Alexis Sanchez continued his hot streak in front of goal as his double-strike inspired Arsenal to a 3-0 victory over winless Burnley.
Arsene Wenger's team had failed to collect a Barclays Premier League win on their own turf since the opening day against Crystal Palace and they appeared set for another afternoon of frustration against the bottom side in the division as Sanchez, who scored both goals in the 2-0 triumph at Sunderland, drew two fine saves from Tom Heaton. But it was the former Barcelona man who sparked relief around Emirates Stadium in the 70th minute. Calum Chambers crossed for Sanchez to score with a header, and the right-back added a second himself two minutes later with his first goal in senior football. Sanchez fashioned space from Kieran Gibbs' low centre to net a 10th goal in 12 appearances in the final minute and add gloss to the scoreline, as Arsenal moved above West Ham United into fourth place, while Burnley are three points adrift at the bottom and five from safety.
Arsenal were unchanged from the team that beat Sunderland last weekend, while Burnley recalled midfielder Dean Marney following a hamstring injury and striker Marvin Sordell. The hosts dominated possession but made little impression on Burnley until Kieran Tripper produced a vital clearing header to deny Danny Welbeck in the 21st minute after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had raced away down the Burnley left. Arsenal found a way through down the right again in the 26th minute, but Cazorla smashed a shot wide from Oxlade-Chamberlain's pullback after good work from Sanchez.
The visitors enjoyed a rare foray into the opposition penalty area five minutes later, only for Mathieu Flamini to make an important interception by prodding Scott Arfield's pass away from Danny Ings. Sanchez then twice went close, first cutting in from the left and forcing Heaton to push away his rasping drive before arcing another 25-yard effort narrowly past the right post. Heaton proved Sanchez's equal once more when the livewire forward raced into the penalty area five minutes before the interval, as Burnley managed to reach the break unscathed.
Ings was unable to capitalise on a moment of confusion between Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker in the 50th minute as Sean Dyche's men made a more assertive start to the second period. The right flank remained fruitful for Arsenal but Sanchez and Gibbs were unable to scramble the ball home from Oxlade-Chamberlain's latest cross. Michael Duff produced some remarkable defensive heroics for the visitors as he flung himself to ground to deny Cazorla with the goal gaping after Chambers' cutback.
The pressure eventually told, though, almost inevitably from the Burnley left, as Sanchez got ahead of Trippier to net a fine header from Chambers' cross. The creator then became the goalscorer two minutes later, with Chambers on hand to steer home after a combination of Heaton and David Jones had denied Welbeck at a corner.
The Arsenal faithful warmly welcomed back Theo Walcott from his lengthy injury absence soon afterwards and the England man and fellow substitute Lukas Podolski drew magnificent saves from Heaton in the closing minutes as Burnley's resistance faded, allowing Sanchez to have the final word with a third goal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It was a question of patience and quality and we did all of that. It was important not to concede a goal and in the end it was a comfortable win but everyone works hard in the Premier League. It was a top performance from Alexis Sanchez. His quality is exceptional, he takes responsibility and goes at people. He fights, he can score, that is what you want from great players.
"That appearance form Theo Walcott gives him the confidence to play again. He will soon be back to his best level."
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "There is a reality to our challenge and that is not the reality, that is the top end of the market. They are a high-quality side. They create chances and it could have been more but that is just by the nature of the quality of their players. We had been solid before Tom Heaton had to make great saves but after they scored they opened the game up. They get in great passing lanes, they have a great shape, they have pace, power and energy but they also have tactical awareness.
"It not just about one win. We need more than one win, make no mistake. It has to be. That is the challenge. The improvements are marginal it is the learning curve, it is a high state of learning in the Premier League."
|22 Nov 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|09 Nov 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|29 Nov 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|13 Dec 2014||v Newcastle (H)|