Arsenal looked to have scraped past a battling Burnley thanks to Shkodran Mustafi’s first goal in an Arsenal shirt, but a 93rd minute penalty from Andre Gray gave Burnley a share of the spoils.
Burnley turned up to The Emirates with an appalling away record – 1 point from 27 – and a gameplan to frustrate the home team. It worked a treat, as a combination of stifling tactics and some questionable refereeing saw Arsenal nearly drop valuable points that no one could foresee.
The first half was an exercise in frustration as there was a premium on clear cut chances, and Burnley looked to hit on the break. Both teams flattered to deceive, but 74% of Arsenal possession tells its own story.
The second half was a typical Arsenal half. Firstly, in the 59th minute, Mustafi scored his first Arsenal goal via a corner, and the script was going according to plan.
Less than ten minutes later, Granit Xhaka saw red for a typically full-on challenge on Steven Defour – and this was where the game changed. From there, Burnley looked to bombard the Gunners aerially, but it looked like they were going to hold on.
Laurent Koscielny and Mustafi were both nursing injuries but dragged them selves through the minutes, but in the 3rd minute of seven stoppage time minutes – Jon Moss blew up for a Burnley penalty.
Andre Gray converted and it looked to all that Chelsea would see all of their rivals drop points. The Arsenal spirit finally flickered though, and they snatched an unlikely winner.
Ben Mee gave away a penalty only three minutes after Burnley had grabbed an equaliser, and Alexis was the hero, as he scored to take Arsenal to second.
Arsene Wenger was sent off late on as he remonstrated with assistant referee Anthony Taylor, and this will be under the spotlight in the media for days to come.
There was a lot to take in, but here are 5 key points from the game:
Xhaka needs to alter technique
The Swiss star had a past littered with red cards before joining, and now he has two sendings off in his first season. It is great to see him gung-ho, but it is clearly not working in the Premiership. He needs to. Hänge how he retrieves the ball, as he almost cost us.
Jon Moss strikes again.
Xhaka’s two red cards? Both given by Jon Moss. Who was the assistant ref? Anthony Taylor. Xhaka can have little excuse, but Moss gave a chequered display with his decisions. He was a huge factor in this game.
Ramsey on fire
The Welshman was a decisive role at both ends of the pitch, and he looks to be improving with every match. Long may it continue.
Alexis back to the centre please
We are better with the Chilean as striker. Such is his prowess that he is effective anywhere, but his strike rate tells its own story. We looked stilted and we nearly paid the price.
Alexis in defence
His chasing and tackling in the pressure-packed last twenty minutes was one of the biggest reasons why we held on. He was brilliant in aiding our beleaguered defenders, and his appetite for the ball is a delightful asset.
Phew! What a relief. I’d love to hear what you all think. It’s quite clear we were not at our best, but we won and that is the ultimate goal. An improvement will be necessary!