Theo Walcott roundly answered his critics with a fine performance but Samir Nasri also stepped up to the plate following the injury to Cesc Fabregas.
Somewhere in his dorm in Paris, with a telescope by one side, a silver-haired, rectangular-rimmed spectacled man was frantically searching the night sky for some answers. Destiny has always been bestowed upon him but he has never fully felt in control of proceedings – the stars have all the answers he feels. Sometimes they conspire against him, most it is felt they provide him with the wrong advice and on some occasions, just fail to give any. But if Raymond Domenech was watching closely, he would have noticed a little star shining brightly named Samir Nasri.
Nasri was given the central role that the France manager demanded if he were to be selected for the national team and on this display, demonstrated the sort of creativity and ingenuity in movement that was missing in their 2-0 defeat to Spain. The ball he laid on for Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal’s first goal was pure genius, as his wonderfully weighted chipped pass plopped straight from the sky and on to the feet of the captain. The Spaniard made sure of his fourteenth goal of the season to equal Robert Pires as the highest scoring Arsenal midfielder in a season with another perfectly timed run that has put him on such a par echelon. But it was to be Fabregas’ last significant contribution of the match as the main protagonist’s exit is set to elevate an even greater role for one of Arsenal’s support cast. Most likely to be out for the crucial Champions League game against FC Porto, Fabregas’ hamstring injury should mean Samir Nasri stepping up to the position behind the main forward. It is a role that should suit him most, having gained such comparisons with Zinedine Zidane back in his home town of Marseille and would fit in well with his ability to provide good support to the man in possession and dribbling skills.
It was the same stage of the tournament last season where Nasri shone also, playing a support role to Robin van Persie and much like this 3-1 win at Burnley, profligacy was the main scourge of a decent performance. Nicklas Bendtner was the chief culprit but as Ian Rush used to always say, it is about getting into the position that counts the most and the rest should follow suit. At times the Dane’s movement allowed him to get into such positions and indeed him dropping deep allowed space for Theo Walcott to score the second goal.
Even with the glut of missed chances the result never seemed in doubt with Arsenal’s new found invincibility against teams which they may have got unstuck against in the past ensuring they have remained in the title hunt. Arsene Wenger stated the performance early on as “a bit minimalist” as Burnley troubled to cope any slight sort of movement. The Gunners were able to play the ball from back to front very quickly, made even easier as Burnley’s 4-1-4-1 ensured gaps in front of the back four as their high pressuring tactic failed to pay off. But in missing chances, it meant Arsenal were not always comfortable nor did they hit top gear and David Nugent capitalised on a watching Arsenal defence to equalise. The day, however, was to belong to Theo Walcott as his buzzing performance was capped off with a well taken goal before Andrey Arshavin made safe with a left-footed finish into the bottom corner.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|10||Shots on Target||6|
|10||Shots off Target||3|