Arsenal won the battle of the Emirates yesterday in a very physical game against Burnley, who are fighting for their Premiership survival chances. They tried to bully us but the lads gave as good as they got and refused to be intimidated by the Northerners.
Huddersfield came to the Emirates a couple of weeks ago with the same type of plan, and nearly managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw until a certain Mr Torreira scored a stunner to take the points. I think Burnley battled even more than the Yorkshiremen but Unai Emery will be pleased with our fighting qualities, and accepted that we will face these types of teams and have to learn how to deal with them.
The boss told Arsenal.com after yesterday’s game: “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.”
Arsenal did seem to sit back after going 2-0 up and had to resist many temptations to retaliate when the Clarets got stuck in, but we handled them well and took the points. I think Emery’s new arrivals Sokratis and Lichtsteiner have contributed to our new determination, and I am very pleased to see it!