TALKING POINTS: Arsenal 0, Burnley 1

Burnley collected a first win at Arsenal since September 1974 on Sunday night.

Ben Mee
Ben Mee

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - with seven goals in five games against the Clarets - headed into his own net to settle the issue, after Granit Xhaka was sent off for violent conduct, and an ill-disciplined Gunners should have finished the game with nine men after Mohamed Elneny shoved James Tarkowski in the throat, but was only booked.

It is the first time Arsenal have lost four successive top-flight home games since 1959 - when Burnley were also one of the sides to beat the Gunners, winning 4-2 at Highbury (61 years ago almost to the day!

Here are the talking points:


In Burnley's seven Premier League seasons, they have now beaten all of the established Big Six clubs, with Arsenal completing the set at long last.

Burnley famously beat defending champions Manchester United in their first home game after promotion in 2009, and Sean Dyche celebrated victory at Old Trafford in January.

Manchester City, also reigning champions, were sent packing at Turf Moor in 2015, and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool followed suit in 2016.

Spurs have lost twice at the Turf, in the final game of the 2009/10 season, having led 2-0, and in 2019, and, famously, the Clarets won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge against champions Chelsea in August 2017, having led 3-0 at half-time.

The Gunners were the elusive scalp, having won 10-successive games against Burnley, before the goal-less draw at Turf Moor on February.

But Aubameyang's glancing header ended that sequence, giving the Clarets a first win over Arsenal since 2008 and the famous Capital Punishment run to the League Cup semi-finals.

For Dyche, it now means the only team he has faced and is yet to beat in the Premier League is Sheffield United, having lost and drawn against the Blades last season, while the festive fixture at Elland Road will be a first Premier League meeting with Leeds.


It often reminds me of the Rudyard Kipling poem 'If' - "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs"...

People have accused Burnley of being 'anti-football', or being physical and aggressive, but they very rarely overstep the mark.

They play hard, but fair, and within the boundaries.

You don't see Burnley players squealing, screaming, diving, rolling about or gesturing to referees.

Their discipline is first class.

They can't afford to play teams at this level with any sot of handicap, and it is a huge credit to them that they have not received a red card since Robbie Brady was dismissed in the win at Huddersfield in January 2019 - a run of 74 games.

Before that, Jeff Hendrick was the last player dismissed in February 2017.

Contrast that with Arsenal - Xhaka was the SEVENTH player Arsenal have had sent off in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta was appointed almost a year ago.

And Elneny should have made it eight.

Burnley had been penned in their own half at the start of the second period, but, while Arsenal initially responded well to Xhaka's dismissal, it gave Burnley a real opportunity, and they took it, scoring the first goal the Gunners have conceded from a set piece so far this season.

Dyche said: "I am not going to question other players, we made it clear to the players how we wanted to perform.

"There are certain elements of the game that I am not overly happy with. I don't want our players to get involved in that, we don't get a lot and I didn't think we got a lot tonight in those instances when if you go roll around and yelp then you get them.

"But I don't overly want that from the players either.

"I ask them not to respond to referees and I ask them not to get involved with that.

"I do my fair share when I think it is appropriate and right, and I certainly say to players to play hard and fair and get on with the task in front of you and stay focused on the game."


It is no coincidence that Burnley have kept three clean sheets in five outings since skipper Ben Mee was reunited with James Tarkowski at centre back for the goal-less draw at Brighton.

And it is no coincidence that both the Clarets' Premier League wins to date have come with those two at the heart of the defence.

Take the Manchester City defeat out of the equation - and despite their current struggles in front of goal, they can put five past anyone - the Burnley backline has proved harder to breach, with only the Premier League's top scorer, Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin, on target in the other four of Mee's appearances.

Yes, Burnley have given chances away in those games, and when they have, Nick Pope has been on hand to make saves.

But you always feel the Clarets can stay in games with Mee and Tarkowski in the side, whether they are playing well or not, and, invariably, if they can get their noses in front, you fancy them to see games out, with the pair a magnet to the ball, making block after block, getting their head on anything that comes into the box, or covering tackles.

Unfortunately, you sense that Mee, as Dyche was suggested, could finish his career like Steve Bruce, as one of the better centre backs not to be capped at senior level by England.

Tarkowski, however, is hitting the sort of levels that saw him called into the England squad in March 2018.

It looks like he is unlikely to break back into the group in time for the Euros, but on form, he should be knocking on a place in the starting line-up, never mind the squad.

Dyche said: "I spoke early season about the margins, and we weren't getting on the right side of them, but we are beginning to again.

"That's an important part of our past in the Premier League and will be again, we have to do that.

"The feel of the group has changed, not just Ben to be fair, Tarky missed a bit and those two have been in excellent form for a number of seasons.

"Increased fitness levels of players who've been out a while, getting sharper, not just defensively, so it's a coming together of many things.

"There are no guarantees, but you have a better chance with your players fit and sharp."


Burnley are one of the clubs without a suffix in English football, having dropped 'Rovers' after the club was founded in 1882 after a switch from rugby to association football.

Were they to take up a suffix currently, it would have to be United.

The Clarets, under Dyche, have long been more than the sum of their parts.

They may not have the individual flair that fans crave, but you have to marvel at their togetherness.

When asked whether the performances against Everton and Arsenal were more like his side, Dyche said: "The performance was built on what we've done many times, that kind of strength of unity, willingness to work for each other, and finding the right moments and margins.

"I think we did that well tonight.

"They're still a good outfit, there's a lot of noise around then but they still have quality players, and I think we used that well to almost put them out of the rhythm they are looking for, and make it awkward."

The ugly side of the game often receives few plaudits, but Burnley have to continue to try and find ways of winning football games at this level, and the spirit they possess is priceless.

Others get more praise for being better on the eye, but to continually survive at this level, without a budget, is something to marvel at.

Now with nine points from 11 games, they are getting back to more of an even keel - a point a game should ensure survival - and who would back against Dyche and his players kicking on.