Arsenal’s talismanic winger Alexis Sanchez struck a 92nd-minute penalty against Burnley to ensure the Gunners beat the in-form Clarets 1-0 in a hard-fought Premier League tie at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche’s side, level on points with their illustrious opponents going into Sunday’s clash, gave as good as they got and went close to opening the scoring via Johan Gudmundsson.
The Icelandic winger tuned Nacho Monreal inside the box and unleashed a fierce shot which crashed off the post, much to the relief of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Wenger had gone with a 3-4-3 formation, but star playmaker Mesut Ozil missed out due to illness and in his place, Alex Iwobi got the nod.
Ozil’s absence was evident as club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette was starved off quality service up top. The Frenchman would, however, create a clear goalscoring opportunity in the first-half when he sprinted down the left flank and set up Aaron Ramsey with a simple tap-in with an excellent cross, but the Welshman could not direct his effort on target.
Burnley kept probing and Arsenal keeper Petr Cech was definitely the busier of the two custodians in the first 45 minutes. The veteran shot-stopper made a smart stop to deny Robbie Brady from scoring a direct free-kick.
Arsenal started the second-half in dominant fashion as they pressed for an opener, with Burnley struggling to see the ball for the first 15-odd minutes.
Wenger introduced Jack Wilshere in a bid to up the tempo and the midfielder had a lively cameo with the Gunners looking the more likelier of the sides to break the deadlock.
As the full-time whistle neared, the away side were camped in Burnley’s half and eventually found the goal they were seeking, albeit via controversial circumstances. Wing-back Sead Kolasinac headed Granit Xhaka’s cross back across goal and referee Stephen Mason decided Burnley centre-half Jeff Tarkowski had pushed Aaron Ramsey as the Welshman attempted to finish off the move.
Sanchez stepped up and despite Burnley keeper Nick Pope going the right way, scored his third Premier League goal of the season to send Arsenal into fourth place, one point above North London derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Burnley remain in seventh place after their third loss of the Premier League season but will take solace from the fact that they are just a point behind Liverpool (6th), two behind Tottenham (5th) and three behind the fourth-placed Arsenal.