Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
Goals: Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) | Ashley Barnes (£6.5m)
Assists: Dani Ceballos (£5.5m) x 2 | Dwight McNeil (£6.0m)
Bonus Points: Ceballos x 3 Lacazette x 2 Aubayemang x 1
Arsenal emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory over Burnley in their first home game of the Premier League season with Alexandre Lacazette (£9.5m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) getting the goals.
Dani Ceballos (£5.5m), making his first Premier League start for the Gunners, put in a stellar performance, contributing two assists and collecting maximum bonus points.
In a man of the match display, the on
He played a crucial role in the attacking play and also had a hand in the Gunners’ corners and free-kicks but also helped break up Burnley’s offensive efforts.
At a price of £5.5m and after such an impressive debut, it will be difficult for managers to ignore Ceballos who unquestionably has the ability to start for Arsenal on a weekly basis.
And given the void that has been vacated by Mesut Ozil’s (£7.4m) ongoing absence, Ceballos looks to have the confidence and ability to contribute assists that the Gunners’ have been crying out for in the Emery era.
Ashley Barnes (£6.5m) struck an early equaliser after Lacazette had put Arsenal in front, with the forward making it three goals in two games for the Clarets to stake his claim as an early frontrunner for the best budget forward in 2019/20.
Barnes took his goal well after a battling run and through ball from Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) rewarding the 3.9% of managers who had backed him to deliver against Arsenal.
Despite a nervous first-half performance that culminated in a booking for Aubameyang, the Gabonese forward scored a crucial goal for the Gunners after cutting in from the left, burying his well-struck shot past Nick Pope (£4.5m) to give Arsenal the lead.
Owned by 29% of managers, the performance of Aubameyang was relatively re-assuring given his well-taken goal, even if it was a
The premium forward was a peripheral figure in the first half, having been deployed on the right flank of attacking midfield.
It was not until the second
This substitution saw Aubameyang move to the left, with Pépé, making his home debut, taking up the right-wing station.
Emery’s decision to deploy the premium striker in both a left and right-sided role at various stages Saturday afternoon’s fixture will be an area of potential concern.
When we consider the assured positions of other premium options such as Harry Kane (£11.0) as a centre-forward, Raheem Sterling (£12.1) as a winger and Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) as a right-sided attacking midfielder, this is a level of consistency Aubameyang cannot really offer. That said, the Arsenal man still outscored all of those big names in Gameweek 2.
If Lacazette can continue his goalscoring form alongside occupying the central striking role for Arsenal, then the Frenchman is certainly worthy of monitoring with regards to attacking Arsenal coverage given his favourable price-tag at £1.5m less than his Gabonese counterpart.
Pépé’s introduction at half-time did not lead to any attacking returns for the £72m signing, but glimpses of his potential were on show at The Emirates. The former Lille striker will now be looking to nail down a starting berth and prove himself to Emery as a worthy candidate to feature alongside Aubayemang and Lacazette
Despite failing to record a second consecutive clean-sheet, Pope was exceptional at times for Burnley, making seven saves in total as well as a number of crucial blocks to prevent the scoreline developing into a mauling for the Clarets.
There remains indisputable value in both Pope and the likes of Matt Lowton (£4.5m) James Tarkowski (£5.0m) Ben Mee (£5.0m) and Erik Pieters (£4.5m) who have a favourable run of fixtures from Gameweeks 5 to 8 after navigating an away trip to Wolves before hosting Liverpool at Turf Moor.
The early momentum that Arsenal
If Emery and Arsenal can translate this promising initial form into continuous winning momentum, then there is no doubt that they have a number of primarily attacking assets who can deliver for Fantasy managers – namely Lacazette and Aubameyang.
But Saturday’s victory was both a day and performance that belonged to debutant Ceballos with his two assists and a Man of the Match performance.