Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over struggling Burnley. The three points sees Mikel Arteta’s side move level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Here are five things we learned from the game
Ben White sorely missed
Ben White’s absence due to an injury sustained during Arsenal’s clash with Sevilla was noticeable. Arteta does have depth in the full-back department in light of Ben White’s injury, with Tomiyasu returning to right-back after a stint on the left side. However, the English defender’s near telepathic linkup play with Saka cannot be replicated by the more defensive minded Tomiyasu. Furthermore, the Japanese defender was largely at fault for Burnley’s equaliser, being out-strengthened by Luca Koleosho.
The international break has come at a good time for ArsenalEmbed from Getty Images
With a string of injuries, Arteta’s side has been severely weakened. Captain Martin Odegaard’s absence is a huge loss for the Gunners, resulting in much of their offensive build-up play having to come through Saka alone. Gabriel Jesus’s absence has made way for Leondro Trossard to lead the line as a false nine, for which he was rewarded with a goal and an assist. Jorginho may have tremendous experience in central midfield, yet he cannot compete with the physicality that Thomas Partey poses, thus the Ghanian is likewise sorely missed by Arsenal. Emile Smith Rowe’s injury struggles also continue to keep him out, whilst Jurrien Timber is expected to be out for the rest of the season. There were even doubts over Saka’s fitness after he was subbed off in the second half against Sevilla in the week with a reported knock, however the Arsenal star-boy appeared to be fully recovered. Fabio Viera was also sent off for a high tackle, further reducing Arteta’s selection pool.
David Raya clearly Arteta’s first choice keeperEmbed from Getty Images
Whatever Mikel Arteta says about Aaron Ramsdale being important to Arsenal, there is no debate that David Raya is his first choice keeper. “You need everyone and Aaron has a really important role in the team”, Arteta claimed. The Arsenal manager warned Ramsdale not to rush to a decision about leaving. The English shot-stopper will be desperate to regain a starting position since Southgate declared during his latest squad announcement that “If we get to March and he’s six months without playing regularly, then I’m never going to promise things that I couldn’t guarantee delivering”. Ramsdale needs to be playing regularly to maintain his role in the England setup.
Can Kompany prove to be Guardiola’s successor with Burnley?Embed from Getty Images
Mikel Arteta and Vincent Kompany are both touted as potential successors to Pep Guardiola.
With this Burnley side however, it is very difficult for Kompany to inhabit Guardiola’s offensive, free-flowing philosophy when facing much stronger teams that dominate possession. It was a great first 40 minutes for Burnley in which they never really looked like conceding a goal. If there is one thing you can expect from a Vincent Kompany team, it is defensive structure. Dara O’Shea and Vitinho successfully marked Gabriel Martinelli out of the first half. Sitting back in a traditional style 4-4-2, the Clarets were happy to give Arsenal the bulk of possession and instead play off counter attacks in the hope of catching out the Arsenal defence. Ultimately, it took a defensive slip up from Arsenal for Kompany’s men to equalise, only for them to buckle under the force of Arsenal’s reinvigorated attack, conceding two more goals.
Trossard staking a claim for consistent first choice selectionEmbed from Getty Images
Leandro Trossard has made a strong case for deserving a place in Arteta’s starting 11. With a goal and an assist, he was the difference maker in the clash with Burnley. After a diving header on the stroke of half time to open the scoring, it looked like he may have suffered an injury, much to the Arsenal crowd’s dismay. Despite a tough clash with the woodwork, the Belgian remained on the pitch until the 81st minute, enabling him to assist Saliba with an excellently taken corner, regaining Arsenal the lead. With Kompany’s men focused on stopping Saka at all costs, Trossard was able to thrive.