Burnley 1-1 Arsenal: 3 things learned as VAR causes outrage at Turf Moor

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

It was a very frustrating afternoon for both teams this afternoon at Turf Moor as Sean Dyche and Mikel Arteta’s sides were only able to score one apiece.

Arsenal took control of the first half, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang giving the Gunners the early lead five minutes in.

The move started at the back with Thomas Partey who passed the ball to Willian. Willian’s pass then found Aubameyang who found his way into the box and snuck the ball past Burnley’s  Nick Pope to put the Gunners 1-0 up.

The first half as a whole was fairly even possession-wise, with Arsenal comfortably letting Burnley have the ball for long periods of time. Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka came close to capitalising on chances, but the game changed just five minutes from half time.

Arsenal shot-stopper Bernd Leno made a short pass to Granit Xhaka in the box, only for the midfielder to kick the ball to Burnley striker Chris Wood and the ball found the back of the net in what seemed like a Blurr of a moment for several players in the box.

The second half was scrappy to say the least from both sides, but what happened next is what caused outrage from both sides.

VAR was called into action twice in this Premier League chance, with the first being a penalty appeal from Arsenal. Arsenal substitute Nicolas Pepe was controlling the ball from a difficult angle in the box, only for Eric Pieters to hit the ball with his hand and Arsenal to appeal for a penalty.

After Andre Mariner not awarding anything, VAR looked at it and deemed it not a penalty.

Ten minutes later, Arsenal were in the box again and Pepe’s shot was blocked onto the bar by what Andre Mariner was certain was Pieters’s arm. Mariner did not waste time in pointing to the penalty spot and showing a red card to the defender.

VAR was quick to correct the referee and the card was overturned and no penalty was given.

Both sides came inches away from securing the three points in the last ten minutes, with Leno making a spectacular save to deny Pieters and Dani Ceballos hitting the bar.

The game was full of action and controversy and one that will certainly be a topic of conversation this week. Here are my chosen talking points…

1. Aubameyang scores again for Arsenal

Despite only managing a draw, Aubameyang was able to get his name on the scoresheet again, something which as of recent is becoming more frequent. Scoring early on is something that Arsenal have noticeably struggled with this season, but Aubameyang proved that Arsenal can capitalise on chances early on when you focus.

The Ghanian International had a total of four shots on goal, with one of them coming from a beautiful ball from Partey who dinked the ball over Burnley’s defence, only for Aubameyang to get the wrong connection on the end of the ball and Ben Mee was able to cause him to struggle to put the chance away.

Another chance came in added time when the box was crowded by all players and all Arsenal looked like they could do was hit the ball towards the goal and hope that something happened. Aubameyang’s shot almost found the back of the net seconds from time, but Mee flung himself in front of goal to make the block.

Aubameyang has been much more prolific in front of goal recently and now has 13 in all competitions this season, with eight of those goals coming since the start of the new year.

If he can keep up the goal-scoring until the end of the season it will be a massive boost for a player who struggled a lot in the first half of the season and couldn’t put many chances away.