Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner as Arsenal defeated Burnley to record successive victories at the start of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2009.
French striker Alexandre Lacazette marked his return from injury as he impressively held off Erik Pieters and shot between the legs of goalkeeper Nick Pope to put the Gunners ahead after 13 minutes.
Ashley Barnes levelled the match two minutes before half-time, converting at close range from Dwight McNeil’s deflected pass for his third goal in two matches.
The hosts, who handed full debuts to £8m defender David Luiz and Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, saw an immediate response ruled out for offside after Reiss Nelson appeared to have completed a slick passing move with a confident finish into the roof of the net.
But the impressive 23-year-old Ceballos recovered possession to set up Aubameyang for a powerful, low finish with 64 minutes played.
Burnley goalkeeper Pope made a series of fine saves to keep the Clarets alive, but he was unable to prevent his side losing a 10th straight league meeting with the Gunners.
Ceballos shines for Arsenal
Arsenal boss Unai Emery praises Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his winner against Burnley
Three points away to Newcastle – along with a valuable clean-sheet – marked a pleasing start for manager Unai Emery following some exciting summer transfer business.
Another victory in their first home match was made all the more enjoyable for the home support by the enthralling performance of midfielder Ceballos, on loan from the Bernabeu for the 2019-20 campaign.
The Spaniard, unable to impress in his substitute appearance at Newcastle, oozed class in the centre of the pitch and delivered dancing runs through the Burnley midfield with sharp feet and twisting dribbles.
His whipped corner paved the way for Lacazette’s opener, the Frenchman did well to turn and shoot under pressure, while the 23-year-old celebrated passionately as Aubameyang converted from his tireless recovery work.
Likewise, youngsters Nelson, Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi impressed in successive starts, while £72m summer signing Nicolas Pepe emerged from the bench after the interval to add further promise for the season ahead.
However, with Luiz yet to settle into the back-line, Arsenal’s defensive frailties were apparent as Barnes and Chris Wood caused awkward moments from set-pieces.
An almighty scrap in the Arsenal penalty area following a first-half Burnley corner offered a timely reminder of the questions that remain – though Luiz appeared, for the most part, calm and composed when in possession.
Arsenal is showing promise as the season warms up and, though old worries remain, back-to-back opening wins and a dazzling Ceballos display will keep Emery smiling.
“We didn’t control the game as much as we wanted. We need to improve. Each match is giving us a lot of information. I think we can do better. We lost some easy balls at times, but in general we can be proud of our first match here,” Emery said.
On Arsenal’s new signings, he added: “I want to speak about the team, but for the first match [at home] it was good. It’s good for David [Luiz], for Pepe, for Dani [Ceballos], who is another step ahead.”
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley: Sean Dyche impressed by Burnley’s ‘mentality’
Burnley manager Sean Dyche arrived in north London with a miserable managerial record against Arsenal – one which continued with a ninth straight Premier League defeat by the Gunners on Saturday.
The Clarets made a perfect start to the season with a 3-0 win against Southampton on home soil courtesy of clinical finishing from striker Barnes who again proved crucial to the Clarets’ cause.
Barnes, who shot narrowly wide earlier in the half, remained composed to level deservedly for the visitors after 43 minutes – but was unable to convert from a tight angle in the closing stages.
With Arsenal’s Luiz making his debut alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos in defence, Dyche’s side targeted set-pieces and called Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno into action through James Tarkowski and Barnes’ close-range attempts.
Though they left with defeat, Burnley delivered a convincing showing, remaining unfazed and organised as Arsenal dominated possession. Indeed, they attempted more shots (18) than the hosts (16) though their accuracy – just five were on target – let them down.
They had Pope to thank on several occasions at the other end, stretching to block from Guendouzi’s close-range attempt and diving to deny Ceballos moments before Aubameyang left the goalkeeper with little hope of preventing the eventual winner.
With Jay Rodriguez again emerging from the bench and fellow summer addition Danny Drinkwater yet to return to fitness, Burnley – free from the additional demands of Europa League qualifying that burdened them 12 months ago – have established a strong base from which to build their season.
On the performance, manager Dyche said: “I don’t feel hard done by. I think it was a very good performance. We used the ball wisely when we could. They had a few chances, Pope made a superb save. Overall I am happy with the performance – we really brought the game to them and made a number of chances.”
On striker Barnes, he added: “I am enjoying his performance. He deals with knocks really well. I have been pleased with the group – if we keep playing like that and we keep competing then we will get some rewards on the way.”
In other news:
Moonchild Sanelly & Zulu Mkhathini to drop new hot tune
Musician and TV personality Zulu Mkhathini, better known as Dash has been working on new music and is getting ready to release a single with fellow musician, Moonchild Sanelly.
The star shared a raunchy picture of the two of them on his Instagram account with the date for the release of their upcoming single.
The song titled Shikisha is scheduled for release tomorrow. read more…
Source – BBC