Arsenal’s Xhaka, Leno combine to gift-wrap Burnley a draw at Turf Moor

Date published: Saturday 6th March 2021 2:22 - Matthew Briggs

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Arsenal gift-wrapped Burnley a point at Turf Moor on Saturday as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike was cancelled out by a bizarre Chris Wood goal in a 1-1 draw.

Granit Xhaka’s attempted pass rebounded into the net off Chris Wood just before the break as the Clarets dug in for a point.

Aubameyang’s classy early opener, after a double step-over, had fired the Gunners ahead, but Xhaka’s mistake let Burnley in for a share of the spoils.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson returned to the Burnley side to face Arsenal at Turf Moor.

The Iceland international came in for Jack Cork, who sustained a hamstring injury in the midweek draw with Leicester, to make his first appearance since February 17.

Calum Chambers was a surprise inclusion in the Arsenal line-up as the defender made his first league appearance since December 2019.

He was one of five changes to the side that won 3-1 at Leicester, with Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Thomas Partey also coming into the side.

Aubameyang needed only six minutes to find the net on his return to the side, cutting in from the left after being played in by Willian and hitting a low shot which Nick Pope could not keep out at his near post.

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It had seemed a question of when Arsenal would add to their lead as they created chances at will, but instead they gifted Burnley an equaliser seven minutes before half-time.
Granit Xhaka took a short pass from goalkeeper Bernd Leno, looked up, and inexplicably struck the ball against Chris Wood who happily watched it deflect into the unguarded net.

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It has to be noted that Leno was not totally blameless in the incident. After seeing Xhaka under pressure he could have played the ball forward or wide himself.

Arsenal looked lively at the start of the second half and Bukayo Saka had a shot charged down.

Odegaard then dug out a shot which Nick Pope had to get down and stop.

The zip from Arsenal though soon disappeared as Odegaard made way for Alexandre Lacazette 

Mikel Arteta needs then sent Nicolas Pepe on for Willian as Arsenal tried to get back on track.

Burnley’s Matej Vydra wanted a penalty after going down close to Saka, but referee Andre Marriner was not interested.

Pepe is then sure the ball has struck Erik Pieters and wants a penalty. Again though Marriner waved play on and Pieters then shot from distance, which forced Bern Leno to tip the ball over the bar.

 A lovely one-two between Wood and Vydra then opened up the Arsenal defence and Leno was forced to save from Wood.

And then Pepe had a chance to win it but missed his kick just eight yards out.

Pieters then deflected Pepe’s goal-bound shot onto the bar. Marriner thought Pieters used his arm and showed a straight red card and gave a penalty.

VAR then looked at it deemed the ball had hit the player’s shoulder on the line and so the penalty decision and Pieters’ red card was overturned.

Arsenal pushed for a winner late on and Ben Mee made a crucial block on Aubameyang before Dani Ceballos hit the post.

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