Arsenal player ratings: 9/10 Saka superb in rout over Burnley

by 24USATVFeb. 17, 2024, 7 p.m. 36
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Arsenal headed to Burnley unbeaten in their last 10 visits to Turf Moor and they extended that run with a comfortable 5-0 win that keeps them in second place and very much in the hunt in the Premier League title race.

Captain Martin Ødegaard was the Gunners' orchestrator in chief throughout and he got the visitors off to a flying start when he finished from the edge of the area to net his 28th goal for the club. Bukayo Saka then doubled Arsenal's advantage when he converted from the penalty spot after Leandro Trossard had been upended by Lorenz Assignon.

Odegaard and Saka linked up for the third, the Norwegian unlocking Burnley's defence with an incisive pass before Saka crashed the ball into the roof of James Trafford's net.

Trossard netted Arsenal's fourth with his left foot, before Kai Havertz added gloss to a comfortable afternoon with Arsenal's fifth, an ice-cool strike after he dribbled through th defence with embarrassing ease.

Burnley failed to lay a glove on the visitors in response, leaving Arsenal to register their fifth win in a row and continue their 100% league record in 2024.

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The Gunners continued their run of dominating matches early on. Burnley pressed high in the opening stages and it suited Arsenal, with Gabriel Martinelli and Saka able to threaten from wide positions. A second high-scoring victory in a row (after a 6-0 rout of West Ham) was achieved without Mikel Arteta's side having to get out of second gear.

It's hard to pick holes in what was a dominant performance on the road.

9 -- Arteta opted for an unchanged side from the one that won so convincingly at West Ham last weekend, and his men rewarded him with another dominant victory. That enabled him to rest players ahead of their Champions League tie against FC Porto on Wednesday.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David Raya, 6 -- The Spaniard had a quiet afternoon thanks to his teammates' dominance, but he was alert to the home side's best effort when he saved well at his near post from Wilson Odobert.

DF Ben White, 7 -- Playing the inverted defensive midfield role in Oleksandr Zinchenko's absence, White looked extremely comfortable. He was a threat from corners in the opposition box too.

DF William Saliba, 6 -- Not quite at his imperious best, though he never really needed to be. The Frenchman was beaten far too easily by David Datro Fofana on one occasion, but it proved inconsequential in the end.

DF Gabriel Magalhaes, 7 -- The Brazilian was arguably the better of Arsenal's two central defenders, covering his partner when needed and offering excellent distribution. Made a key block to deny Fofana late on.

DF Jakob Kiwior, 8 -- His recent excellent form continues. From his left-back position he looked solid defensively, fortifying the Gunners' back line and looks to be growing in confidence with every game.

MID Declan Rice, 8 -- Another dominant performance from the 25-year-old. Though Burnley rarely threatened, he provided an excellent barrier in front of his defence.

MID Kai Havertz, 8 -- The German played a vital role in the Gunners' second goal. He received a pass from Odegaard on the edge of the area before poking the ball to Trossard, who was brought down. He then netted his sixth goal of the season when, after breaking free on the left, he cut inside and slotted home with a classy finish.

MID Martin Odegaard, 9 -- The Norwegian gave the Gunners an early lead when, after receiving the ball from Martinelli on the edge of the area, he finished smartly. Only six players have been involved in more goals than Odegaard this season. He then set up Saka for Arsenal's third.

FW Bukayo Saka, 9 -- Saka was a constant threat on the right side. He delivered a defence-splitting pass to unleash Trossard before netting twice. First, he doubled the Gunners' advantage from the penalty spot before making it three with an emphatic finish after the break. That's now 12 goals for the season, two shy of his previous season best.

FW Gabriel Martinelli, 7 -- It was from the Brazilian's early driving run and subsequent cutback to Odegaard that Arsenal were able to break the deadlock inside four minutes. He then came close to finding the net himself, but he was denied by a crucial intervention from Sander Berge.

FW Leandro Trossard, 7 -- The former Brighton man was a constant menace. First, he came close after he was set through one-vs.-one with Trafford, before the Belgian was later brought down inside the area to earn his team a penalty. It was then a case of third time lucky for the 29 year old when, after coming close twice after the break, he netted the Gunners' fourth with his left foot inside the area.

Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

Eddie Nketiah (Trossard, 69) 5 -- He struggled to get up to speed with Arsenal's pace, and was often guilty of giving the ball away. He headed wide with his solitary effort.

Reiss Nelson (Saka, 69) 5 -- The winger looked lively after coming on but was often let down by a poor touch or lack of strength on the ball.

Cedric Soares (White, 69) 5 -- The final part of a triple substitution, which offered Soares some rare game time and White a well-earned rest.

Jorginho (Rice, 79) N/A -- He passed the ball well in his cameo, with Rice another to take a well-earned rest.

Emile Smith Rowe (Havertz, 87) N/A -- Given a welcome return to action, Smith-Rowe impressed on the ball and saw an effort blocked in injury time.

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