1) A hard fought 1-0 win at Turf Moor this afternoon. In your opinion, did we deserve all three points?
@GarrulousGooner - Yes, 100%. Burnley offered very little - a few half-chances, but Ospina made no saves of note, and we controlled the game for large parts. A bit scrappy and nervy, but got the job done.
@hahostolze - Well, we did, but not by much. We largely controlled it without threatening, they largely looked to strike back without ever really getting close. It was a safe victory in that sense but I don't think the margin flattered either side.
@TheTXI - Absolutely. We may not have been able to engineer many chances for ourselves but we also did not give Burnley many clear cut opportunities themselves. Off the top of my head I can only recall one or two open play opportunities and one free kick that Ospina took care of superbly. The rest of the match displayed more of Arsenal's new-found ability to manage and close out games without it resorting to thirty minutes of squeaky bum time.
So yes, in this case a 1-0 victory to the Arsenal was much deserved and well fought.
2) Who was your Arsenal man of the match and why?
@GarrulousGooner - I'd imagine a fairly popular choice would be Coquelin. Won the ball back for us numerous times, kept it simple when he got it, and really is proving to be exactly what we need in his role - good anticipation, tenacity, quick across the ground. Has been excellent. I really doubted him earlier, but am so happy to be eating humble pie.
@hahostolze - has to be Nacho Monreal, for being so incredibly solid and consistent, all the forward players had too much sloppiness, Coquelin did well but was given a relatively easy task today. Monreal was attacked on the overlap by Trippier a lot and he handled it superbly.
@TheTXI - I think it's really hard not to give it to Coquelin. Even on a day when some could hit out at his passing at times, this kid still came through and had an utterly mind-boggling 11 interceptions (the rest of the team had a total of 16 comparatively). Interceptions also serving as an indicator that he was cutting out attacks before they could even develop instead of relying on a slew of highlight-reel tackles which we have come to expect from the young Frenchman.
Along with Coquelin I'd also highlight the efforts of Aaron Ramsey for his goal and another good shift playing primarily on the right. He knows it's a job he's been asked to do and is performing admirably knowing it is not his most comfortable or most desired place on the pitch.
Also, special consideration for Nacho Monreal who in my opinion was the most sturdy of our back four today.
3) We did not sparkle offensively, well perhaps not as we are used to. Why was that? Or do you disagree?
@GarrulousGooner - Not sure the pitch helped. But there was a sense we were in control and controlling the game in 2nd gear. We stepped up after about 70mins and started putting more pressure on them, could have got a second - but were happy just to control the game.
@hahostolze - Burnley away is a difficult game in that respect. They are well set up, physical, hard workers and have a vociferous home crowd. Not exactly a place for pretty passing patterns. We had some decent moves but that was about it. Besides the aforementioned factors, I also think we were a bit sloppy and tired today. Alexis especially ran into many a cul de sac and misplaced a lot of passes.
@TheTXI - It shouldn't come as a surprise. Burnley's entire existence in the Premier League right now depends on them grinding out as many points as possible and to do that they need to be solid defensively. This was one of the first matches in a good while where we have had to contend with a side throwing 10 men in the box and preventing us from playing the fancy passing and hard hitting counterattacking that we've started to grow accustomed to. Add in their Stoke-Lite fouling tendency which prevented many of our possessions from gaining steam and it's really not much of a shock.
With that said, credit for the team for taking advantage of the few opportunities that were presented to them. That attack could have fizzled out but thanks to Alexis, Ozil, and Ramsey all sticking with the play we finally got the ball in the back of the net and that was all we needed for the three points on this day.
4) Is there anyone from the returning injured players who would get back into the starting 11 if the decision was yours?
@GarrulousGooner - Difficult to say without seeing them play. You kind of want to integrate players into a winning team, but also it is really hard to drop anyone. You also want players to get match fitness before they are actually NEEDED. Despite how brilliant Bellerin has been, I think Debuchy's experience could be vital in big games we have left. I'd also definitely want Diaby, Wilshere and Ox given game time somehow - from the bench, if games are won?
@hahostolze - No. Maybe at a stretch Debuchy but I love how well Bellerin is doing. No need to cut away his momentum unless he truly needs a rest, which is very possible.
@TheTXI - I don't think anyone really deserves to slot back into the starting XI, not with the way the club has been playing. The only one I think who could be even close to walking into our starting lineup upon a healthy return is Ox on the right, but I wouldn't bother risking his health as long as we've got guys like Welbeck, Ramsey, Walcott, and Rosicky all capable of doing the job necessary.
5) If you had to put a lot of cash on it, what position in the table do you predict us finishing in?
@GarrulousGooner - Goodness. What is a lot of cash?! I'd probably go for second. Begrudgingly, as I tend to be a bit cautious in case over-confidence comes back to bite me on the ass!
@hahostolze - 2nd. Riding the wave right now and it doesn't feel like stopping. Players coming back, players in great form, synergy and cohesion. The run in is our speciality in recent years and we have a decent one at that. ManU are awful but papering over the cracks with undeserved wins, City are done for the year. 2nd is ours.
@TheTXI - If I am putting money on a single spot that we will finish dead on I think it would have to be second. With United and City locking horns Sunday it may just give us all the wiggle room we need to hold our current spot even if we were to drop points against Chelsea and United in our two remaining big fixtures in the Premier League Season. And I think our likelihood of holding that spot is greater than the likelihood of United going on a complete tear at the end and nicking it from us.
6) What do you think of Tottenham losing at home to Sherwood's Aston Villa?
@GarrulousGooner - It kind of didn't feel like a shock. An odd thing to say, but I think Spurs have now given up on 4th, with Villa battling for points. Sherwood was always going to have them up for it. I think he gets a lot of unnecessary stick - sure, he goes too far sometimes, but is great for entertainment. He did nothing wrong at Spurs, and was treated poorly in my view - so I am happy for him.
@hahostolze - very funny but indicative of nothing. Sherwood is a terrible manager, a relic from the good old days of 'Arry. Pochettino is the flavour of the moment, but is a far more accomplished manager. Christian Eriksen, incidentally, is already looking like the disaffected Eriksen of the final year or so at Ajax. He looks lazier and less interested than Özil has ever looked for us. A move seems on the cards.
@TheTXI - One of those classic banter results that you know Tottenham are good for at least once or twice in a season. Sherwood doing one over on his former employer is just another notch on his belt as being a not-so-undercover Gooner.
I hope that the Aston Villa Fighting Gilets can carry this confidence into Wembley and also do a job on Liverpool.
I also love the fact that there is a real possibility that Southampton could finish above the two teams (Spurs and Liverpool) who tried to pillage their club for players and manager.
7) What do you see happening in the Arsenal vs Chelsea game?
@GarrulousGooner - We haven't seen Chelsea play under pressure all year. Delighted we won today, just to put a bit of pressure on tomorrow. Difficult to predict, as a lot depends on their 2 games before it. We definitely CAN beat them. Chelsea would snap your hand off for a point.... I think they might just get it. But will be confident if they can drop 4 points in their next 2.
@hahostolze - I see the Metropolitan police invading the Emirates and arresting Mourinho on Yewtree charges. Then Arsenal win the game whilst Arsene gets named key witness for the prosecution.
@TheTXI - Really anything could happen, but what I want to definitely see is one more demon exorcised in this season. We've taken out City at Etihad. We've taken out United at Old Trafford. We've demolished Liverpool. The only club left on the 2015 13/14 Revenge Tour is for Wenger to get his first victory against Jose Mourinho.
I hope that QPR can secure some points against Chelsea which will only add on the pressure for the rivals from West London. A historic victory for Arsenal could lead to Chelsea's wheels falling off the bus during the run in.
8) Any other thoughts?
@GarrulousGooner - Delight, mixed with frustration for me at present. For 2/3 years we have had tremendous form for half a season, but cannot match it for a whole one. Why is that? Injuries certainly played a part in the last 2 campaigns. Things look steadier under Shad's influence though, and we certainly have plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into the end of this season, and beyond. Question marks will remain until we can win the big matches when they really matter. Beating Chelsea, even if the title is beyond us, would be another monkey off our back, as would beating Liverpool in the final. COYG!
@hahostolze - it's not gay if it's with Aaron Ramsey.
@TheTXI - This is usually the part where I start castigating fickle fans who always have to find something to bitch about regardless of the scoreline. I'd just like to suggest that for once people act less like armchair managers and pundits searching for something to criticize and more like actual fans who can enjoy yet another three points on what has turned into the best run of form of any team in the Premier League this season. Here's to hoping that run of form continues to the very end. And who knows, if the Gunners do their job through the run in we may not need to look back and rue those dropped points.
Thanks to the guys above for the great responses. Click on the following names to find their Twitter profiles. @GarrulousGooner, @hahostolze (Who has written some wonderful articles in the past on AV) & @TheTXI
Don't forget to download the Post Burnley vs Arsenal Podcast