By Walter Broeckx
Rather a lot of changes in the starting line up for this FA cup match.
The most important one was of course the fact that Mohamed Elneny made his debut for Arsenal. And also a first start since his injury in mid november for Francis Coquelin.
For the rest we had Chambers and Gibbs starting at the full back positions in the place of Bellerin and Monreal. Ospina in goal for Cech.
Also a starting place for Iwobi in this mach and for Alexo Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And also a starting place for Alexis for the first time since his injury. A few players who got a bit of a rest like Özil and Ramsey.
Team that started: Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Giroud
On the beach: Cech, Monreal, Bellerin, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott, Campbell.
Arsenal with a few corner early on and a low shot from Alexis that went just wide of the Burnley goal. A bit later a low shot from distance from Elneny but straight at the keeper.
Burnley with a chance but Ospina could save in corner I think as my stream went down for a few moments. Ospina actually with a good save I could see later. Gibbs with a good run and a low cross that took a few touches in the box and ended with a shot from Chambers that got somehow blocked by the Burnley defenders. 0-0 after 15 minutes with Arsenal well on top.
Arsenal keep on attacking and a long spell of possession ends up with Iwobi laying it off to Alexis who passes it on to Chambers who curls it with the outside of his boot in the top corner. A lovely shot! GOAL!!! 1-0 to The Arsenal after 19 minutes.
Alexis very lively and in the mix of each dangers attack but the Burnley defenders rather successful in cutting out the shots. Another attempt from Alexis is blocked at the last hurdle. Burney get a corner and when Arsenal can’t clear their lines Vokes can head a cross in. 1-1 after 30 minutes.
Coquelin went down just before that goal after a collision with another Arsenal player but could carry on. A cross from Iwobi gets a touch and is too difficult for Oxlade-Chamberlain to convert. A shot from Oxlade-Chamberlain but the keeper could hold on to his shot before Alexis could become dangerous. Alexis with a few amazing movements getting him past a few players but a defender can block his cross. Giroud just not at the end of a loose ball in the Burnley penalty area and Alexis with a deflected shot. Again lots of Arsenal pressure in the final minutes of the first half after Burnley had a better spell after their equaliser. At half time the score was 1-1.
Burnley with a soft free kick at the start of the first half but Iwobi was first on the ball to prevent a Burnley play from having a shot from close range. Alexis with an attempt to play Giroud in but the latter didn’t understand the idea. Ospina at the other end with a save on a low shot and then had to be quick to be first on the ball at the expense of a knee in his back from Arfield. No card ref?
Arsenal with an attack down the middle. Iwobi with a ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and his low cross was put in the net by Alexis. GOAL! 2-1 to The Arsenal. after 53 minutes.
Iwobi with a shot from the edge of the penalty area but blocked by a defender. Koscielny just couldn’ get on the end of the corner. Arsenal still 2-1 in front after 60 minutes.
The Ox wins a corner and the ball goes to Elneny who has a hard shot but too close to the keeper. Burnley with a good attack but Koscielny on hand to put the cross in to a corner. Arfield gets a yellow card when he drags down Alexis. Elneny a bit later with a shot from inside the penalty area but he couldn’t keep his shot low. Iwobi goes off after 70 minutes and Rosicky comes on. Coquelin also goes off and Arteta comes on. Alexis with a free kick but a great save from Heaton to prevent a third Arsenal goal.
Koscielny gets a yellow card for a handball after handling a long ball. Burnley with a shot after a corner that went over. After 77 minutes Alexis was replaced by Walcott.
Burnley more and more trying to go forward but not really dangerous. The Ox at the other end with a shot over the bar after a long attack from Arsenal. Theo being called back for a doubtful offside decision with 4 minutes to go. Burnley now working with the long high ball bombing everything towards the Arsenal penalty area whenever they get a free kick. And that is a lot of times to be honest. Gray with a shot that went wide in the last minute of normal time. Ospina had it covered.
Two Arsenal players down in extra time after some battling for the ball by Gray, some arms in the stomach, a handball but nothing seen by the ref. Burnley give the ball back by putting Arsenal under pressure close to their own penalty area. What do you want from a team who has Barton in its ranks…. But Giroud manages to win a free kick relieve the pressure. Theo with run, a one-two with The Ox and finally a shot from Elneny that goes wide. Theo send away by The Ox but the keeper wins the duel. Burnley try to counter one more time but Koscielny blocks the last effort.
Arsenal win 2-1 against a good Burnley side who has shown that they are close to PL level. If just for that one player… why on earth give yourself a dirty name by employing such a player like Barton?
A difficult game, some players with some more running time on the field, others who had a rest and a win in the FA cup. Good enough for me.