Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: Aubameyang double helps Gunners return to winning ways
Photo: Getty Images- Shaun Botterill 

Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: Aubameyang double helps Gunners return to winning ways

After losing two games on the bounce, Arsenal returning to form by securing three points over Burnley.

Matt Dawson

Arsenal bounced back from consecutive defeats to beat Burnley 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Pierre Emerick-Aubemayang netted in each half, but Ashley Barnes' goal for the visitors after the hour mark made things nervy for Arsenal as the game went on.

However, Alex Iwobi came on in the second period and scored late on to secure a third goal for Arsenal and all three points.

Story of the match

Arsenal have been famed for starting games slowly this term and although the first half of this match was far from straightforward, the Gunners would hold a half time lead for the first time this season.

That came courtesy of top scorer Aubameyang who was back among the goals after five matches without one on 14 minutes. Mesut Ozil, whose future with the club has been in doubt once more this week was at the heart of it. Given the captain's armband, the German played a fantastic ball in behind for Sead Kolasinac and he then knocked it into the path of Aubameyang who had a simple finish. 

Neither side looked altogether comfortable at the back and that was made worse for the Gunners when Nacho Monreal had to be withdrawn with just under ten minutes of the first half to go.

Chris Wood's strength was proving challenging for Arsenal's makeshift backline but it was Barnes who had the visitors best opening in the first half. Burnley caught the Gunners on the break after Joe Hart had saved from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and then Barnes saw an effort deflected wide at the opposite end early on in the match. 

Aside from Aubameyang's strike Arsenal could only muster half-chances in the first 45 as Granit Xhaka had an effort saved and Mohamed Elneny a header blocked. 

Almost immediately after the break the Gunners doubled their advantage. A swift counter-attack was led by Kolasinac who then laid the ball inside to Alexandre Lacazette. He had the simple job of playing it across to Aubameyang who hammered the ball into the back of the net with 48 minutes on the clock. 

Burnley hit back, however, and just after the hour mark, they made it 2-1. Arsenal failed to clear the ball inside the area and it eventually landed at the feet of Barnes who fired home from close range.

Warning signs had been there for Unai Emery's men who looked nervy in defence with Sokratis making a last-ditch challenge on Wood minutes before the visitors' goal. 

Barnes' strike had set up a nervy ending to the game for the hosts as Burnley looked to lump the ball forward in an attempt to find a valuable equaliser.

Burnley's attempts were in vain, though, as in injury time Arsenal sealed the points. Ozil wriggled his way into the area before his deflected shot found it's way to Iwobi. He couldn't miss from near point blank range as he sealed the points for the north London side. 

Takeaways from the game

Kolasinac shows Arsenal what they've been missing

The Bosnian's form this season has been a little inconsistent but when he's been in form he's been almost impossible to stop on the left-hand side. He was a miss for Arsenal recently with injury and their ability to create chances was hindered with him out of the side. But against Burnley, he returned to the side and showed what a force he is in forward areas as he played a part in two of the Gunners goals. He supplied Aubameyang's opening strike and was then the player at the heart of the breakaway for the second.

Ozil returns to the team 

Much of the talk in the past week has been about Ozil's future with the club. Left out of the squad against Southampton last weekend and also missing against Spurs in midweek for 'tactical reasons' it looked as though he may be out of favour with Emery. However, the Spaniard defended him in his pre-match press conference and then showed his faith in the German by returning him to the starting XI and giving him the captain's duties. He was muscled off the ball on a few occasions but his vision for Arsenal's first class was world class. 

Gunners injury woes continue 

Arsenal were missing Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny today so it was Monreal who was partnered alongside Sokratis. His match was ended early though during the first half as the Gunners depleted back line suffered another casualty. The change saw Stephan Lichtsteiner come on and Arsenal revert to three at the back, with Xhaka dropping into centre-back after the hosts had originally started with a four-man defence. 

Burnley still struggling

Sean Dyche's team have suffered hugely this season and their form has been in stark contrast to last term. They finished in the top half of the Premier League in 2017/18 but are now languishing in the bottom three. Their resilience which they showed a year ago seems to be lacking and they have a job on their hands to find the goals in attack to stay up. 

Man of the match

Aubameyang - The Gabonese forward became the league's top scorer by notching his 11th and 12th strikes of the campaign. His first goal was one of the easiest he'll find the net with but he took his second with great aplomb.