We were held to a goalless draw by an obdurate Burnley side on a frustrating afternoon in N5 on Sunday
Mikel Arteta was looking for a response from his side after our Carabao Cup semi-final defeat in midweek, but we found it tough going against an organised and disciplined Clarets team.
Aaron Ramsdale was the first of the two keepers to be called into action, making a smart save to turn away a Dwight McNeil cross that deflected towards goal, before Ben Mee hooked a shot from the resulting corner over the bar.
With the visitors getting men behind the ball in numbers, it was tough to find space to operate in the attacking third – and soon Alex Lacazette took matters into his own hand, beating two men and racing into the box, but he shot wide.
Our captain on the day came close again not long afterwards when a flowing move forward opened up the visitors, but Lacazette’s shot was saved by Nick Pope and his follow-up was blocked.
Kieran Tierney sent a shot over the bar as we continued to threaten, while Bukayo Saka curled a shot just wide right on the stroke of half time.
Burnley continued to frustrate us after the restart, and as the game moved past the hour mark, Martin Odegaard had come closest for us with a free kick that grazed the top of the bar.
Emile Smith Rowe was soon picked out by a well-worked corner, but his goalbound shot was saved by Nick Pope – and that chance got the crowd going as they sought to lift the team.
Suddenly new life had been brought into the game, and Smith Rowe’s energy was causing the Clarets all sorts of problems.
Our No 10 soon had another shot blocked, and then made a brilliant, lung-busting run up the left and into the box, only to see his cutback poked inches wide by Lacazette.
As the clock ticked down, frustrations grew as we struggled to find the breakthrough – although Gabriel tested Pope with a firm header from Gabriel Martinelli’s cross with five minutes remaining.
McNeil nearly snatched it for the visitors in stoppage time, shooting inches over at the end of a counter attack – but there was to be no late twist as we had to settle for a point.
WHAT IT MEANS
With the Premier League now on a mid-season break, we’re flying off to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp.
We return to action on February 10 when we travel to Molineux to take on Wolves, before hosting Brentford at Emirates Stadium.
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