LONDON, August 17: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Arsenal’s match-winner again as the Gabon forward sealed a 2-1 victory against Burnley to extend his side’s perfect start to the Premier League season on Saturday.
Aubameyang had netted the only goal in last weekend’s win at Newcastle and he emulated that crucial contribution with another decisive strike at the Emirates Stadium.
Alexandre Lacazette’s first goal of the season had given Arsenal the lead before Ashley Barnes equalised for Burnley just before half-time.
It was a encouraging afternoon for Arsenal manager Unai Emery as his widely written-off team continued to bounce back from their dismal end to last season.
Failing to finish in the top four and losing the Europa League final against Chelsea robbed Arsenal of a Champions League place and led to a summer of recriminations as fans vented their frustrations.
But Emery has quietly assembled a more vibrant squad than he had in his troubled first campaign.
With two successive wins to start the season for the first time in 10 years, the early signs are promising for Arsenal ahead of sterner tests against Liverpool and Tottenham in their next two games.
As well as goals for Arsenal’s two main strikers, there was a virtuoso performance from on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, who had two assists in his first start.
Club record signing Nicolas Pepe impressed after coming off the bench as half-time and although former Chelsea defender David Luiz was hardly rock solid on his debut, Emery’s back four did enough to keep Burnley at bay.
Mesut Ozil was again absent from the Gunners squad after the German midfielder was ill earlier this week.
Ozil missed the Newcastle match because of “further security fears” after being involved in a carjacking incident with team-mate Sead Kolasinac in July.
But Ozil’s absence wasn’t a hindrance against a Burnley team who suffered their eighth successive loss at the Emirates.
Lacazette, back from an ankle injury that meant he was only a substitute at Newcastle, came close to putting Arsenal in front when he met a Sokratis flick with a close-range header that Nick Pope tipped over.
It was only a temporary reprieve for Burnley as Emery’s side took the lead from the resulting corner in the 13th minute. (AFP)
Mane, Firmino shoot Liverpool to victory
SOUTHAMPTON (United Kingdom), August 17: Liverpool made it two successive wins to start their Premier League title bid as goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino clinched a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s tired team were ragged in their passing and lacked organisation in defence, but still showed enough mental strength to come away with three points.
It was completely against the run of play when Senegal winger Mane put Liverpool ahead against his former club just before half time at St Mary’s.
Brazil forward Firmino scored a clinical second but a dreadful error by Reds goalkeeper Adrian gifted a goal to Danny Ings that set up a tense finish Former Liverpool forward Ings should really have equalised to give Southampton what would have been a well-deserved point.
The reason for the Champions League winners’ lacklustre display was not hard to find. (AFP)