A very good afternoon fellow Positives,
That contest was far from the smooth, efficient and goal difference boosting game I had been hoping for. Despite a unique PL first half in which we actually went in for the half time orange in front the Clarets were awkward opponents all afternoon, and I expect Sean Dyche is fuming in his usual splenetic manner after games at the Ems.
Of the match itself we were neither fluent nor were particularly sharp in our pressing play. We did enough however to open Burnley up through a patient interchange of passes, a deft touch from Mesut and a combination of Sead and PEA slotted the opener past a flailing Hart.
I saw no floodgates in the vicinity after our first goal however and, while I have not looked at the first half or the overall game stats, I suspect it was an even 50/50 possession for the afternoon. Nacho’s early departure was a blow, from playing a 3.5 formation at the back we then played a (? fill in the formation you think you saw). I think it was 4 with Granit sometimes the centre back, or the left sides third back, but I don’t know. And I am not too sure Unai does either.
Having sensed the chance of something better than a drubbing Burnley came out i the second half and both sides traded blows liberally and, in Barnes’ case, literally. Could the Burnley have been sent off ? Definitely ! Should Ashley have been sent off ? Probably! Had Mike Dean been the referee would he have been off ? Undoubtedly!
Amidst the battle however we carved out a rare second goalscoring chance and Auba tucked away his second in tidy fashion. Rather than slumping into a plucky-underdogs- defeated-mode however, Burnley regrouped and steamed into us with even greater vigour. Not in the bloody script at all. Barnes of all people ( boo – hiss) took advantage of a deflected clearance and Arsenal fans at home and in the stadium lurched into panic as he fairy on the festive football tree turned out to have witch tendencies. o do ot know about you dear reader but that was a very, very long 30 minutes between Barnes’ goal and Iwobi’s final killer blow.
Our man of the match for a sterling display going forward, involvement in our two opening goals and flattening the opposition when required goes to Sead Kolasinac. The “thunder of Bosnian hooves” headline stolen from the normally lugubrious Alan Smith. I would have given an award to Alex Lacazette, who was industry personified and ran the Burnley defence ragged, but after he was taken off the Frenchman appeared to be having some sort of hissy fit. No idea why but I imagine we shall hear more wild rumour on the topic. Pat on the back for Guendouzi as well.
I anticipate the same game at the Amex stadium on Wednesday so keep those gloves available, shin guards handy and gum shield within reach.
Have a fine Christmas for those who do the festival, and for those who don’t enjoy the weekend. I know I shall.