Arsenal 3 Burnley 1
Aubameyang 14, 48, Iwbobi 90 A. Barnes 63

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double either side of the of the break inspired Arsenal to get back to winning ways with a well earned win over Burnley at the Emirates. Aubameyang finished off a neat patient build up move for the opener, where Mesut Ozil’s pass out to the left for Sead Kolasinac to pull back for the assist was just brilliant. Ozil was named captain for the day, and his jinking run and blocked shot late on enabled substitute Alex Iwobi to pounce for Arsenal’s third goal. Aubameyang had already given the Gunners their and his second by that stage, another free flowing move involving Kolasinac from the left again, Alexandre Lacazette and finally  Aubameyang to rifle in from ten yards to beat Joe Hart at his near post for his 12th goal of the season. Burnley had given the Gunners a few nervy moments following Ashley Barnes profiting from the Arsenal defence dithering when trying to clear their lines. That strike heartened the Clarets at 2-1, but Arsenal found the strength and the substance to finally overcome a dogged opponent. Aubameyang is now top of the goal scoring chart and more goals will surely follow in the Gabon strikers first full season in the Premier League.

Unai Emery made six changes to his side. Not only was he able to restore Ozil after his recent back problem, but he also handed the German the captain’s armband. Mohamed Elneny made his first Premier League start under Emery, while 17 year old talented striker Bukayo Saka was among the substitutes. On his day, Ozil is the heartbeat of this team. Emery however demands more and without the ball is where the two seem to have a difference of opinion. For Emery, Ozil has to track back, to tackle and try to regain possession high up when a move flounders. We saw all the good things which Ozil does, however when he was forced off the ball or facing a Burnley runner, we also saw what needs to be worked on.

Burnley certainly scented a shock similar to that inflicted by Southampton last week end, where the Gunners were never allowed to settle or take control of the game. With Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and now Nacho Monreal all giving Emery a defensive headache he could do without, Arsenal may have to rely Granit Xhaka dropping into defence alongside Sokratis and Stephan Lichsteiner as he did after Monreal went off  early in the second half.

Burnley gave the Gunners some worrying moments with their no nonsense efficiency. Sokratis is however among those in the Arsenal ranks who give as good as he gets as Ashley Barnes saw when the pair tussled on the touchline. Arsenal stood firm and maybe Kevin Long will feel aggrieved not to have gotten a penalty when Kolasinac appeared to push him in the box and with the score at 2-1. Jack Cork placed wide as the visitors tried to find a leveller, but Arsenal weatherd that storm to then rediscover their offensive potency. Hart was unable to keep out Aubameyang’s second after some good work from Lacazette.

The France striker was upset with his substitution for Iwobi on 78 minutes, but in stoppage time, following some more Ozil magic, Iwobi was first to react to tuck in the Gunners’ third to claim all three points.

Aubameyang later described this as the most physical game he has played in. Emery knows that more of the same will follow this season.

He said: “ They are a very organised team with one very, very clear characteristic in their game plan. But we respect that and also, we need to adapt for these moments: long balls, second actions and duels with the body. They are more physical than us, that’s normal, but we knew these situations in the game in the 90 minutes and we wanted to impose our moments with possession, with good movement on the pitch, moving the ball quickly from one side to the other and progressing with combinations and attacking play in their half.

“But we know usually that when they have the ball they start with long balls and second actions, and we need to adapt for these moments in the game. They are a very good team with an organised coach but we also need to play our moment. Physically they are stronger than us. We worked very well and I’m happy with their commitment. We worked very well and some players played out of their natural position. Xhaka played the second half like a centre back and Licht also played centre back – and I think their commitment is very big to help us.”

Arsenal next face two away days at Brighton on Boxing Day, then Liverpool on the 29th December. The final festive fixture will see Fulham arrive in N5 on new Year’s Day.