PL REPORT: Burnley 1 Arsenal 1
Clarets hit 30 points and make history in dramatic finish at Turf Moor
The Clarets created a piece of club history as they came from behind to secure a fifth successive home league draw.
Burnley have never racked up such a run in the top-flight before but did so thanks to Chris Wood’s fifth goal of the season.
The striker’s fortuitous strike just before the break cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early opener as the Clarets set a new first.
And, critically, Sean Dyche's men made Wood’s effort count as a dramatic second half somehow failed to produce a further goal.
Both sides went close to winning it and it needed VAR to overrule an Arsenal penalty and save substitute Erik Pieters an unjust red card.
And after Pieters had also gone close to a wonder-goal himself in an incident-packed cameo, the Clarets were left to reflect on another valuable point which takes them to 30 for the season and ever closer to guaranteed survival on the back of a timely run of just one defeat in seven league games.
The Clarets’ win at Arsenal last December had set up the chance of a first double over the Gunners in 58 years.
But the chance to create further modern-day history was made more difficult after just five minutes as the visitors took an early lead.
Aubameyang – whose own-goal at the Emirates Stadium had sealed Burnley’s inaugural Premier League victory over Arsenal – invariably scores in this fixture.
And the Gunners’ captain did it again with his eighth goal in seven games against the Clarets, collecting Willian’s pass and cutting in to squeeze a shot just inside the post after Nick Pope looked to have done enough to keep the ball out.
With the home wins having dried up on the back of four successive home draws, Burnley – who had Johann Berg Gudmundsson back from injury and replacing the absent Jack Cork – then had to do it the hard way.
And they took their time to find their stride as too many passes went astray to have any chance of building momentum or putting Arsenal under pressure.
The Gunners had chances to extend their lead as Bukayo Saka poked an effort wide after a one-two with Aubameyang and Thomas Partey lifted a shot over the top after being teed-up by on-loan Real Madrid man Martin Odegaard.
But Arsenal had already lost 11 times in the Premier League this season – a figure they have only exceeded once in a 38-game campaign – and they gifted Burnley a route back into the contest seven minutes before half-time.
The Gunners’ mis-placed efforts to play the ball out from the back often looked the Clarets’ best route to goal and so it proved as Wood equalised.
Granit Xhaka had been sent off in the last meeting of the teams. And the Swiss international again proved the fall guy when he collected a short pass from goalkeeper Bernd Leno and in his attempts to sweep possession wide to Calum Chambers only succeeded in driving the ball against Wood who gleefully accepted his first goal against Arsenal as it bounced off him and into the net.
That unexpected leveller got the Clarets going as they lifted the tempo at the start of the second half, although Arsenal still had openings as Odegaard forced Pope to save and Saka then drove an effort against James Tarkowski when well placed.
The momentum was increasingly with Burnley, though, as they pushed to try and create the potentially decisive opening.
Matej Vydra worked tirelessly to unsettle the Arsenal defence and almost fashioned a chance for himself as he twisted and turned on the edge of the penalty area.
And twice within a minute the Clarets came close to a winner.
Pieters – who had just survived a handball appeal at the other end – almost claimed his first Premier League goal for the Clarets in spectacular style with a superb long-range volley which Leno touched over the bar at full stretch.
And the Arsenal keeper then made an even better stop to keep out a first-time finish from Wood from Vydra’s pass.
With less than 10 minutes to go it was suddenly all happening with Arsenal then thinking they were going to take all three points.
Substitute Nicolas Pepe failed to connect in front of goal and then moments later did hammer in a volley which Pieters brilliantly blocked almost on the goalline.
Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot and showed Pieters a red card before the VAR check overturned both decisions after the ball had been shown to have hit the Clarets’ defender on the shoulder.
The drama wasn’t over yet as Dani Ceballos then rattled a post in injury time as Arsenal – as they have done so often before – almost again delivered late heartache for the Clarets.
But with Burnley's defenders riding their luck and also bravely blocking almost everything that came their way - Ben Mee brilliantly denying Aubameyang right at the death - they kept the Gunners out to earn another big point on a gripping afternoon.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor (Pieters 63); Gudmundsson (Brady 67), Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood, Vydra (Rodriguez 85). Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Stephens, Bardsley, Long, Dunne, Benson.
Arsenal: Leno; Chambers, Luiz, Mari, Tierney; Partey (Ceballos 80), Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (Lacazette 63), Willian (Pepe 69); Aubameyang. Substitutes: Ryan, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Elneny, Martinelli.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Mon, May 10, 2021