Burnley v Arsenal
Kick off: Saturday April 11, 2015 – 17.30 PM BST
A hard-fought win from a game that potentially would have seen us drop points in seasons past, with Aaron Ramsey’s goal proving the difference maker.
Arsene Wenger put out an unchanged side, with the Welshman continuing out wide on the right. We were on the hunt for a season record eighth consecutive win, and managed it with a slender win at Turf Moor.
We dominated possession early on as was expected, but were almost caught out from a route one ball. Sam Vokes beat Per Mertesacker for pace, but David Ospina was out quickly, making himself big to block the Burnley man’s shot.
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Burnley looked like they were going to be hard to break down, but we got a breakthrough after just 11 minutes.
Francis Coquelin was a dominant force in midfield, and after pinching the ball he burst into the opposition’s half. His pass forward was poor, but Alexis Sanchez got it under control and cut inside.
The Chilean blasted a shot goalwards, but saw it blocked as it traveled through a crowd of claret and blue bodies.
It ricocheted out wide, falling to our record signing Mesut Özil. The German was forced into a tight angle, and attempted to place the ball through Tom Heaton’s legs.
The Burnley shot-stopper made the save, but the ball was only cleared as far as Sanchez. His snap-shot was once again blocked, but the ball this time fell to Ramsey. The 24-year-old was immediately closed down, but managed to rifle the ball into the roof of the net from close range. 1-0.
Sean Dyche’s side threatened from a set-piece shortly after, with a free-kick given away at the edge of our box. Kieran Trippier stepped up, and drew a fantastic save from Ospina.
We were in control, but struggled to get our game flowing due to the stop start nature of the game. Burnley were closing us down quickly, but were over-zealous in their attempts to win the ball back. Alexis Sanchez was notably a target, and was clattered a number of times in the first half.
The home fans were visibly getting frustrated at the referee’s use of his whistle, and began chanting “cheat” every time an Arsenal player went to ground.
We were creating half chances in the second 45, but nothing clear cut. Burnley were putting every man behind the ball when they could, and our forwards were struggling for space.
Coquelin was superb once again, and made some vitally important tackles to prevent the Clarets from countering. We spent most of the game camped in their half, so it was vital that the Frenchman remained alert to the danger of the break.
Things started to get a little nervy as the half wore on, and Burnley seemed to be growing in confidence. They had a couple of good chances, and on another day things might have been level.
Hector Bellerin was beaten far too easily by Ben Mee, who nutmegged him and put an excellent cross into the box. The ball fell to an unmarked George Boyd, but his miscued shot didn’t even remotely trouble Ospina.
Danny Ings has been in fine form this season, and you wouldn’t want to give him a chance in front of goal. We kept him quiet for the most part, but he found a few inches of space and lashed an overhead kick away towards goal. Thankfully it took a deflection on the way through, and with the pace taken off the ball it was easy for Ospina.
We made two late changes, with Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers on for Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez. Neither man really had any time to play a part however, and merely provided fresh legs in the dying minutes.
It wasn’t a great game for the neutral, and after our glut of goals against Liverpool many will have been disappointed. Three points is three points however, and – although it remains unlikely – we have kept ourselves in the hunt for the title for yet another week.