Burnley v Arsenal: Premier League - Talking Points

Burnley picked up another point at home following a thrilling game against Arsenal.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 8:00 am

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored an own goal in the meeting at the Emirates, put Arsenal ahead when beating Nick Pope at his near post.

The Gunners had opportunities to extend their lead through Bukayo Saka, Aubameyang and Thomas Partey, but the Clarets weathered the storm.

And Sean Dyche's side were gifted an equaliser before the break when Granit Xhaka, attempting to play the ball across his own penalty area, saw his pass ricochet off Chris Wood and into the net.

Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley reacts after the Premier League match between Burnley and Leicester City at Turf Moor on March 03, 2021 in Burnley, England.

Here are the latest talking points from a fifth successive stalemate at Turf Moor.

THE NEMESIS

Shaun Goater, David Nugent, Harry Kane, Jamie Cureton, Kurt Nogan, Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez and Ronnie Jepson.

They were all players that loved a goal against the Clarets. You can file Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang under that list of Burnley's nemeses from the 1990s onward.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal scores his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 06, 2021 in Burnley, England.

The Gabon international forward made amends for glancing the ball into his own net at The Emirates in December when firing the Gunners into an early lead at Turf Moor.

The former Borussia Dortmund goalscorer took his total to eight when collecting Willian's pass, cutting inside past Matt Lowton and then beating Nick Pope at his near post in the sixth minute.

Putting his record against Hamburger SV (9) to one side, he has now scored more goals against Sean Dyche's side (8) than against any other club in the top five European leagues.

The latest finish, however, was one that could quite easily have been avoided. "We let a soft goal in," said Dyche.

Granit Xhaka of Arsenal looks dejected following the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 06, 2021 in Burnley, England.

"Before it reached Popey we threw a lazy leg at it, we didn't have that sort of urgency we needed and with the top level Popey is at now he'll be questioning himself in detail.

"It was a soft moment from a top keeper, it wasn't a bad moment. It's one that he'd normally save, in his opinion, because he gets a good enough hand on it."

BOOM XHAKA LAKA!

While Aubameyang loves finding the net, his Swiss team-mate, Granit Xhaka, is prone to the occasional costly blunder.

Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates with teammates Dwight McNeil and Josh Brownhill after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 06, 2021 in Burnley, England.

Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, the 28-year-old has made more errors leading to goals (8) than any other outfield player in the Premier League.

Some had noted a resurrection of almost biblical proportions since the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder was restored to the side after his self-implosive display against Burnley in the corresponding fixture.

Xhaka lost his rag, lashing out at Ashley Westwood with the game finely poised, before Graham Scott brandished a red card following a VAR review.

Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta, Xhaka's inability to stamp out these gaffes has manifested as some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

And so, with the away side in cruise control, and a second goal looking all the more likely, the one-time Credit Suisse Player of the Year recipient did what only he could do.

In attempting to play out from the back, shifting the ball from deep inside his own penalty area over to David Luiz on his right hand side, Xhaka's pass struck Chris Wood and crossed the line.

Referee Andre Marriner (C) initially shows a red card for handball to send off Burnley's Dutch defender Erik Pieters (4R) as other players react, a decision that was reversed after VAR review found no offense

Commenting on the calamity, Arteta said: "It can happen in football. We did it using Bernd [Leno] and trying to use the holding midfielder in that situation.

"We scored a goal from Auba that started all the way from Bernd Leno and we conceded one chance and that chance came from Bernd kicking the ball long and we could not control the second ball.

"It is what it is. It’s the way we play. It’s the way I want to play and we just have to know the risk and the rules we have in certain areas and the type of balls that we have to play."

PRESSING IS THE NEW PASSING

Burnley pressed the life out of the opposition when going up as runners-up to Leicester City in 2014.Only three sides scored more than the Clarets that season and nobody conceded less.

It's been the hallmark of Sean Dyche's side ever since. Closing high up the pitch with aggression and intent, turning the ball over in advanced positions, and getting bodies around before exploiting key areas of weakness.

It wasn't ground-breaking. Dyche hadn't reinvented the wheel. But the Burnley boss had brought old-fashioned values back to the fore.

He used the terminology in a conversation with John Fendley once promotion had been confirmed and the Soccer AM presenter would borrow it for decoration.

Dyche explained: "One of my friends is John Fendley from Soccer AM and on the wall at the back of the fans it said: 'Pressing is the new passing'.

"That was mine from about seven years ago when we first got promoted. He's a friend of mine and we were chatting about football and I said it to him.

"He said 'I love that, can I put it on the show?' And I said, 'yes', so now there's a sign on the show. That's how important pressing has been and it's been there for a long time.

"If you read 'Inverting the Pyramid' you'll realise that everything has been done in football. The difference is the detail, the analysis, the making sense of it, the education of the players to deliver it. Everything has been done."

Dyche has a keen eye for the tactical intricacies of the game and some progressive adaptations to contend with the demands of the Premier League have been made since. However, the concept remains the same.

It has its flaws, as seen when Thomas Partey helped Arsenal play through the press for their early breakthrough, but the risk is sometimes worth the reward.

Matej Vydra did just enough against the ball to break Xhaka's composure when playing out from the back and the midfielder folded under the pressure.

"If teams are going to play from inside their own box, then get on the front foot and go and chase them," said Dyche. "That is my belief and it doesn't mean it is going to work every time but it did today

"The mentality to do that is important, the physical demands are important and also the tactical understanding and I thought we did that very well.

"We turned the ball over in high areas, we were productive in strong moments, particularly in the second half.

"There was a real purpose but it is difficult. Sometimes teams manage to play out from those presses and you have a lot of work to do and you have to recover quickly.

"We want the team to be bold. We want to play in the top third of the pitch and be aggressive within it to try and win games and I was pleased with that overall."

TALK ABOUT AN IMPACT!

Erik Pieters certainly lived up to the term 'impact sub'.

The Dutchman was only on the pitch for half-an-hour after replacing Charlie Taylor, but he more than played his part.

The two bosses had completely different viewpoints on the incident that saw substitute Nicolas Pepe flick the ball onto the former Stoke City defender's arm.

Dyche felt the decision was consistent with the one made at Anfield when N'golo Kante's brush with the law at Anfield went unpunished.

"It's tough because Kante's just had an almost identical situation against Liverpool so they have to find parity somewhere," he said.

"I don't think his arm is unnatural, and Kante's is just the same, but there's a big debate on handball at the minute and I don't like seeing penalties given when it's more ball to hand."

Pieters, who also forced Leno to scramble to his line to turn an audacious dipping volley over the bar, would later become embroiled in further controversy.

The left back was given his marching orders by referee Andre Marriner for a suspected handball inside the penalty area when Pepe's first time effort from Bukayo Saka's cross was diverted onto the crossbar.

Pieters protested his innocence and, in a triumph for technology, both decisions were overturned by the VAR, Kevin Friend, who identified that the ball had struck a shoulder.

Dyche joked: "I thought it was quiet so we got Erik ready and I told him to get involved in as many incidents as you can!

"It (VAR) has got to the right decision, I know it needs streamlining and tidying up but I am a big fan of it and for that reason today.

"It is great habits from Erik Pieters who has stood strong and took one for the team and it hits the bar and goes away.

"The big VAR moment is quite clear, but the only gripe I've got is I don't know why Andre Marriner, who is a top ref, has got his card out within a millisecond.

"That was interesting. I was a long way from it but I thought at the time, with our players' reaction, that it didn't hit his arm."

It was a welcome rectification for the home side, who have been on the wrong end of some quite nauseating decisions against the Gunners in the past.

The less said about Laurent Koscielny's highly contentious winner in 2016, the better!

"Burnley fans know our history with Arsenal," Dyche said. "We have had last minute goals that were handball and offside that have cost us, and today it didn't and rightly so because the right decision came out in the end

"VAR does its job, that's what it's there for. It is there for those moments and it was the right decision."