Tactical Points from Arsenal’s draw at Turf Moor
By Vinay Shankar
Arsenal’s best spell of the game was the first 15-20 minutes, with Lacazette and Aubameyang both missing guilt-edged opportunities. They broke the high press of Burnley with ease and attacked the back four at every instant. Burnley defended deep so once the midfield pressure is overcome there’s a lot of space to operate in for the attackers.
Despite the dominance in possession, Arsenal couldn’t capitalise on the chances and as the first half went on, Burnley’s long-ball tactics came into play.
Saka was very influential and played a lot of dangerous crosses into the box as the build-up play was focussed down the left flank. Once he suffered a knock from a rough challenge, his attacking play was limited and Arsenal’s control over the game reduced after that.
Burnley had two primary modes of attack- knockdowns from Wood with Rodriguez bringing the midfield into play and crosses into the box by the wingers and full-backs.
Dealing with the second ball and 50-50s are crucial to playing against Burnley and Arsenal struggled to deal with them all game. Mustafi and Luiz aren’t proactive/aggressive centre-backs so if they don’t win the header, they tend to drop off and struggle to cope later.
As the half wore on, Arsenal started to give away cheap free-kicks and even though they dealt with most of the pressure, it wasn’t entirely convincing.
Burnley kept up the pressure at the start of the second half and Arsenal just didn’t deal with the quality of the deliveries coming into the box. In fact, it was Burnley players getting in each other’s way from set-pieces that kept the score at nil-nil.
Ozil’s body language was really disappointing in the second half as he didn’t track back to help out his teammates or press with Lacazette high up the pitch. Willock’s introduction certainly brought a little more energy to Arsenal’s attack and his runs from deep allowed Arsenal to counter-attack. Aubameyang had a free header from one such counter-attack but he missed the target by a few inches.
Arsenal had a huge slice of luck when Rodriguez’s shoot didn’t cross the line but the warning wasn’t heeded as we kept giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas and luckily held on for a point.
Lacazette had a very poor all-round game as his hold-up play was appalling and his away goal drought continues. Arteta should have replaced him much earlier in the game with either Pepe or Nketiah.
Martinelli should have started down the left side as his link-up play with Saka has been the highlight of Arsenal’s games recently. Because of this switch, there was a complete lack of cohesion between the forwards.
Luckily, this mid-season break comes at a good time for the team to regroup and recover. By the end of the break hopefully Kolasinac is back and Saka’s injury isn’t too serious as the injuries in the full-back positions are piling up every game.