With confidence high, this was a chance for the Gunners to kick on ahead of a big week. Unfortunately, they failed to further their push up the table with a miserable 1-1 draw in a game they really should have won.
That has been the problem this season. Under Arteta, Arsenal have picked up valuable points before literally handing points away upcoming fixtures.
Arsenal Display at Burnley Showcasing Inconsistencies Under Mikel Arteta
Two Points Dropped at Turf Moor
Arsenal started well and were in front within six minutes after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang drifted in off the left-hand side and found the bottom corner, sneaking it under Nick Pope at the front post. The Gunners then when onto assert themselves further and dictated the game for the first half an hour. Huge chances were missed by Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka. They could, and should, have easily put the game to bed in the early stages.
However, just before half time, the game was turned on its head. A moment of madness from the error-prone and regularly scrutinised Granit Xhaka. His pass bounced off of Chris Wood inside his own box before finding the back of the net.
The game then suited Burnley down to the ground. Sean Dyche’s men made it a scrappy affair and did not allow Arsenal to find their rhythm again. The success of the first half an hour for Arsenal was not replicated at any point in the rest of the game.
Arsenal Philosophy Under Arteta
This season, Arsenal have committed to playing out from the back and have largely benefited from it. Take for example the Gunners’ opener. Thomas Partey’s composure saw Arsenal push up the pitch within a few passes, taking several Burnley players out of the game. Breaking the press, they escaped up the pitch before Aubameyang found the back of the net.
However, poor decision making and individual errors were once again Arsenal’s downfall. Despite a late flurry, where Pepe missed a huge chance and Dani Ceballos hit the post in the dying seconds – alongside a couple of controversial VAR decisions went against them – the Gunners were unable to find the winner that would secure them all three points.
This has become a regular occurrence this season for Arteta and his Arsenal team. Individual errors and poor decision making have ruined their season on several occasions.
This game was extremely similar to their trip to Wolves in February. There, they took the lead early and dominated the entirety of the first half and should have been out of sight. Yet, after a red card and conceding a penalty, Arsenal robbed themselves of three points. Their trip to Aston Villa last month is another example. An early mistake by Cedric Soares killed the game within 90 seconds.
Despite their league position and their seeming inability to find consistency, there are signs of improvement at Arsenal under Arteta. There are a few occasions this season where you would describe Arsenal as being outplayed. Their trip to Anfield earlier in the season, both games against Manchester City and their 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa are the only real ones of note.
Arsenal are a much more competitive side and have been since the turn of the year. Despite a more reserved style, it is clear there is more steel and guile in this Arsenal team. As well as this, Arsenal look a lot more competent systematically. Arteta, with the right backing and the time to build his own squad, will achieve results on a more consistent basis.
Even in the Burnley game, regardless of Xhaka’s error, they did more than enough to win the game. Arteta appears to be setting up Arsenal in a way in which they are consistently finding spaces in the final third. Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta, he can not be on the pitch to score for these chances for his players. Arsenal limited Burnley to next to nothing all game. A late chance for Chris Wood was the only chance of note.
Defining Week in North London
This point was yet another setback in what was already a slim chance of reviving a poor season for Arsenal under Arteta. This was not the result they wanted ahead of a huge week for the Gunners.
A season-defining trip to Athens in the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 tie against Olympiacos comes up on Thursday before the North London derby on Sunday. Arsenal’s only hope of Champions League football rests on the Europa League campaign. However, they also risk falling ten points behind rivals Spurs if they lose this weekend too.
A top-seven finish to achieve European football next year is not an unrealistic prospect. However, after Saturday’s poor result they go into the next few league games knowing maximum points are required if they are going to climb up the table.