Sean Dyche before the game: ‘The red hot Gunners are here and the last thing I want is getting smashed by them. Let’s face it, we want to win but it is going to be hard. Let’s sit back and allow them no space in and around their box, and hopefully we can nick a goal from a counter or set-piece. Remember, the last thing I want is getting smashed today’.
Arsene before the game: ‘We are on a good run and need to win today. They might sit back and play on the counter so Francis needs to play disciplined in front of the back-four, and as a team we need to keep them hemmed in their own half. Start strong and focussed and get a goal as soon as possible, after that control the game and get a second, but just make sure they cannot get back into the game first and for all’
That is what I image both managers said before kick-off and it was not necessary a recipe for an entertaining game: and let’s be honest it was dire at times.
We started strong and after just twelve minutes we found the net. Ramsey was incisive after consecutive missed attempts by Alexis and Mesut. Burnley fought a bit back after that but the referee booked Duff and (the impressive) Mee in quick succession which showed the home team he would not take any nonsense today. We sat back and defended with good discipline and never really got in trouble in the first half, except for a few shots that were saved routinely by Ospina.
The second half saw a couple of decent chances for Burnley to get back into the match, especially the one when Mee fooled Bellerin too easily but Boyd failed to make good contact with the former’s well-picked cross. Burnley came out a bit more and we did not really play adventurous and incisive enough to punish them on the break.
But I was impressed with Arsenal’s ability to keep the ball and not get bullied; and if and when we lost the ball we got it back really quickly, with our MOTM, Coquelin, reading the game so well and making a number of important interceptions. We were always looking for a second but in such a way that there was little chance to get surprised on the break which was really pleasing. Burnley defended really well in and around the box, it has to be said, and we could not crack them open for a second time.
But we did not need to and secured the all important three points, and have again closed the gap with the Chavs, who will play QPR tomorrow, to four points (albeit with two games in hand). That is all we needed to do and we did it. So well done the Gunners and Come on You Hoops! 🙂