Burnley 1-1 Arsenal
Was this really a bad result?
Given Burnley’s home record it’s not. Burnley, for all their sieve-like qualities on the road, are a strong side at at Turf Moor. We all knew that and so it proved.
But compared to the results across the rest of the league last night, then it is a blow. We’ve edged further away from the top two, and nearer the teams below.
And for those who desperately hoped that the 2-1 win at Anfield would be a springboard to more consistency, and a genuine sense of chasing the leading pack, then it’s a massive disappointment. We blow so hot and cold as a side that the fans are getting chill blains. The inability to push on is probably the most infuriating thing for me.
It’s very frustrating. Wenger, in the post-match interview, went through the repertoire to explain it – lacking physical sharpness, taking the foot off the gas at 1-0 – stuff we hear all too often because it happens all too often.
Nevertheless, Burnley do of course deserve credit for taking the game to Arsenal and bumping us out of our stride. It often works – and not just against us. We had some chances to win it, but we didn’t really deserve to and 1-1 seems about right.
There are clearly some players struggling for form. Walcott is one, but then he’s only played about 200 minutes all season. He needs more games but last night he was again ineffective. You could say the same for Nasri and Diaby – neither of whom have had many consecutive match minutes. How can we expect any of these players to reach their peaks when they play so intermittently?
Almunia is another – he’s really having a rotten year. His early-season wobble has not given way to mid-season sturdiness as you might have hoped. He’s flapping all over the place and it’s horrible to see.
Our best player, Fabregas, succumbed to injury in the 43rd minute and that made things harder yet. He’s about the nine millionth Arsenal player to hobble off this season. We can only hope it’s not a long layoff though he’s out for Saturday.
Despite all that, we have taken 4 points from 6 at two tough away venues, without having set the world alight in either game.
So not a bad result, but neither was it any kind of affirmation that this side is going to charge headlong for the title.