Burnley unbeaten vs Arsenal this season…WTF!?!

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka produces wild blooper ricocheting ball off Burnley  player and into his own goal - CBSSports.com

So another disappointment in the EPL today. It is becoming a bad habit and within that bad habit, we are now including a new bad habit, which is to give away leads and easy goals right before half-time although we dominate the first half…What a disaster!

A great opening 30 minutes totally thrown away by Xhaka’s howler. We could have scored at least another goal before Xhaka’s mistake. Xhaka has more errors leading to goals than any other EPL players since 2016/7 and amounting to 8 in total. So for all his improvements, there is always an error in him and today, there was the error and a really bad one too. It is going to be the worse EPL mistake of the year by any players…Nowhere to hide, Granit. Nowhere…

The second half was really upsetting, especially the first 15 minutes where Burnley was by far the better team. We were much better once Laca came on and then Pepe also added impetus to our game. We were then robbed of a valid PK by the VAR and then the VAR decided that it was ok to actually do the right thing and not give us the PK for a shoulder clearance from a Burnley defender. But the last 15 minutes of the game were frantic with a sitter missed by Burnley through Wood and another one missed by Pepe: 1-1 also in missed big chances…Yet and in the stoppage time, we were again denied a win by the post after a good shot from Ceballos that had Pope beaten.

So this game kind of summed up our season in the EPL: promising at times, stupid at times and frustrating overall…

Leno – 5.5. A great save vs Woods and some improvements in his aerial abilities but should have just cleared the ball out rather than passing it to Xhaka on the goal.

Chambers – 5.5. A good performance after a long time away.

Luiz – 6.5 – A solid performance overall

Mari – 6. Reliable

Tierney – 6. Not at his best but still one of the ray of lights.

Xhaka – 3.5 – A howler and no revolt in the second half. A game to forget.

Partey – 5. Seems to need more games to get the necessary rhythm back.

Willian – 5.5. A decent performance especially in the first 30 minutes before fading away.

Odegaard – 5. Hardly average. Needs to pass the ball quicker and make more runs.

Saka – 6. Not at his best but still on of the ray of lights.

Auba 5.5. A good goal, a missed chance and then nothing in the second half until that blocked shots in the dying minutes of the game.

Laca – 5. Did add something to our game but did not come to fruition either.

Pepe – 5.5. Should have been awarded a PK, had a great look at goal on his volley but also missed a sitter. Conflicting performance but clearly added a threat.

Arteta – 5 – He will feel like we should have won but could not find a way to win the game. Another draw. Another 2 points dropped.


23 Responses to Burnley unbeaten vs Arsenal this season…WTF!?!

  1. AaronD says:

    Continuing to pick Xhaka despite red card and mistake record shows a major flaw in Arteta as a leader. A great leader needs to know when they’ve made a mistake. Xhaka is not a top midfielder in the PL and he would not feature for any of the top 6 given his record. Same for Luis. Same with Willian. He would be a very good sub at 60 or 70 min mark but he fades quickly when left in. We need to be shifting to younger, faster players who can feature for 5 years not holding on to peeps that need to find new homes.

  2. LBG says:

    Thanks for your efforts RC.
    Today was a bit of a watershed for me, as the Club ask Season ticket holders for confirmation of their personal log in details, presumably in advance of their future request for money.
    On another site I offered recently, in a debate whether the 70s/80s/90s players were as good as those of today, my current feelings about the game I have loved all my life.
    The best current players, as highly tuned athletes are probably “better”, but the sport is definitely not. Covid has shown us what the sport used to be. It is a shadow of its former self WITHOUT THE PEOPLE THE GAME IS FOR….THE CROWD.! Ordinary people with passion for their team. In their place the new “prima donnas” have have risen up and taken their place on the stage, and I for one am fed up with them – referees, VAR, ” players representatives”, FIFA, UEFA, pundits, newspaper so called experts, are ruining our game as they compete for their 15 minutes.
    If we ever get back to full capacity stadiums again, I believe the ordinary supporters are going to rebel if all the “spoilers” are not pushed aside, and the game be allowed to return to relative simplicity. And the Clubs will soon find, if they are not careful, that the rebellion will be led by those ordinary supporters, like me, refusing to pay, no matter how much football and Arsenal is in our blood.

  3. RC78 says:

    Hi @LBG – do you mind if we use your comment as a post tomorrow to discuss the game without crowd and the VAR’s impact on the game/passion?

  4. LBG says:

    No problem.

  5. jjgsol says:

    I did not watch the match so cannot comment on it.

    All I can see is that we had 3 shots on target.

    I suppose that that is better than 2.

    I wonder why so many supporters seem to assume that Partey is this wonderful player that will be our saviour.

    Has anyone seen enough evidence of his game in the EPL to back up this assumption?

    Or this some more wishful thinking that Arsenal fans seem to suffer from en-masse?

    That he has been injured for most of the time he has been with us for one injury or another, is there really any justification for this optimism?

  6. RC78 says:

    Hi Jigsol – I watched enough of him at Atletico to think that he is a very reliable player.

  7. jjgsol says:


    Surely Spanish football is slower and less intense.

    At present, the only reliability about him is his ability to get injured.

    It remains to be seen as to whether then hopes of so many will be brought to fruition.

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    Well that was predictable. Boss the game and give away a goal without the opposition having a shot in target.

    Xhaka & Luiz are accidents waiting to happen. Always will be.

    There’s more…the team has an unprofessional trait. Conceding early goals; getting sent off needlessly; offering up howlers; missing sitters… this needs to end. A boot up the hole is the solution

  9. Pete the Thirst says:

    Hey jjgsol watch the game…at least the highlights…then comment…Partey was one of the best performers today

  10. omgarsenal says:

    Boy, talk about a biased, down-beat glass half empty review. The official seemed totally lost and missed two penalties, relied on VAR to correct himself all game and basically made a mess of things. It was a howler of a goal but your dislike of Xhaka is evident. the team needs to put away the chances, because the referee won’t help them. Basically a point saved but definitely the team is coming together and Arteta is steadily working his magic. Stop being such pessimists and whiners….the season is still on!

  11. Las says:

    Thanks RC, writing report after a game like this… mate it is tough.
    Making mistakes is part of the game, regularly making howlers is something else. Unprofessional, careless, even cynical. Not turning up.
    I am so embarrased I can’t find the words.
    Why these ‘guys’ (Willian, Xhaka, Luis) can always get away from the consequences of not giving 100 percent on the pitch? Just the other day Tuchel took Hodson-Odoi of the pitch without the slightest hesitation of not running hard enough.
    If this is the Arsenal culture now that that is OK of not giving a damn…
    We are in trouble even that this time clearly the official cost us the game.

  12. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks RC I think that is a fairly accurate summing up.

    I would add that the playing conditions were set up to prevent us playing, BT noted that sprinklers were not on pre match or at half time. That is Burnley’s choice naturally, but drainage is such on these surfaces that the pitch would no doubt have been uncomfortable to play on.

    Going through the team:

    Leno – good performance, dealt with high balls well, made some great saves. Some will question his involvement in the goal. However Xhaka showed, and the second pass was on so I think he made the right choice.

    Defence – as a whole I thought they did well, towards end of the game were a bit slow in coming out, Mari was stand out of centre backs. KT had a whiter game going forward but still got in right positions, was solid defensively, as was Chambers who also surprised with some dangerous crossing.

    Midfield – Partey and Xhaka didn’t really work well with Odergaard, one thought is they haven’t played much together, the other is they are not the right combination anyway, Odergaard as we’ve seen is more of a passer than a runner with the ball and likes to stay central, being there means Partey cannot do what he does well, drive forward with the ball. Xhaka’s forward passing in the first half was good, unfortunately he let himself down on the goal taking a touch which wasn’t necessary.

    Wingers – Saka and Willian toiled and Pepe added some impetus but they simply didn’t see enough of the ball from the midfield.

    Striker – PEA, good goal some good off the shoulder runs but a couple of wayward passes in the final third that Laca would have done better with.

    Arteta – it’s rare I criticise Mikel as generally I can see what we are doing and why, and if Xhaka doesn’t commit a moment of madness then maybe I wouldn’t be saying this as we were in control, but given the condition of the playing surface and we surely must have known Dyche would do it, I would have started Laca and been a bit more direct.

  13. fred1266 says:

    Now seeing why AMN don’t play midfield flow us

  14. RockyLives says:

    Well done RC for the report.

    Fair ratings all round from a disappointing day.

    Arseblog makes the point today that in our last four away games we would have taken 12 points except for blatant mistakes by our players. Instead we took four points.

    If we had those 8 extra points we would have been 5th in the table at the end of yesterday’s game.

    This unprofessional streak has got to be dealt with or we’re going nowhere.

  15. jjgsol says:

    Players are not automatons.

    Everyone makes errors.

    It is unfortunate that so many of the mistakes made by our players end up in goals conceded.

    However, why concentrate on the errors in the defence?

    What about the errors in the midfield, with poorly directed passes, and by the front players with their regular missing the target?

    These errors mean that our ability to score goals, which is what wins games and is, surely, something that Arteta should be concentrating on.

    On another point, will we see ESR again as a regular, or are we back to the Willian bandwagon?

  16. LBG says:

    Have a glorious Birthday, Ray Parlour.
    Oh to be back in the days of thoroughly enjoyable football, of Invincibles, of truly funny men who loved OUR sport.

  17. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC, disappointing but once again the bigger more important game is later this week.

    In games like this I carry out a little sum in my mind where I tot up all the clear cut chances for each side and form a score based on all chances being converted. We won that tally 7-1

    I am not counting Burnley’s goal as a clear cut chance. Nor am I counting the 40 yard shipping half volley as a clear cut chance. Great effort though it was, and it would have been a worldly, it was more a hit and hope long range punt and cant be considered a clear cut chance.

    jjgsol is somewhat correct that the focus should have been on the chances we didn’t take from those 7, although I feel he is wrong to focus on shots on goal only. Some of the better carved out chances end up not being classified a shot on goal as a shot is miscued or the ball just flashes past the post.

    Guardiola City struggled in a similar vein in his first season as they adapted to the way he wanted them to play, and he inhinherited far better team that was more in form already than the mess Arteta walked into.

    As with Guardiola, some of our players will not handle the way Arteta wants to play at the highest level and we will need to upgrade. I think some, but not all, positions will be upgraded this summer, and then we may see games like that become more routine wins rather than dropped points when we were for the most part the dominant team.

    It’s way to early to judge where Arteta can take us and he will need another 2-3 transfer windows with the next one being the more seismic in the changes made.

    If the officiating had been fair and consistent we would have also won that game, even with the error and the missed chances. Wolves are just behind us and Leicester not beyond reach in their current form.

    I wonder what VAR official, Kevin Friend, of the Leicestershire leagues and a Wolves supporter, was thinking when he was making his reviews?

  18. GoonerB says:

    Shipping = dipping

  19. LBG says:

    You give far too much credence to Kevin Friend having a brain!

  20. RockyLives says:


    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the ‘goalscoring opportunity’ stats.

    A pass slid across the face of goal with an onrushing attacker (Aubameyang, say) being just a millimetre or two away from making contact and tapping into an empty net is a much better opportunity than a tame 25 yard shot straight into the arms of the ‘keeper.

    But while the latter appears in the stats as an attempt on goal, the former doesn’t.

  21. RC78 says:

    New post coming up soon

  22. RC78 says:

    New post

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