Mikel Arteta was once again left ruing his side’s missed chances, after Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal went into the match off the back of an excellent 3-1 victory over Leicester City last weekend, although boss Mikel Arteta opted to make five changes for the trip to Turf Moor, including handing Calum Chambers a first Premier League start since December 2019.
The visitors made a strong start and were deservedly ahead after just six minutes, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continuing his recent resurgence with a trademark finish, cutting in from the left before finishing with his right, although Burnley stopper Nick Pope will likely be feeling he should have done a whole lot better, the ball squirming through his hand rather tamely.
In truth, the Gunners should have extended their lead during a dominant showing inside the first-half, before Granit Xhaka gifted the hosts a route back into the game just before half-time, the Swiss international’s attempted pass out from inside his own box striking Chris Wood and ricocheting, somewhat fortuitously, into the back of the net.
That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the away side, as they struggled to get themselves going in what was a fairly mundane start to the second period.
With 15 minutes to go, however, the game sprung into life, Nicolas Pepe flicking the ball onto the outstretched arm of defender Eric Pieters, though VAR deemed that it was not worthy of a penalty.
The Gunners’ club record signing then inexplicably failed to make contact with a Kieran Tierney cross, the Ivorian having been just eight yards out with a clear strike at goal as Arsenal looked for a winner.
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Arteta’s men then thought they’d won a penalty just a minute later, Pieters once again involved, the former Stoke City man getting in the way of a Pepe volley, with the on-field referee deeming it to be a handball, subsequently showing the left-back a red card. Fortunately for him and Sean Dyche, VAR came to the rescue, overturning the decision with the ball having struck Pieters’ shoulder rather than his hand, before striking the crossbar.
The away side nearly clinched victory in the dying seconds through Dani Ceballos, yet the on-loan Real Madrid man saw his wonderful effort cannon off the post after some penalty area pinball, condemning Arsenal to more dropped points in this underwhelming campaign thus far.
That result leaves Arteta’s side in tenth and nine points off Chelsea in fourth, the Spaniard was once again being forced to rue his side’s wastefulness in front of goal.
“It’s a really tough place to come on a difficult pitch, but I have to say we should have scored the big chances we had,” he told the BBC. “When you miss the chances we had, and you do not get decisions, it is complicated to win football games. If that is not a penalty, then someone needs to explain what one is.
“From what we produced, you have to come here and win. When you do not, you have to look at yourself. We completely dominated the first half but they make it difficult with a lot of long balls.
“We generated chances and we should have won by two or three goals. if you give any hope to any team in the Premier League, they are going to take it.”
Arsenal are up against Olympiakos in the Europa League on Thursday night, before welcoming Tottenham to the Emirates in the North London derby on Sunday.