Arsenal claimed their second win of the season - a 1-0 success at Turf Morr against Burnley - courtesy of wonderful a Martin Odeegard freekick that belied an Arsenal performance ran hard but failed to click.
There was half an hour gone when Ashley Westwood toppled over a galloping Bukayo Saka on the edge of the box. Odegaard stepped up, and whisked a shot – all spin and swirl – into the top left-hand corner.
It was the first moment of quality in a game that hustled and bustled but quickly fell into a pattern of placid Arsenal possession and a well-shaped Burnley defence that was happy for Thomas Partey and co to pass in front of them.
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Moments after the goal, Burnley striker Ashley Barnes passed up the chance to level when the ball fell to him in the Arsenal box but it was swept off his toe when he was shaping to shoot.
But it was only with the introduction of new signing Maxwel Cornet that Burnley posed a real threat, and it was the 24-year-old's running that opened up the space for Matej Vydra to break clear and force referee Anthony Taylor and his VAR staff into a decision.
Vydra looked to have been clipped by the onrushing Aaron Ramsdale but contact was minimal, and VAR reversed the on-pitch decision. Although reinvigorated by the furore surrounding the non-penalty, the Clarets struggled to create any meaningful chances and Arsenal looked comfortable in the closing stages.
The Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has doubled his points tally for the season - moving up from 17th to 12th - but his side will need better performances against better opposition. Meanwhile, the result means Dyche and Burnley still await their first Premier League win of 2020-21 and remain second from bottom on one point.
TALKING POINT - A significant improvement but sterner tests to come for Arsenal
This was far from Arsenal’s best performance under Arteta but it marks a significant improvement from the start of the season. The 22-year-old Odegaard was helped in shoring up the midfield by the return of Thomas Partey and Arsenal will hope they have again found some balance in that area of the pitch.
But despite improvements, Arteta’s men looked short of ideas and confidence going forward. The passing was ponderous, and they never looked like breaking down Burnley consistently. Arteta and Arsenal fans will only be interested in the results at this point, but sterner tests will come.
MAN OF THE MATCH – MARTIN ODEGAARD
On top of becoming Arsenal’s second goal scorer with an accomplished free kick, the summer signing from Real Madrid ran the show in Midfield. While balls bounced off his team-mates, he calmly kept possession and stole a few yards from a feisty Burnley midfield.
BURNLEY: Pope 5, Lowton 5, Tarkowski 6, Mee 6, Taylor 6, Gudmundsson 5, Brownhill 6, Westwood 7, Mcneil 6, Wood 5, Barnes 5. Subs: Vydra 6, Cornet 7, Rodriguez 5.
ARSENAL: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu 7, White 5, Gabriel 7, Tierney 7, Partey 6, Odegaard 8, Pepe 6, Saka, Smith Rowe 6, Aubameyang 5. Subs: Tavares 5, Sambi 6, Maitland-Niles 6.
29’ GOAL! Martin Odegaard stands over the ball and then whisks it - all swirl and placement - into the goal to Pope's right. The keeper was nowhere near. That was a beautiful freekick.
59’ Maxwel Cornet almost makes an immediate impact with a first time shot towards the top corner of Arsenal's goal. The crowd go up, but Ramsdale was probably comfortable.
69’ NO PENALTY! VAR decides that there was no contact between Ramsdale and Vydra. Burnley fans will disagree. Vydra will say he was avoiding injury, otherwise he risks looking a little silly.
- Arsenal extend their unbeaten run at Turf Moor to 10, having drawn five and won five. Their last loss away at Burnley was 1973.
- Ben Mee made his 350 career league appearance, including 15 for Leicester City.
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