mature to adjust the line according to their need and cover it with their pace. The defensive duo were at their top of the game-winning all of their attempted headers, making 3 interceptions, 15 clearances and 4 exceptional blocks inside the penalty box.
Alexis Sanchez As A Striker
It was really a strange game for Alexis Sanchez who had a very good game according to some of his statistics but was really poor once again as a striker and struggled against the opposition employing a low block once again. Alexis unable to run in behind dropped deep a lot and created no less than 8 chances for his teammates but there was only one problem and that was the lack of forward runs or a presence inside the box which was needed at those moments.
Basically, with Mesut Ozil stuttering once again, it became even harder to influence the game in the forward areas as Burnley got men behind the ball at all times. The absence of Olivier Giroud was felt on those occasions and while Sanchez can be efficient against a high backline, against teams who set up like Burnley did, he will not be effective as a striker which was proved again on Sunday.
Arsenal’s Defensive Solidity
After a long time, Arsenal fans do have an exciting and reliable defensive partnership to look forward to in Koscielny and Mustafi (Kostafi). It was very refreshing to see that even when the team pushed hard to break down the hosts who camped in their own half, the visitors retained their shape and the maturity in terms of the defensive discipline and positioning.
Mustafi, in particular, was very impressive in the way he dealt with Sam Vokes who offered some competition to the defender. With Xhaka doing a good job in the defensive midfield the Kostafi partnership really caught the eye in what was a big test of keeping concentration and not get carried away, for them.