Arteta happy with Arsenal win against spirited Burnley ahead of international break
Arsenal 3 Burnley 1
Julian Taylor at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal are entering the international break in a good place.
Mikel Arteta was "happy" after watching the Gunners take care of the kind of fixture they are obliged to negotiate if a genuine Premier League title challenge is to emerge this season.
Impressive Leandro Trossard helped Arsenal overcome Burnley with a goal at the end of the first half. And despite the Clarets stunning the Emirates crowd after the break when Josh Brownhill drilled home a leveller, the hosts stayed calm and responded with further efforts from William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
In the end, the only significant blight of the day for the Gunners was a red card for a moment of inexplicable madness by substitute Fabio Vieira towards the end of an encounter which leaves the Gunners in second place. Only goal difference separates them from leaders Manchester City, who travel to face Chelsea tomorrow.
"I'm really happy with the performance and the way we have played," said Arsenal manager Arteta, who had to do without the services of key absentees, including Martin Odegaard and Ben White.
"We do absolutely everything to win games and we are now in a strong position going into the international break and it is good for us to win when we have eight players out."
Arteta - who, incidentally, had no complaints for Vieira's ordering off - went on to single out the contributions of Trossard and Saliba. Attacker Trossard netted his seventh goal of the campaign.
"He (Trossard) connects everybody and is so intelligent in his play and brings options for other players. He gives us a lot of threat and possibilities," added Arteta.
"William is a real presence and we are really working with him to be more dominant. His goal is real credit for the work and effort he is putting in.
"I prefer to be at the top but this is what we have to do. We show a lot of consistency. So let's carry on, get some consistency and some momentum."
Burnley, meanwhile, left north London empty handed on a day when they showed precisely the kind of spirit which may still carve out an escape route from the drop zone in a season so far which has proven especially taxing since their promotion from the Championship.
Arteta hoped to continue winning ways following the defeat of Sevilla in midweek Champions League action, as well as overcoming the elongated VAR furore which cost the Gunners away to Newcastle United last weekend.
The controversial loss at St James' Park bristled with everyone at Arsenal, but time moves on and a busy schedule demanded maximum commitment against Vincent Kompany's men.
Arsenal exercised patience, finding the Clarets extremely well organised and tigerish when necessary. In a first half where the hosts predictably had the lions' share of possession, Bukayo Saka and Trossard stung the hands of Burnley keeper James Trafford, who turned the ball over the bar on both occasions.
The visitors, though, could even have gone ahead when, on the half hour mark, Johann Gudmundsson broke clear, but the midfielder's left foot shot was well parried away from danger by David Raya.
Nevertheless, the Gunners got the breakthrough they wanted during stoppage time, thanks to a courageous intervention by Trossard. The ex-Brighton player managed to squeeze the ball in at the far post when Burnley, for once, could not dispense with an aerial ball. It represented certain frustration for the Clarets, who had until then a well executed game plan by boss Kompany.
Against the presumed script, though, when the home support were settling down to a period of anticipated comfort, Burnley stunned Arsenal in the 54th minute. Clarets' captain Brownhill fired home after good, darting work on the left hand side by Luca Koleosho.
Yet the Lancashire side's joy was short lived when the Gunners regained the lead a couple of minutes later. Saliba, a yard from the goal line, had the easiest task to nod home a cross by Trossard, via a corner by Saka. It was a sweet moment for the Gunners' stopper who enhanced his reputation once again here.
Declan Rice then went close in the 66th minute with a low shot from long range as Arsenal consolidated their advantage.
In the 73rd minute, the north Londoners made life more comfortable. Oleksandr Zinchenko - another stand out performer - further diminished Burnley's resistance, when he fired home a rebound from the crossbar following the visitors' failure to clear Trossard's cross.
With the game sealed beyond reasonable doubt, only Vieira, who had come on as a second half replacement for Kai Havertz, can explain why he went in far too high to clatter Brownhill on the knee with eight minutes remaining. The sending off for the Arsenal midfielder was the quick and correct option by referee Michael Oliver.
Newly-promoted Burnley have lost their last six league games - and realistic Kompany praised Arsenal while admitting the gap between the Championship and the Premier League is "huge".
"We knew we were going to face one of the best sides in England who always test you in every way", noted the Clarets chief. "We have to look and see if we have moments and it was a very disciplined and mature performance. But it is disappointing. It's always a threat at this level and against this team. I have to give credit to Arsenal. They are a team that keep testing you.
"You do need a little luck and we were perfect in most ways, but the set plays cost us. We have fight and we have resilience but it's going to be tough against a top team."
Gunners: Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Havertz (Vieira 58), Jorginho, Rice; Saka (Nelson 81), Trossard (Nketiah 81), Martinelli (Kiwior 88)