Arsenal Analysed: How we broke through Burnley

Burnley analysis

We battled to a 3-1 win against Burnley at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, professionally responding to their equaliser with two goals of our own to put the game to bed.

Adrian Clarke has rewatched the encounter and delved into the stats to find out why we overcame the Clarets:

Set piece distinction

There was a time when Burnley used to make Arsenal supporters nervous every time they stood over a dead ball, but on Saturday it was the other way round. No Premier League side has scored from as many corners or free kicks as us this season (8) and we plundered two more against the Clarets.

Visiting keeper James Trafford, 21, is not the most physically imposing stopper so it appeared to be a tactical ploy for us to swing corners into a crowded six-yard box to test him.

During this match we delivered 13 corners into his area, and the game’s most important moment, William Saliba’s strike to put us 2-1 up in the 57th minute, stemmed from a wicked Leandro Trossard inswinger.

Whipped in at pace, Saliba’s timing to meet the ball was exquisite.

As shown below, he started at the far post before curving his run to nip in front of Trafford at the very last moment. The Burnley goalkeeper was caught by surprise, inadvertently blocking the path of the Frenchman’s marker too.

This was a clever, pre-planned move from the Gunners.

Saliba 1
Saliba 2

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s brilliant goal to seal the 3-1 win in the 74th minute came on the back of a near identical routine.

On that occasion a Burnley defender headed the ball onto his own crossbar, and following a scrambled half-clearance, Zinchenko finished with aplomb.

Interestingly, five of our ten best chances according to XG were from corner kicks.

Left side bias

Trossard played excellently as a roaming central striker, consistently troubling Burnley’s defenders with his sharp, varied movement.

He opened up space for others to run into down the centre of the field throughout.

The Belgian’s natural inclination is to drift left, and this did have a major influence on the pattern of our attacks.

In the second half this was especially evident when just 18.6% of our forays forward were constructed down the right wing.

Left side

Saka enjoyed 42 touches before the break, teasing his full back and almost scoring with a thunderous strike that was tipped onto the bar.

Yet during a frustrating second period for him, the England international touched the ball just nine times before leaving the pitch on 81 minutes.

With Zinchenko the team’s chief architect and Trossard floating left as a matter of course (see his heat map below) we were very left-side heavy in this clash.


Raya excelled

Recent visitors to Emirates Stadium have struggled to fashion many shots on target, but Vincent Kompany’s side mustered an impressive five, just one less than the Gunners.

David Raya palmed away a fierce strike from Zeki Amdouni early on, but it was his 31st minute stop to deny Johann Berg Gudmundsson that stood as his most crucial intervention.

Goalless at the time, the Icelandic’s angled drive from a 1v1 was heading towards the bottom corner, but Raya’s reaction time was spectacularly good.

Stooping low to his left, the Spaniard’s reflexes were superb just when the team needed them to be.


Crosses galore

Sixteen of our 22 crosses from open play occurred before the half-time whistle in an opening period that saw us float a stream of hopeful balls into the danger zone.

It was a habit or tactic which frustrated at times, with clear cut opportunities thin on the ground against a deep, well-drilled Burnley outfit.

Thankfully we did score from our 16th and final cross of that half when Zinchenko’s excellent delivery was met by Bukayo Saka, who knocked the ball down for Trossard to score our 1,000th goal at Emirates Stadium.

From half-time onwards we crossed the ball far less frequently, and Burnley’s need to push forward in search of a goal played a part in that change.

Wanting more of the ball inside our half, they held a higher defensive line, which in turn allowed us to attack in a different way.

Dominance from Zinny

This was Oleksandr Zinchenko’s best performance of the season so far, so he deservedly sealed the three points with a fabulous ‘karate kick’ volley into the top corner.

From the left, inside central areas, and even to the right of centre, our gifted Ukrainian consistently prompted our build-up play with precise passes.

Burnley tried to test him in the air, but he passed that examination with flying colours, winning seven of eight aerial duels.

Zinchenko also ranked highest among Arsenal players for tackles, duels won and most passes in every region of the pitch.

Zinchenko v Burnley Total Rank
Duels won 14 1st
Aerial duels won 7 1st
Passes 95 1st
Passes in opp half 64 1st
Passes in final third 45 1st
Tackles 5 1st

His classy left-foot finish for the goal was his standout moment but Zinchenko’s assertiveness and quality shone brightly over the course of the whole match.

Gabriel Martinelli will certainly have been grateful for the service provided to him by Zinchenko, who picked him out 22 times.


This was a battling display from Mikel Arteta’s side, who had to fight for the three points against stubborn opponents, with Fabio Vieira’s late red card making things a little more difficult.

Yet there were still several quality contributions from individual players.

Trossard, Martinelli, Rice, Raya and Saliba were all very good, but Zinchenko was perhaps the pick of the bunch.


See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info