We claimed a 3-1 win at Burnley on the final day of the season to wrap up our domestic campaign in style.
AUBA’S GOLDEN BOOT HUNT
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave an insight into his insatiable hunger for goals when he admitted that he regularly finishes games and checks how his immediate rivals for the Golden Boot have fared. Going into the final day two goals behind Liverpool’s Mo Salah, there was no doubt that the Gabon international had the trophy in his sights – but it initially looked as though he would be frustrated after twice going close in the first half. But his second-half brace pulled him level with Salah and Sadio Mane, and while he came within a few precious inches of claiming his second hat-trick in the space of four days, he had to settle for sharing the award. It is some feat in his first full season in English football, and Auba also became just the fourth player to score 30 in a season for Arsenal since the start of the 2006/07 season.
WILLOCK TAKES CHANCE TO SHINE
With Unai Emery making wholesale changes to his side for this match, it provided Joe Willock with another chance to impress in just his second Premier League start – and he did not pass it up. The rangy midfielder has bulked up to meet the demands of the top flight and it showed as he fought for control of the midfield. His turn and shot just before half-time saw him go close to claiming his first league goal, and when he came off on the hour mark it was to warm applause from the visiting fans. This was another highly-encouraging display from the midfielder.
PRESSING THEIR CASES
It was not only Willock who took the opportunity to impress. With places up for grabs for the Europa League final, it was encouraging to see the likes of Alex Iwobi and Matteo Guendouzi deliver on the road. With doubts about Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s involvement in Baku due to political tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it was encouraging to see Iwobi in decisive mood in the second half, laying on a fine assist for Aubameyang’s second. Shkodran Mustafi will also have an eye on a final place, and one outstanding block on the half-hour mark to deny Matt Lowton will have been a real boost to his confidence.
KOS COMES ON TO BOSS IT
When Dinos Mavropanos limped off midway through the first half here, the introduction of Laurent Koscielny brought about a new Premier League record. It saw Unai Emery make his 28th change before the interval – something our head coach will be looking to remedy next term with a more settled side. It was hardly ideal to bring on Koscielny, and there would have been hearts in mouths when Ashley Barnes sent him careering over the advertising hoardings, but he was outstanding once more. The story of his return after serious injury to hit this sort of form is not highlighted enough: to look this strong and this confident after so long out is remarkable.