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Home   /   Granit Xhaka error gifts Burnley crucial point against wasteful Arsenal
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Granit Xhaka suffered yet another day to forget against Burnley as his catastrophic error presented Chris Wood with the equaliser to halt Arsenal’s ambitions of a European place.

Xhaka, who was sent off in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, received a short pass from Bernd Leno facing his own goal and tried to clip a pass to David Luiz across the penalty box. The Swiss international only succeeded in hitting the ball off Chris Wood and into the Arsenal net.

Arsenal were in cruise control before Xhaka’s error as they took the lead from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside six minutes, receiving the ball from Willian before beating Nick Pope at his near post.

Both Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka wasted chances to stretch Arsenal’s lead and were made to pay when Leno’s unwise pass to an under-pressure Xhaka was compounded by the midfielder’s catastrophic mistake.

Burnley twice went close to turning the game on its head in the second half but Leno first produced a fine stop to keep out Erik Pieters’ dipping 30-yard volley, and then brilliantly used his leg to deny Wood who wasted a one-on-one opportunity.

Arsenal were twice denied a penalty late in the second-half, when Erik Peters clearly handled Nicolas Pepe’s attempt to dribble a bouncing ball past him but VAR controversially ruled against a handball.

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Arsenal again thought they had been awarded a late penalty against Pieters but the spot-kick and the defender’s red card for deliberate handball awarded by referee Andre Marriner, were overturned by VAR after replays showed he had diverted Nicolas Pepe’s shot onto the bar with his shoulder.

Mikel Arteta’s men then had an opportunity take the three points. Aubameyang had a close-range effort blocked brilliantly by Ben Mee and Dani Ceballos hit his own close-range effort off the post in an eventful closing stages at Turf Moor.

A fifth successive home draw inches 15th-placed Burnley closer to Premier League survival, while Arsenal remain 10th, with their hopes of a late push for European qualification hindered by two dropped points, a game they felt they really should have taken all three points.

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July 2024