Sports Desk, Mar 6 (efe-epa).- Arsenal on Saturday had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Burnley after a Granit Xhaka howler gifted the hosts an equalizer and two second half incidents involving the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) went against the Gunners.
The visitors started strongly, taking the lead in the sixth minute when forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took on two Burnley players and cut onto his right foot inside the area before firing into the near corner. Goalkeeper Nick Pope got a hand to the shot but failed to keep it out.
The Gunners appeared to be in complete control as the half time break approached, but with six minutes left Arsenal’s good work was undone when Xhaka played a sloppy ball across the box into Chris Wood, who deflected the ball into the goal.
While the Swiss defensive midfielder hung his head at the error, his goalkeeper Bernd Leno could also take part of the blame, having played Xhaka into trouble in the first place.
Burnley came out in the second half with the wind in their sails, and looked the likelier of the two teams to bag a winner for much of the second period.
But as the closing stages approached, Arsenal started to take control and press for the decider.
Substitute Nicolas Pepe had a glorious opportunity with just over 10 minutes remaining but Arsenal’s record signing missed his kick from less than 10 yards out.
Before that miss, the Ivorian should have been awarded a penalty after his flick clearly struck Erik Pieters’ outstretched arm, but VAR declined to intervene.
On 85 minutes, Pieters was involved again when referee Andre Marriner showed him a straight red card for handballing Pepe’s volley on the line, but VAR stepped in to correctly overturn the ruling after replays showed the ball had actually come off the Dutch defender’s shoulder.
The draw leaves Arsenal in 10th with 38 points, while Burnley remain in a relegation fight in 15th with 30 points. EFE-EPA