Arsenal eked out a hard-fought win against Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday evening, courtesy of a controversial Laurent Koscielny goal.
The win takes Arsenal to third in the Premier League table, two points behind leaders Manchester City, who suffered the first loss of their 2015/16 campaign at the hands of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Were Arsenal good at the pressing game?
Although Burnley’s game restricted Arsenal to little movement in the final third, the visitors’ relentless press meant goal chances were not hard to come by.
Courtesy of the resilience exhibited by their attackers, they managed to win a few second balls that ultimately prompted Tom Heaton involvements.
However, despite the Gunners creating 15 chances, it took a clumsy stoppage time goal to seal the victory.
Did Arsenal miss Olivier Giroud?
With Sean Dyche espousing the tried-and-true plan of playing all the outfield players behind the ball against Arsenal, the travelling bunch struggled to register shots on target.
Besides the goal-scorer, only Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil registered shots on targets.
With Theo Walcott and Alexis lacking the height, neither Hector Bellerin nor Nacho Monreal could send in crosses that could nick a goal.
Arsenal sorely missed Olivier Giroud’s presence as the Frenchman’s height and ability to create space for the wingers by drawing the centre-backs to him would have been vital assets, especially with Burnley keeping their defensive shape throughout the game.
In the event of his being available, Arsene Wenger would definitely have brought him on early into the second half. Arsenal did miss the gigantic French man.
Will Mesut Ozil ever pick up momentum?
The Sunday’s game takes Mesut Ozil’s tally of assist-less games to eight. Against a packed Burnley defence, he failed to create as many chances as the travelling Arsenal fans might have fancied.
However, the most serious concern was his lack of involvement — or enthusiasm —in the recent weeks.
With his most favoured recipient in Giroud dropping to the bench, he often seems toothless though his genius lets him create magical moments every now and then.
He should tweak his game to better suit Arsenal’s new approach to the game. Given his genius, it will likely not take long.
Are Arsenal credible title contenders?
Arsenal produced a scintillating performance against Chelsea last weekend but, despite going up against top-flight newbies, they failed to keep up the momentum.
They were lucky to grab a late winner that will serve to boost their mental strength, though.
With Giroud, Francis Coquelin, Lucas Perez, and Aaron Ramsey returning after the international break, they can afford to adopt the Plan A2 if the opposition sits back.
The poor showing in Lancashire should only be a minor blip for they have already proved credible contenders.
Here is an article that discusses why they have the ammunition to win the title this season.
Are Burnley playing anti-football?
Burnley resorted to deploying a nine-man defence, with only Sam Vokes being the only player with attacking intent.
However, with all but three fellow-top-flight clubs outspending them in the transfer market, they ought to adopt dirty tactics against the big clubs, who are all but certain to vanquish them in the event of their playing their natural attacking game.
Burnley are here to remain a top-flight club next season – only after suffering a plethora of criticism for playing a brand of football Chelsea won the title playing.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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