Clarets score 9/10 for their dives but Gunners leave with points that count: Burnley 0-1 Arsenal


That was enjoyable, wasn’t it? What’s not to like about the last-minute winner against a team stubbornly denying you for the entirety of the game? How many times have we watched these games fizzle out to a draw, or even worse, a narrow defeat after we pile numbers forward?

We seem to do that a little a lot less these days. Yesterday was a case in point. We kept at it till the end, demonstrated discipline and resolve at the back to snuff out any potential danger, and rubbed it into the Burnley players’, fans’ and manager’s face(s). And it was delightful.

Let’s get to the finer points, shall we?

The picture of the game

It went down almost exactly like I thought it would. We had the lion’s share of possession (64%), Burnley had around their usual average of 39% (36%). We attacked, they defended in a deep block, thus 45% of the action happened inside the middle ⅓.

They threatened occasionally from set-pieces (creating 3 shots from those), we tried to dilly-dally through the middle and resorted to distance shots quite often (taking a total of 8). They let us take a load of shots (17) as they usually do (only West Brom allowed more shots this gameweek – 25), yet we only created 2 big chances – Ramsey shot and the penalty.

In short, Burnley played exactly like they did this season, and almost got exactly the result they were hoping for. Almost. I can see why their defence is one of the best in the league though, and why Pope isn’t as overworked as you would expect from a goalkeeper playing in such a team.

Oops, Tarkowski

‘Hard’ Burnley men

This myth evaporated shortly into the game. True, their players defended like hell inside their own box, and were more than happy to throw their weight and might around in other parts of the field when challenging our players (do one, Brady). What’s no less true is their playing going down under the slightest of contacts from our guys.

It was both hilarious and infuriating to watch Gudmundsson, Barnes and Ward fall to the ground in seeming agony when confronted by the huge and intimidating Ramsey, Mustafi, Bellerin and Lacazette. What further fuelled my rage (good morning, Sean Dyche!) was how Lee Mason bought into this. However the ref was at least consistent and awarded a pen when Tarkowski pushed Ramsey, the same way he gave the Clarets a free-kick when Mustafi shoved Barnes early on.

In short, Burnley didn’t show themselves as macho men, but rather as cheating lilywhites, hypocrites who enjoy gaining advantage through their double standards.

That marvellous back three

There was a spell during the first half when Burnley put us under some pressure. They put in a series of crosses, taken several corners in quick successions, and on top of that benefitted from some top-notch diving and ensuing free-kicks. In short, they did everything to test our back three where they presumably were weakest: aerial duels.

The Clarets had another thing coming though. Our back three weathered the storm fantastically. Unfortunately the handy StatsZone app is no longer around for me to isolate a specific period of time and watch what actions our back three took during that period, but I still can give the overall numbers.

Combined, Mustafi, Kos and Monreal contested 20 aerial duels, winning 14 (9 out of 14 for Mustafi, 3 out of 3 for Kos and 2 out of 3 for Monreal). Kolasinac chipped in with 5 out of 7, by the way. Koiscielny was top in clearances though (8) and I suspect most of those were during that 15-20 minute period of Burnley’s domination, and most were headed clearances. Mustafi had 5, Monreal 4. Finally, Kos also blocked 2 shots, which might not seem like a lot, except that Mee (top of the league this current week) blocked 4 shots.


Sublime display

After the game Wenger credited our character and singled out the back three for additional praise too:

“We kept a clean sheet and they were really up for it, Burnley.

“We won 1-0, but I’d like to congratulate our three centre-backs again today, because they did a remarkable job.

“I give us a merit today because we didn’t concede a goal. Our defence worked well again and we were relentless in the second half. We kept our heads and in the end we got the penalty that we wanted. The first half was an even game but in the second half it was all us.”

The last word

Sometimes you feel sympathy towards a team which did their best, defended stoically and were unlucky to concede a late goal. This is not one of those times.

You see, this is the part where the fair play notion comes in play. Did the other team waste time? Did they try to make the contest stop-and-start? Did they dive? Did they go into dirty, sometimes dangerous, challenges?

If the answer to any of those is “yes”, you are unlikely to feel much sympathy. Burnley ticked at least a couple of those boxes yesterday. Throw in a set of fans approaching Stoke fans in their behavior (no mean feat!) and the glee expressed by our fans at nicking a late winner is understandable.

Burnley, again much like Stoke, only appear to project a certain macho image. In reality, they are sneaky cheats, quite unable to play fairly. Beating them looks like divine justice today, and you have to be a biased journo, a Burnley fan, or both, to feel any sympathy towards the Clarets if you watched the game yesterday.

Our win allows the Gunners to move into 4th, above Spurs (who hilariously drew against West Brom) and Liverpool. We are just a point behind Chelsea, and four behind United, who we face next Saturday. But before that we host Huddersfield, on Wednesday.

Naturally I’ll be back with you to cover that game.

Until then, and enjoy our jammy, but deserved, win.


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9 Responses to Clarets score 9/10 for their dives but Gunners leave with points that count: Burnley 0-1 Arsenal

  1. Freddy November 27, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    Sam Dykes training seems from the gym to teach them to tackle and then to the pool to perfect their diving

    • Pegasus November 27, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

      You ought to reign your neck in you come up from London and you and your pretty boy’s think the world owes you a will never win the league pansy boy’s don’t like the cold

  2. Nep November 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    No mention of the number of fouls committed by Arsenal then!

  3. KEVIN PRET November 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm #


  4. Chris Tierney November 27, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Good luck with a degree in Journalism.

    For balance 14 fouls conceded no bookings to Burnley’s eight fouls, Burnley had a player booked for dissent, when Sanchez cries and throws his arms up like a big baby, nothing happens.The constant surrounding of the ref also got what you required in the end

    As for how you expected the game to go. Arsenal play pretty football, the majority of it is in your own half, very little width, poor movement, particularly by Lacazette and Iwobi and apart from Ramsey missing a gilt edged chance in the first half, Arsenal created nothing. Second half Arsenal were the better side. Was it a penalty probably, Ramsey dived to make sure though.

    As for Burnley fans being like Stoke fans, do me a favour, that is three games running were a decision has gone in Arsenals favour, so no surprise they are bit fed up, had it been the other way around Wenger would be crying on the television about referees. It was a decision the referee, could not wait to make, in keeping with his Arsenal bias all game long.

    • DEW November 28, 2017 at 10:54 am #

      Law of inertia (Newton’s first law) states that you can not throw yourself in any direction while up in the air. In other words you can not dive while floating in the air. Someone has to be a magician to avert the law. Alex, the arsenal fan and blogger, has highlighted the fact that numerous foul decisions gone in Burnley’s way for little pushes in the back. The referee was consistent in the final penalty decision for clear foul committed right in front of him. It is a massive push from the back while the player was up in the air and clearly denying a goal scoring opportunity.

  5. SC November 27, 2017 at 7:11 pm #

    Think you got the clubs the wrong way around pal. If this is your best work, I’d look at a new career.

  6. Chasey November 27, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

    Journalism is supposed to be an honest and impartial view of events.
    Your view is totally biased. If I was you I’d choose a different career!

    • Dave Seager November 27, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

      Club bloggers are not journalists 🙂

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