Football is a funny old game they say. Sometimes you get nothing when you deserved something and sometimes you get everything when you deserve nothing. Sometime it’s obvious what went wrong or right and other times it’s just one of those games. For us yesterday it was most definitely the latter.
The game couldn’t have started any better for us, we dominated the opening exchanges and within 7 minutes we were ahead. Aubameyang’s shot had too much on it and squeezed under Pope at his near post. It was no more than we deserved and we continued to pressurise the hosts creating two more excellent chances that in hindsight we should’ve done better with.
Now everyone will have an opinion on their goal. The stats show it as Xhaka’s mistake and whilst directly that is correct, I don’t feel like Leno is blameless in it. Why did he pass it to Xhaka when he was obviously boxed in? Equally why did Xhaka slap the ball blindly across the goal line? Either way it was a mistake and mistakes happen, I still felt we had enough to get something out of the game.
If anyone ever wanted to see a prime example of typical match at Turf Moor, the first 30 minutes of the second half were exactly that. Nothing of note happened but then the introduction of Pepe and Lacazette sparked our attack into life. They gave the Burnley defence a torrid time but then we come to the crux of this blog title. Pepe clipped the ball up to go around a defender who knew exactly what he was doing leading with his arm, it made contact with his hand (see below), it was clear as day. Nothing given and apparently the dickhead on VAR decided it was nothing. Absolutely fucking useless. How many times does VAR have to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons? Even the most anti-Arsenal “expert”, Peter Walton was surprised it wasn’t given. I hate talking about VAR but when you look at how its been used against us this season its frankly embarrassing.
Moments later it was used again, this time correctly to overturn a penalty and handball clearance off the Burnley line that hit his shoulder. Why was that one so easy but the one earlier that was even clearer not given? Is VAR fit for purpose? I’m sure you all know my thoughts by now. Amongst that we missed chances and in the dying moments Dani Ceballos spanked the woodwork but it was all in vain.
It was not our day yesterday and I’m not worried because playing like that going forward we’ll have enough to overpower most teams but once again a pivotal decision that I’m convinced would’ve seen us win at least 2-1 went against us.
But as always we go again. We move on to a very tricky trip to Athens on Thursday.