Arsenal 0 Burnley 0

Arsenal failed to fire in a 0-0 draw at Burnley despite welcoming back leading goal scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from a three game ban following his sending off at Crystal Palace. Like his team mates, Aubameyang had a lively start at Turf Moor, initially setting up Alexandre Lacazette for a header which the France striker headed wide of the target. Aubameyang was then put through by David Luiz’s searching ball but got his angles horribly wrong with a shot which was just as forgetful. The Gabon striker could and should have opened the scoring when this time he was put in by Granit Xhaka. Burnley’s goal keeper came off his line as Aubameyang went for a lob, but Pope’s huge reach enabled him to grab the rising ball before it was able to rise over his head.

The home side then settled into the game with Arsenal giving away needless free-kicks and throw-ins in dangerous areas. The Clarets loaded up their big men from these set pieces, but Jeff Hendrick and James Tarkowski especially were unable and the target with close range headers. Jay Rodriguez should have netted the games opener deep into the second half, but goal line technology ruled the ball hadn’t crossed the line having initially hit the bar.

Arsenal’s best chance for a second half strike fell to Aubameyang. His powerful header from Lacazette’s cross from the left looked to have the beating of Pope, however it flew just wide of his upright. The Gunners rallied late on, but having been unable to get on target themselves, they ensured that Burnley did like wise to hold out for a point and another away clean sheet. Bukayo Saka came off with a knock to his knee with Lucas Torreira relating him at the break.

Mikel Arteta reflected on his side’s missed early chances which set the tone for the match.

“I think we started really, really well, we could have scored at least two. We dominated the game like we wanted, we got out from their pressure pretty well, we played in the opponents’ half and we controlled the long balls and second balls. After 20 to 25 minutes, we started to concede a lot of unnecessary free-kicks, throw-ins, corner kicks and when that happens you can’t find any continuity in your play and that is not the game we want to play.

“I was very disappointed with the way we started the second half, the first 15 to 20 minutes we could not control any aspect of the game and we allowed a lot of crosses and second balls inside our box, and at some stages we were lucky not to concede a goal. The positive thing is the reaction in the last 20 minutes, when we started to play again, we had the courage to play and the courage to take the opportunity that they allowed. The space was there because they committed a lot of people forward but we couldn’t finish the actions well enough to score,” said Arteta.

The Arsenal head coach revealed that he had instructed the staff at their training ground pitch not to be water it in preparation for the Turf Moor surface. In truth, Turf Moor’s long grass which Burnley prefer to play on almost told us from the start that we could not get a classic fixture.

However what we did get was another draw, a battling draw and a point with a clean sheet to build on after the winter break. Arsenal will jet off for warm weather training in Dubai before returning to London to next host Newcastle United in the Premier League.