Arsenal make a drama out of the routine of beating Burnley

Arsenal 2 Burnley 1

Arsenal make a drama out of the routine of beating Burnley

But straightforward it wasn’t, going down to 10 men, before conceding and then scoring injury-time penalties and having manager Arsene Wenger sent off.

That was not in the game-plan and would have seemed too fantastical after a goalless first half, but Burnley were left with a bad sense of deja vu after they were deprived of a point by a controversial last-minute Arsenal goal for the second time this season.

Alexis Sanchez ultimately settled it from the spot with the last shot of the match, eight minutes into time added on, but it did not need to be so dramatic.

Thankfully, for everyone who loves a proper game of football, it was.

Wenger’s men were enjoying a fully deserved 59th-minute lead from Shkodran Mustafi’s first goal for the club before Granit Xhaka was sent off for the second time in his debut season just six minutes later.

And although that gave Burnley belief and a chance to level it was not until the third minute of seven minutes of time added on at the end they equalised through an Andre Gray penalty.

And that was when Wenger also saw red for protesting against what he felt was a harsh decision against his substitute Francis Coquelin.

Xhaka now faces a four-match ban and Wenger will have to explain why he appeared to shove fourth official Anthony Taylor when he attempted to watch the game from the tunnel area.

The Frenchman, to his credit, was quick to apologise and said: “I regret everything. I should have shut up, gone in and go home.

“I apologise for that. Look, it was nothing bad. I said something that you hear every day in football.

“Overall nine times out of ten you are not sent to the stand for that. I should have shut up completely.

“I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual. But just in the last two to three minutes.

“What I am particularly upset about it’s better I don’t talk about that. I didn’t know if I was sent to the stands but I was sent out.

“I thought I could watch it from the corridor (of the tunnel), you know?

“Xhaka’s red card? The noises I get is that it was a red card. He has to control his game and not punish the team with a lack of control in his tackling.

“We don’t encourage our midfielders to go down on tackles.

“We want them to stand up and not make these kind of fouls. If it is a bad tackle it is a red card.

“In the end, we still got an unlikely win, because when you are 10 against 11 with two minutes to go it is difficult to win the game but we are a team who keeps going no matter what happens and that is a good quality.”

It was a bitter end to the game for Burnley manager Sean Dyche, however, who had good reason to feel his side had done enough to win only their second away point of the season.

He praised Wenger, his players and Arsenal as a club, but was less full of praise for assistant referee Andy Halliday as he also recalled October’s defeat to a dubious Laurent Koscielny goal.

Dyche was angry the linesman had not spotted Koscielny was offside when he was kicked in the head by Burnley’s Ben Mee to concede the crucial spot-kick.

“It is bizarre we have lost two games against them with last-minute incidents. The linesman had to be brave and say he (Koscielny) was offside.

“When you play top sides you need to play well, stop them playing well, get the rub of the green and need the officials to do well. I don’t think at this level you should get something so wrong.”

Dyche had a point but also acknowledged Arsenal had been the better team and it is fair to say they ultimately deserved the three points to keep them vaguely on Chelsea’s case at the top.

Burnley should be ok in terms of staying up as they are ten points clear of the relegation zone.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Cech 8; Gabriel 7, Mustafi 8, Koscielny 7, Monreal 6; Ramsey 6, Xhaka 4; Sanchez 7, Ozil 7 (Bellerin 89, 6), Iwobi 6 (Coquelin 69, 6); Giroud 6 (Welbeck 87, 6).

Subs not used: Ospina, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas.

BURNLEY (4-4-2): Heaton 8; Lowton 6, Keane 7, Mee 7, Ward 6; Boyd 6, Marney 5 (Tarkowski 76, 6), , Hendrick 6 (Barton 73, 6), Defour (Vokes 77, 6); Barnes 6, Gray 6. Subs: Flanagan, Kightly, Robinson, Darikwa.

Referee: Jon Moss 8/10

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