Arsenal 0-0 Burnley: Premier League – 23/01/2022

Having been unceremoniously dumped out all competitions this season by mid-January, following their defeat to Liverpool, attention returns to the league for Arsenal.

Of course, the fact that Arsenal are only playing once-a-week from now until May and are chasing a 4th spot with other teams rapidly losing points, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

What was not a blessing, was the absences of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey to suspension, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to exile and Takehiro Tomiyasu to a prolonged absence.

Despite the absences of key players, Arsenal never really looked out control throughout the match. The only issue was that that control never led to much end-product.

Arsenal created chances left, right and centre, with the superb Martin Ødegaard once again showing everyone why Mikel Arteta was right to insist on his signing, but try as they might, Arsenal simply couldn’t break down Burnley’s low-block.

Aaron Ramsdale clears his lines.

At half-time, it seemed as though Sean Dyche and co. had achieved what they had set out to achieve. Keep a clean sheet by half-time.

Burnley were very lucky to still have 11 men on the field by that point, after Ashley Westwood was inexplicably not dismissed for a second bookable offence after a stamp on Kieran Tierney.

Despite the wonderful movement of Ødegaard, Arsenal were struggling to get the ball to Emile Smith Rowe, who has so often been the catalyst for turning a game on its head.

Arsenal began to really pile on the pressure in the 2nd half, as Burnley were buried under an avalanche of Arsenal chances that went begging.

Smith Rowe forced a spectacular save from Nick Pope, following a well-worked corner routine and Alexandre Lacazette went agonisingly close himself, but even with the goal-gaping, the Arsenal forward could not convert.

Burnley broke forward after a particularly threatening Arsenal corner with Dwight McNeil, who pushed a 2 v 2 with the Arsenal defence, but the England winger chose the wrong option and skied his effort well over Aaron Ramsdale’s goal.

The final whistle rang out amidst boos from the home support, who had expected better from a team chasing 4th.

The keyword to take home from the game was frustration. Typically, in these situations, the fans look for a scapegoat or someone or something to rally against when times are tough, but on this occasion, there was very little to ultimately complain about.

Alexandre Lacazette goes agonisingly close.

Arsenal had smothered Burnley all game, they had bullied them with their passing, avoided most big tackles, defended well and created chances left, right and centre. The desire from the team was there and the attitude was faultless, but it was a lack of end-product that let Arsenal down and that is something that comes from the higher-ups.

Mikel Arteta has been asking for a new striker since the summer, when the club failed to sign Tammy Abraham from Chelsea. At the moment, they remain keen on Dušan Vlahović and a move for Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak is rumoured to be in the offing, but until Technical Director, Edu and his team can provide Arteta with the firepower he craves, Arsenal will likely endure low scoring games on their part.

It was a frustrating end to a game that Arsenal really should have won, but there is precious more they could have done. Perhaps when key personnel have returned or when transfers (if any) are sorted, Arsenal can make a better go at getting into the top 4, but if they finish like they did on Sunday, the Champions League will forever remain an unobtainable dream.

Arsenal team:
32.) Aaron Ramsdale
  4.) Benjamin White
16.) Rob Holding
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  3.) Kieran Tierney
23.) Albert Sambi Lokonga
  8.) Martin Ødegaard
  7.) Bukayo Saka
10.) Emile Smith Rowe (Nketiah 77′)
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette (c)

Arsenal subs:
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
37.) Ryan Alebiosu
20.) Nuno Tavares
87.) Charlie Patino
65.) Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand
82.) Omari Hutchinson
58.) Mika Biereth
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Burnley team:
  1.) Nick Pope
14.) Connor Roberts
  5.) James Tarkowski
  6.) Ben Mee (c)
23.) Erik Pieters
11.) Dwight McNeil
  8.) Josh Brownhill
18.) Ashley Westwood
17.) Aaron Lennon
19.) James Rodriguez (Guðmundsson 83′)
27.) Matěj Vydra

Burnley subs:
13.) Wayne Hennessy
  2.) Matthew Lowton
37.) Bobby Thomas
26.) Phil Bardsley
  4.) Jack Cork
22.) Nathan Collins
16.) Jack Stephens
  7.) Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson
28.) Kevin Long

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