Burnley manager Sean Dyche criticised the officials after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double ensured Arsenal maintained pressure on the top four and left the Clarets in the Premier League bottom three at Christmas. Ashley Barnes responded for the visitors in a fiery contest that saw seven yellow cards, but Alex Iwobi’s late goal sealed victory for the Gunners. And after the game Dyche, whose side have now gone 61 Premier League games without a penalty, reeled off a list of decisions that he felt went against his side.
Mesut Ozil – making a first start in six league matches – produced a sublime defence-splitting pass to Sead Kolasinac for Arsenal’s opener, with the defender picking out Aubameyang for his 11th league goal of the season. Remarkably, after 18 top-flight games, Arsenal led at the interval for the first time this season and it took the Gunners fewer than three second-half minutes to double the advantage, Aubameyang’s powerful finish completing a quick counter-attack. Burnley kept to their task though and Ashley Barnes brought the Clarets back into the contest on 63 minutes with a low finish after the home side failed to clear.
The home fans grew increasingly nervous as Burnley pushed for an equaliser but Iwobi scored from close range in stoppage-time to ensure the Gunners moved level with fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost at home to Leicester. After their impressive 22-game unbeaten run was ended by a revitalised Southampton last weekend, Arsenal exited the Carabao Cup to north London rivals Tottenham in midweek and needed to produce a response at Emirates Stadium – if only to keep in touch with the top four.