Three Things We Learned from Arsenal thrashing Burnley as Champions League trip to Porto looms

Here's Alan Alger's must-read analysis of Arsenal's superb victory over Burnley at Turf Moor

Three Things We Learned from Arsenal thrashing Burnley as Champions League trip to Porto looms

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta applauds the travelling fans after beating Burnley 5-0. CREDIT: Daniel Chesterton/OFFSIDE

Havertz will make a lot of pundits look silly by the end of the season…

I can see it now. A Premier League pundit will be asked towards the end of the season to name their biggest transfer flop of this campaign. They’ll flounder for a name and then think of inserting Kai Havertz into their argument. Why not? He’s a big name? He’s at Arsenal? He’s a forward with a low stats output? Bingo!

They will, of course, be entirely missing the point of what the German has brought to us now that he has finally settled into the team. Pundits mostly operate by having a basic knowledge of each team, with a few stock opinions. Most do not intently watch every game – like a fan of a club would. Therefore a lot of the key parts of a match aren’t seen.

In a 3pm Saturday kick-off without live coverage Kai Havertz had an incredible game at Burnley. He made every part of the team tick. Winning headers when required at the back. Keeping the ball in central areas to compliment attacks. Focused build-up play to start moves that led to goals. Scoring his own great goal to round things off.

Mikel Arteta has now found his ‘plan B’ style within his preferred ‘plan A’. We can mix it up and we can get the job done. Kai Havertz is a huge part of that. Don’t be told otherwise.

Kiwior could become one of those unsung cult heroes vital to a successful season…

Slightly more unsung, at least by Gooners, at the other end of the pitch Jakub Kiwior could be earning cult status if he keeps up these performances.

At first the natural centre-back found it hard to play as the kind of full-back that Mikel Arteta wanted. The boss not having much choice due to injury on a few occasions now. He looked a little unsteady at Luton and the fanbase were doubting if he could make the same transition as Ben White.

White’s move out to the side of the defence was more by design than necessity, so in Kiwior’s case he should have been afforded more leeway. His switch with Oleksandr Zinchenko at half-time in the Liverpool game has produced an outstanding following few hours for the team, let alone the Arsenal backline.

Since Kiwior slotted into the defence as a sub at the half way point against the league leaders at the Emirates we’ve played 255 minutes of Premier League football (including added time). Across those two and a half games the team have scored 13 goals, conceded nothing at the other end and reduced our opponents to just one shot on target.

Kiwior was also awarded an assist for the Leandro Trossard goal against Liverpool and registered another at Burnley. He also made vital tackles and kept the side balanced.

As mentioned in this column a few times – while Zinchenko slows our play to a crawl allowing teams to reset, he’s also a defensive liability. Thank goodness we’ve found an alternative. The argument can be put to bed.

Record against the bottom eight could swing it…

The win over Burnley took our record against the bottom eight teams in the current table to - P11 W11 D0 L0 F33 A6. Considering that Luton scored three of those goals against us, then the record is even more impressive. The clean sheet tally in those games moving to seven at the weekend.

While beating teams around you is usually a benchmark for teams trying to avoid the drop, teams like ourselves going for the title also have to make the most of the games against the league’s lesser lights. Case in point last season, where we dropped 12 points in that area of the table. Just reducing that by 50% would have seen us lift the trophy.

What I like about Arsenal under Arteta is how quickly we rectify deficiencies and mistakes. The boss knows that you have to be ruthless in all 38 games in this division. The way we kept attacking at Turf Moor but also defended with so much desire even at 5-0 up bodes so well for the run-in.

Manchester City dropped points at the weekend and now play twice in the league before we kick-off against Newcastle next Saturday night. Liverpool also play in midweek before our weekend match.

While we have to concentrate on Porto, we will have eyes elsewhere knowing that results this week elsewhere could impact the outcome of the campaign.

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