Burnely 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal record their eighth straight Premier League win as Aaron Ramsey’s early goal, his 9th of the season, was enough for Arsenal to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points with a hard-earned victory at Turf Moor. The Gunners have played two games more than Jose Mourinho’s men, who play QPR on Sunday, so talk that they are now in a two-horse title race remains premature. That impressive form has also put them four points clear in second place and means they now look almost certain of securing Champions League football for an 18th consecutive season under Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal’s latest win was not down to the kind of incisive attacking and explosive finishing that demolished Liverpool last weekend. Instead it was earned by exactly the kind of considered and controlled defensive performance needed to keep an energetic Burnley side at arms length. Ramsey’s 12th-minute goal came after Jason Shackell gave the ball away to Francis Coquelin on the halfway line and, after Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both had shots saved, the Welshman blasted home. The Clarets’ immediate response was typically full-blooded as they forced David Ospina into two fine saves, the first when Ashley Barnes broke into the box and the second from Kieran Trippier’s free-kick.

But Arsenal kept their shape at the back and concentrated on defending their lead, although Santi Cazorla almost made it 2-0 with a free-kick that curled a whisker wide. The Clarets continued to press after the break but George Boyd missed their best chance when he fluffed his shot in space at the far post. Arsenal’s upward charge continues; they head for Wembley next weekend for their FA Cup semi-final against Reading on the back of 16 wins in their last 18 games in all competitions, and their status as the form team in the country is ominously intact.

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