What did we learn from battering Burnley?


Look, I know that “it’s just Burnley,” a side inked in as relegation fodder after just 12 matches in, but we still came away with an important result. Despite their dire form of late, they’ve been a bit of a bogey side of late. We’ve only won twice from the last six outings, and this was by far the most emphatic. Taking the longer view, it wasn’t so long ago that we’d struggle to see off smaller sides, hamstringing our aspirations in all sorts of ways. While this result is hardly the sort that champions are made of, there are still some insights to be gleaned. Let’s get to it, then…

Please play Trossard through the “middle”…
I’ve made this case before, even as recently as a few days ago, and I will submit my request informally now and by affidavit later. Trossard, aside from being one of the most valuable signings ever (no hyperbole whatsoever), is probably the best deputy for Jesus that we have. Like Jesus, he finds the seams. He’s deft with the ball at his feet. He likes to drift wide to the left, creating space for Martinelli to sluice in and under. For as much as we’d like to see a more-traditional striker such as Nketiah succeed, playing Trossard through the middle makes more and more sense by the matchday.

Saliba ain’t the perfect CB…or is he?
Saliba is quickly emerging as one of the best CBs in the Prem if not further abroad, but there was a moment…just a shadow of a glimpse of weakness when Saliba hesitated, allowing Gudmundsson a glimmer of a chance. Raya was up to the challenge, but it was perhaps the first time that we’ve seen Saliba indecisive, even exposed. Here’s my theory: Saliba, sensing that he’s built a reputation as a Rolls-Royce of a defender, wanted to invite a degree of doubt so as to set a trap for attackers. He wants to lure them in before springing the trap. Oh—he’ll also pop up here or there with a goal.

Havertz continues to underwhelm
…at least if you focus on goals and assists. He continues to make himself useful even if his critics will focus rightly or wrongly on the headed chance he fluffed in the 30th minute. He continues to do the donkey-work that others would eschew; he’s like Giroud without the end-product…but he’s knocking on if not kicking down that door. Keep in mind that he spent three very formative years in the maelstrom that is Chelsea. For as fashionable as it might be to bash our signings of Chelsea players, Kai is cut from a different cloth. It’s only a matter of time before he convinces. Get behind him.

VAR is correct as often as a broken clock
Fabio Vieira was guilty. He went into a challenge studs up and was fortunate to escape a Shawcrossian legacy. Even if Brownhill did his best Neymar-esque performance, few could argue against Oliver showing Vieira a straight red. In his post-match presser, Arteat insisted the he be asked “about VAR because today it was good. I hope that i’m on TV saying the referees are so good and I’m completely with them and being very constructive.”

That’s it for now. We go into the international break on a bit of a high, but we have to know that we’ll have to hit the ground running when we return to our commitments. For now, rest easy in the knowledge that we’re atop the Prem (pending the result of Man City’s trip to Stamford Bridge). All in all, as ever, it feels good to be a Gooner.

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3 thoughts on “What did we learn from battering Burnley?

  1. K

    As much as we dislike criticism of our players surely the criticism should when valid, be made. Havertz really should not be anywhere near this team. He lets it down in every way by his lack of contributions but let’s not criticise Havertz alone. The almost flawless Mr. Arteta also deserves some recognition for picking him time after time and it is this arrogance (that he can improve a player who is so obviously as good as he’s going to be) that will eventually cost his team. Mr. Arteta needs to accept perhaps, at least privately, that he can make mistakes (if he is indeed to blame for buying Havertz) and that it’s ok to admit and rectify them.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Hey, K – I’d have to disagree. I think there’s been a lot of focus on Havertz’s inability to score, but that focus overlooks the other contributions he makes. He’s among our best for aerial duels and pressing stats, and his link-up play is strong. Keep in mind that he spent three years (aged 20-23) at the chaotic mess that is Chelsea. He needs time to rediscover his form. It’s not as if playing him has cost us anything as far as points. We are level on points with Citeh (it’s level at Stamford Bridge as I write this). Once he does find his form, I think we’ll look back on this poor patch with a bemused smile.

      1. A Simple Truth

        aerial duels??? his header form has been absolutely abysmal since arriving here and as for his link-up play you simply must be jesting, unless 2 foot backwards passes are your particular cup of tea…simply put Havertz has been an absolute tire fire thus far, even more so if you consider the monies involved from both a transfer and wage bill perspective…give your head a shake


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