Burnley vs Arsenal result: Five things we learned as Martin Odegaard fires Gunners to narrow win

Burnley 0-1 Arsenal: The Norwegian hit a sublime free-kick in the first half as Mikel Arteta’s side won their second match in a row

Jamie Braidwood
Saturday 18 September 2021 18:39
Where Will Martin Odegaard End Up Next Season?

Martin Odegaard scored a wonderful free kick to earn Arsenal a narrow win at Burnley and lift some of the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta.

The midfielder curled in the shot midway through the first half at Turf Moor as the Gunners won back-to-back games to move clear of the relegation zone.

Burnley remained competitive throughout and thought they had been awarded a penalty in the second half, but Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was ruled to have won the ball in his challenge with Matej Vydra following a VAR review.

Sean Dyche’s side continued to push until the end but failed to trouble Ramsdale, who kept his second consecutive clean sheet since joining the club from Sheffield United.

Here are five things we learned.

Arsenal go all-out in attack

This was a bold approach from Mikel Arteta, who fielded all of Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in an attacking line-up.

The Arsenal manager looked to maximise the combinations for his side in their the midfield department in an attempt to play through Burnley, undeterred by the lack of physicality provided by those players in the center of the pitch.

Certainly, the visitors were at their best whenever one of their playmakers received possession and was able to turn and drive at goal. It was Saka’s run at the Burnley defence that led to Odegaard’s free-kick from outside the box after he was fouled by Ashley Westwood.

It also meant that they were comfortable in possession whenever they were able to bring the ball down and string some passes together, with each player looking assured even as Burnley chased and harried.

Arsenal may not have created as many chances as they might have expected with so many difference-makers on the pitch - and Arteta will rue the fact that his side were not more ruthless when playing the final pass on the occasions they broke forward.

It set up a nervy finale, but the Gunners were able to hold on for a narrow, and vitally important, second win of the season.

Partey offers Arsenal crucial balance

With so many attacking players starting,  Thomas Partey played a pivotal role for Arsenal by shielding their back four and linking play to those in front.

The Ghanaian was making his first Premier League start of the season but his impact and presence in the middle of the pitch was clear.

It gave Arteta the platform to play his five forward-thinking players, with Partey’s passes through tight gaps and in between the lines allowing Saka and Smith Rowe to have dangerous moments where they could turn and drive at the Burnley back four.

He was also effective on the occasions in which he was required to break up play on the edge of the area or defend balls into the box. The 28-year-old was badly missed in Arsenal’s winless start to the season but his return is another boost to Arteta as he looks to turn things around.

White struggles but Gabriel impresses

Arsenal were put under pressure from Burnley at times at Turf Moor, which is what all Premier League sides expect to face when playing Sean Dyche’s side.

In the first half, the Gunners weren’t particularly convincing when dealing with Burnley’s long balls towards Ashley Barnes, who got joy whenever he pulled onto Ben White.

The former Brighton centre back struggled throughout the contest - he was caught in possession on a couple of occasions and almost put his side in trouble with a backpass, only for Ramsdale’s challenge on Vydra to be overturned by VAR after Anthony Taylor had pointed to the spot.

In another match, such as the 2-0 defeat to Brentford on the opening day of the season, Arsenal would have crumbled. It helped, perhaps, that White was playing alongside Gabriel, who was outstanding for Arsenal in their backline.

The Brazilian made a crucial tackle to deny Barnes shortly before half time and was key throughout with a number of blocks and clearances. Ramsdale also overcome a tough start, in which he was almost caught on the ball by Barnes early on, and also stood up to the challenge - especially when denying Vydra on the overturned penalty and claiming several testing crosses into the box.

Tomiyasu makes impact in defensive shift

Takehiro Tomiyasu has made a fine start to his Arsenal career and has fitted in seamlessly to the right side of their back four.

The Japan international looks solid whenever called into defensive actions and appears to be comfortable when either pushing forward or tucking inside to form a back three.

It was the latter that provided Kieran Tierney play high on the opposite flank at times at Turf Moor, with the Scotland international often Arsenal’s best outlet on the left wing.

Tierney got round Burnley full-back Matthew Lowton on a couple of occasions and came close to creating a couple of dangerous opportunities for his team.

The arrival of the 22-year-old from Bologna has certainly gave Arteta an interesting option and the balance of his back four looks good following his signing.

Burnley’s winless run at home continues

Burnley pushed with all their might at Turf Moor but their winless start to the new season goes on, as does their wait for a home victory in the Premier League.

Sean Dyche may have eliminated any doubts on his future after signing a new long-term contract with the club this week, but Burnley have now gone 13 matches at Turf Moor without a win.

Burnley had to wait until the eighth match of last season for their first win - so there’s certainly no reason to panic - but the accusations that the side have gotten stale under Dyche will continue following this latest defeat.

Dyche is trying to change that - and record signing Maxwel Cornet made an impact with his first appearance from the bench - but their style of play remains the same.

As we have seen in previous seasons, it should keep them up over the course of the campaign. But a first win of the season will certainly alleviate some of that pressure with home games against Norwich and Brentford on the horizon.

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