This weekend was encouraging for Unai Emery, the Arsenal manager, as his team continued to bounce back from their dismal end of last season. Failure to finish the league in the top four and losing the Europa League final against Chelsea led to a summer of recriminations as fans vented their frustrations. However, the manager has quietly assembled a more vibrant squad than he had in his troubled first campaign.
Beginning the season with two successive wins for the first time in 10 years is an early sign of a promising Arsenal ahead of sterner tests against Liverpool and Tottenham in their next two games.
Nicolas Pepe, the Club’s record signing, overwhelmed everyone after coming off the bench immediately after half time and announced himself to the home crowd with some effortlessly brilliant skills to leave two opposing defenders dead. On the other hand, the former Chelsea defender David Luiz was not rock solid on his debut as expected. Mesut Ozil was again absent from the Gunners squad after the German midfielder was ill earlier this week. Ozil also missed the Newcastle match because of “further security fears” after being involved in a carjacking incident with team-mate Sead Kolasinac in July.
Additionally, Lacazette encountered with Sokratis’ flick with a close-range header that Burnley goalkeeper, Nick Pope tipped over and came close to putting Arsenal in front. It was only a temporary reprieve for Burnley as Emery’s side took the lead from the resulting corner in the 13th minute. Ceballos’s corner reached Lacazette at the near post and he showed impressive strength to hold off Erik Pieters as he turned away from a gaggle of Burnley defenders, his determined effort sending him slipping to the turf but not before he guided his shot through Pope’s legs.
The match drew a huge cheer from the Arsenal fans as Ceballos escaped the attentions of his markers by showing a deft touch and quick feet. He was compared to Gunners’ great Cesc Fabregas by the fans. Reiss Nelson squandered a chance to double Arsenal’s lead when he fired too close to Pepe, who also denied Matteo Guendouzi after another attack sliced through the Burnley defence.
However, Burnley leveled in the 43rd minute when Dwight McNeil’s shot deflected to Barnes and he took advantage of Arsenal’s sloppy marking to poke home from close range for his third goal of the season. Nelson had a goal ruled out for an offside against Nacho Monreal moments later in what proved to be the young winger’s last contribution before he was replaced by Pepe at half-time. Pope was in fine form and he pushed away Ceballos’s shot from the edge of the area, but even the Burnley keeper couldn’t stem the tide forever.
Ceballos persistently won possession and found Aubameyang in the 64th minute, and he accelerated his speed towards the Burnley area. Aubameyang had time and space to drill a blistering strike past Pope after Burnley’s defenders backing off, sparking a fevered touchline celebration from Emery as Arsenal’s early-season momentum gathered pace.