Arsenal maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Burnley on Saturday afternoon. Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring for the Gunners before Ashley Barnes levelled for the visitors. Before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a second-half winner in a composed performance from Unai Emery’s side.
The Home side started from the front foot as Lacazette’s point-blank header drew a good save from Pope. The resulting corner saw the Gunners open the scoring, Lacazette picked up the ball at the near post, and turned Erik Pieters and managed to hook the ball through the legs of Pope to hand Arsenal a deserving lead.
Arsenal fans were nervy as Leno flapped under the high ball, and eventually, the backline cleared away the danger. The signs were there that all was not completely well for the Gunners defensively. Burnley pushed for an equalizer, yet Arsenal held firm.
Arsenal has a new verve this season, and seem to be up for the fight. Teenager Joe Willock body checked Eric Peters which was greeted with cheers from the Arsenal faithful. That said, Sean Dyche’s side continued to trouble from set-pieces and Ashley Barnes was unable to convert from close range as Leno came out to clutch the ball.
Arsenal could have easily doubled their lead with Guendouzi coming close to a first-ever Premier League goal for the Gunners, as his 25-yard strike was cleared by the feet of Pope following a surging run from Dani Ceballos.
Burnley pulled a goal back with minutes left in the half. A shot from Dwight McNeil rebounded off Sokratis and fell kindly to Ashley Barnes who stabbed the ball into the back of the net for a third goal of the season.
Unperturbed Arsenal snapped back into life, and had the ball in the back of the net although a quick VAR check was needed to rule out Reiss Nelson’s goal. However, the signs were there that the Gunners were more than capable of fighting back in the second half.
Emery moved quickly to effect change in the game and brought on record signing Nicolas Pepe for Reiss Nelson at the start of the second half. Five minutes in, Nacho Monreal cut the ball to Aubameyang on the edge of the box, who fired well over.
Pepe buzzed around, and nearly assisted Aybyamang but the snapshot from the Gabon international was saved by the feet of Pope. Whilst Pope thwarted the lively Ceballo’s with a diving save.
Ceballos had a crucial hand in the Gunners winner. The Spanish midfielder nicked the ball to Aybyamang who was afforded too much space before arrowing his shot into the bottom corner. It was a deserved goal for the Gunners, who had pushed throughout the second half.
Ceballos was subbed to a standing ovation just after the 83rd minute. The on-loan Real Madrid was the star man for his side, playing with a freedom that Arsenal has certainly lacked in recent years.
Dwight McNeil drifted a header over the bar, it would prove to be the only clear chance of note for the visitors as Arsenal saw out the visitors with a rare sense composure. Bigger challenges await for Arsenal, namely Liverpool and Spurs in the next two weeks, but this performance certainly shows that the Gunners are up for the battling it out for Champions League football this season.