Burnley 1-1 Arsenal: Frustration and drama for Gunners at Turf Moor.
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal and Erik Pieters of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 6, 2021 in Burnley, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Arsenal began the fixture in the best way possible with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang firing home at the near post past England keeper Nick Pope. 

The Gunners dominated the early exchanges with both Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka dictating the play in the middle of the park. 

Story of the match 

Burnley looked to press Mikel Arteta’s side throughout the first period however, Arsenal’s game plan came into action with the Arsenal side playing out from the back and beating the press to transition from defence to attack.

The Gunners created multiple chances in the first period but a lack of composure in the final third saw shots go wide. 

Arsenal were in cruise control in this tie, knocking the ball around the Burnley press and getting themselves into some very dangerous positions.

With half time on the horizon and the score 0-1 to the Arsenal, Arteta’s message to his players would have been to ensure they go into the break with the lead still intact.

A lapse in concentration from midfielder Granit Xhaka cost Arsenal their lead as one of his misplaced passes rebounded off Chris Wood and into the back of the net. 

The Gunners came out for the second half and were instantly put back under pressure with this Burnley side Rejuvenated after their late first half goal.

Both sides then struggled to maintain possession of the ball in a scruffy affair which saw chances for both sides at goal. 

A change in personnel for The Gunners saw Mikel Arteta replace Martin Odegaard with Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman came into a deeper role looking to create and bring his teammates into the game.

Arteta looked to his bench once again to add firepower to his team and push for that winning goal.

That firepower came in the form of Nicholas Pepe as he came off the bench to replace Willian

The game quickly turned ugly with The Clarets launching the ball long and getting physical with Arsenal’s defenders.

The Gunners had a penalty shout midway through the second period when Pepe knocked the ball in the air, and it cannoned off the arm of Eric Pieters.

VAR however determined the incident did not warrant a Penalty Kick due to the close proximity of the players. 

Late Drama took place at Turf Moor once again as a Nicholas Pepe shot hit the shoulder of Pieters.

The referee interpreted it as a deliberate handball and awarded a penalty and Red Card.

VAR looked into the incident and rescinded both calls and awarded a drop ball for the Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.  

The Gunners pushed and shoved but couldn’t find an opening or moment of magic to unlock the resilient Burnley defence.

The final minute of the ninety resembled what would be found in a pinball machine as a flurry of shots from inside the box saw The Gunners rattle the post as well as the bodies of the Burnley defenders. 

Ben Mee made a number of vital blocks for his side which ensured that the points were shared at Turf Moor. 

Lack of clinical finishing costs Gunners. 

Arsenal created a number of chances for themselves in both periods of the game, but a lack of clinical finishing meant only one of these chances found the back of Nick Popes net.

The Gunners had the opportunities to win the tie however, Arsenal’s forwards lacked composure when in front of goal with shots going wide, hitting the post, bar and many blocked shots. 

Arteta set his side up with an emphasis on attack and creating chances with the play going through Midfielders Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.

Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Aubameyang and Dani Ceballos had golden opportunities to score yet none of them found the back of the net. 

Arsenal's star performer:  

Bernd Leno once again proved his worth to this Arsenal side with the German international making a number of vital stops to deny the Burnley strikers. 

The clarets attempted to put the Arsenal defence under pressure, but Leno was commanding within his box not giving any time or space for Burnley to win headers or bully him out the way.

Balls were pumped into the box and Arsenal’s number one claimed these or instructed his defenders to header them clear.

Leno made a vital save to deny Chris Wood a Goal in an opportunity where Arsenal’s defence switched off and let the New Zealander through on goal.  

Looking ahead:

Arsenal face a number of tough tests in the weeks ahead with two vital European ties against old foes Olympiacos as well as London derbies vs West Ham and North London rivals Tottenham.

With the business end of the season coming into view, The Gunners simply cannot afford any more slip ups or missed opportunities if they have any ambition of playing European football next season.