Arsenal 3-1 Burnley

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Interview

'It's the mindset... the coach urged us to press'

We came out on top with a 3-1 win over Burnley in a physical encounter at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The clash was typified with a series of hotly-contested duels – and Ainsley Maitland-Niles believes that Unai Emery’s philosophy was key to holding our own and picking up all three points.

“It’s always nice to get a win in front of the fans,” Ainsley told Arsenal Player. “Especially after losing two games in a row, it’s nice to be back to winning ways. It was a scrappy game, but I think the boys dug deep and we got enough goals to secure the win.

“I found the game very tough. Every game is tough, it’s just about the mindset, the manager has always urged us to press and I think we carried that out pretty well today. I was just trying to encourage the boys as I go on and I’m just grateful to be out there.

“The games [against Southampton and Tottenham] were over, there was nothing we could do about the last two games, so we focused on this one and look at the result today.”

Video

Watch the goals from our win over Burnley

Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one from Alex Iwobi gave us a 3-1 win over Burnley on Saturday.

Auba opened the scoring when finishing a brilliant team move early on, before the striker scored his 12th Premier League goal of the season shortly after the break.

Ashley Barnes pulled one back but Iwobi came off the bench to make the points safe late on.

To watch extended highlights from Emirates Stadium, press the 'Play' button above. Alternatively, you can watch all the goals, a bitesize clip and a full match replay below - plus a video of Ainsley Maitland-Niles providing a child with a perfect early Christmas present.

Interview

How Sokratis predicted Auba would score two

We all know Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a natural finisher – but Sokratis even knew how many goals he would score in Saturday’s victory.

The Gabon international found the net twice in our 3-1 win over Burnley to move to the top of the Premier League’s scoring charts, with Sokratis claiming that he told our forward exactly what would happen before the game even kicked off.

Read on to find out what Aubameyang and Sokratis said when they faced the cameras together:

On the game…
PEA: Yes, it was a physical battle, it was really, really hard. Papa loves games like this! But we won and that's the most important thing.
 
On when he last played in a game that feisty…
PEA: Never! It was really, really hard and I think all the team fought and did well
 
On whether he likes physical matches…
SP: Yes of course. It was a difficult game today, it was important for us to win three points. Now we have to look forward to the next games. Before the game what did I say to you?
 
PEA: Yes, that's true, you said I would score two.
 
SP: I know Auba. I've known him for six or seven years. In these games he does it every time, one two or three goals.
 
On the battle with Barnes… 
SP: Of course I enjoy it, that's football.
 
PEA: He has the body!
 
SP: Sometimes it was too much, but I don't think that was my mistake. I just stood up to go from the ball. But it's OK, it's football, it can happen.
 
On his goals.. 
PEA: On the first one I just tried to be faster than the defender. I tried to shoot at goal. For the second one, we worked on this, in front of goal, and this was like yesterday (in training). The first touch was good, the control is important, then you just shoot and try to score!
 
On being top scorer…
PEA: I think it's cool, and it's good to know, but now I'm just looking forward because the season is still long.
 
SP: How many do you have now?
 
PEA: Twelve.
 
SP: OK, I think 30 will happen. I hope that he will win it.

Press conference

Unai's press conference: Every single word

Unai Emery was a happy man on Saturday after we returned to winning ways, courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Burnley.

After the match, our head coach discussed a variety of topics including Mesut Ozil, Nacho Monreal and more. Read on for what he said: 

on his relationship with Sean Dyche on the touchline…
Good afternoon. I think the most important thing is our victory. The things that happened on the pitch between the players and between us is our moment also. Only with these moments with the referee between us, I think we need to have respect for the referee and have respect between us.

on accusation of diving…
No. I do not agree.

on whether he thinks his players dived at all…
No. It’s not my spirit. Diving, I think, is not correct.

on Auba saying it the feistiest game he has played in England - and whether it was the same for him…
Yes. They are a very organised team with one very, very clear characteristic in their game plan. But we respect that and also, we need to adapt for these moments: long balls, second actions and duels with the body. They are more physical than us, that’s normal, but we knew these situations in the game in the 90 minutes and we wanted to impose our moments with possession, with good movement on the pitch, moving the ball quickly from one side to the other and progressing with combinations and attacking play in their half. But we know usually that when they have the ball they start with long balls and second actions, and we need to adapt for these moments in the game. They are a very good team with an organised coach but we also need to play our moment. Physically they are stronger than us. We worked very well and I’m happy with their commitment. We worked very well and some players played out of their natural position. Xhaka played the second half like a centre back and Licht also played centre back - and I think their commitment is very big to help us. 

on respecting the referees and whether he felt Burnley showed respect...
No, not for them or for us. I think it’s for all. We need to respect the referee’s decision. I think VAR is coming here in the future and I think this will help the referees, because the referees can make mistakes, like us. I make mistakes every day but I want to learn and I want to also help to do less mistakes with my decisions. The referees are the same, but we need to respect them. I think today was very important for us. We struggled with their actions and they struggled with our actions. 

on Mesut Ozil starting and captaining the side…
Very good response. I think he played like we needed, today. His skills, his commitment with us today was very good and he helped us. I spoke yesterday with you in the press conference, we need Mesut Ozil and like today, he was there for us.

on being steely and whether not being steely was why we lost in Southampton…
I think not this reason that we lost in Southampton. There were more things. Today, we arrived in moments to do that but it’s not our best quality. But we had conditions to win against teams like today, Burnley, and we showed them today. Brighton is the same, a very tough match physically, very organised and like today with Burnley, a very good coach who is working very well. It is a challenge and I respect those teams a lot because they also have good players, they decide to do one line up with physical players because in the stronger moments it is like that, with a lot of crosses for the strikers for heading in our box. We need to defend very far in our box to defend better against that.

on Nacho Monreal and which defenders are available…
It’s starting to be a muscular problem and we decided to change and not take more risks with him. But I hope it’s not big and I hope he can be with us next week. I don’t know if he can play in Brighton, but we can play, I think, Koscielny. Mustafi is close also for coming with us. We can take more injuries but we can also recover more players.

on Lacazette’s reaction to being substituted…
I didn’t see that, but I think he is happy with our victory. Only he wanted to score and when a striker doesn’t score, I like that he can be angry with his situation. But he worked very well today. For me, the last matches are the best he has played. He is coming back as the best Lacazette to help us.

Press conference

‘VAR is coming… this will help the referees’ 

Unai Emery was pleased by the way his team stood up to the physical challenge posed by Burnley on Saturday, and believes technology will help referees in this sort of fixture when VAR is introduced next season.

Reiterating the importance he places on respecting the officials, Emery said: "Respect is for all. We need to respect the referee’s decision. I think VAR is coming here in the future and I think this will help the referees, because the referees can make mistakes, like us.

"I make mistakes every day but I want to learn and I want to also help to do less mistakes with my decisions.

"The referees are the same, but we need to respect them. I think today was very important for us. We struggled with their actions and they struggled with our actions." 

Press conference

Emery gives an update on Nacho Monreal’s fitness

Nacho Monreal was taken off during the first half of our 3-1 win over Burnley on Saturday, forcing Unai Emery into another defensive reshuffle.

However, after the game Emery said he was optimistic the problem wouldn’t be serious.

“It’s starting to be a muscular problem and we decided to change and not take more risks with him. But I hope it’s not big and I hope he can be with us next week.

“I don’t know if he can play at Brighton, but we can play, I think, Koscielny.

“Also Mustafi is close to coming with us. We can take more injuries but we can also recover more players.”

 

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 3-1 Burnley: How it happened

Aubameyang

WHAT HAPPENED 

Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a late Iwobi strike were enough to see off Burnley and get the Gunners back to winning ways.

Mesut Ozil - back in the side as captain - played a huge part in both the first and last goals, but the game was only settled in injury-time, after the visitors had threatened a second-half comeback when they reduced the arrears to 2-1 just after the hour mark.

In the end our extra quality made the difference against a battling, determined Burnley side.

The visitors - despite starting the day in the relegation zone – created their fair share of chances during an entertaining game.  

Indeed both teams had chances to score inside the opening two minutes. Firstly Ainsley Maitland-Niles broke into the box on the overlap from right back, and Had a shot turned away by Joe Hart before Aubameyang's attempt at the follow up was smothered out.

Immediately Burnley broke, taking advantage of a Nacho Monreal slip, Ashley Westwood strode through on goal but Bernd Leno tipped his low shot round the post.

Granit Xhaka was next to be denied by Joe Hart, but we soon broke the deadlock. There were 18 passes in the build-up, undoubtedly the pick of them was Mesut Ozil's – slicing through the box to find Sead Kolasinac at the far post. He cut it back for Aubameyang to flick home cleverly past Hart. 

It settled us down and both full backs continued to bomb forward from the back. Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were then given even more license to get forward once we reverted to a back three – Nacho Monreal went off injured and Stephan Lichtsteiner's introduction prompted the change of shape from Unai Emery.

The second goal came from a storming run down the left from Kolasinac, who cut inside, fed Alexandre Lacazette who in turn teed up his striking partner Aubameyang to thunder home into the roof of the net.

Burnley kept coming though, and found a way back into the game when Ashley Barnes smashed home a loose ball in the area. The Gunners had failed to clear the danger with the ball bouncing around in the box.

It made the rest of the game more nervy than it needed to be for the final 20 minutes, until Iwobi's injury time strike settled matters.

Once again Ozil was the chief architect, weaving his way into the box before his scuffed shot fell to Iwobi who converted from close range.

We had to work until the very final whistle for the three points, but they were well-deserved in the end.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Click here to read a play by play account of our final game before Christmas

TEAM NEWS

Having been omitted from the squad entirely on Wednesday, Ozil returned to the starting line-up to captain the team again. Lacazette partnered Pierre-Aubameyang up front while Mohamed Elneny came in for his first Premier League appearance of the season.

WHAT IT MEANS

We stay in fifth place, but close the gap on the teams above us before the busy Christmas schedule kicks in in earnest.

WHAT'S NEXT

This was the first of four games in the space of 11 days over Christmas and New Year, the next two are both away from home – at Brighton on Boxing Day and against Liverpool at Anfield three days later. The festive period concludes at home to Fulham on New Year's Day.