An 11th hour penalty from Alexis Sánchez was enough to guide 10-man Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Burnley at the Emirates Stadium, having seen the visitors equalise midway through stoppage time.
The Gunners, who were reduced to 10 after Granit Xhaka’s red card, looked braced to share the spoils after Shkodran Mustafi’s header and Andre Gray’s 93rd minute penalty, but Sanchez’s spot-kick just seconds away from the final whistle sees the north Londoners take full advantage of the results around them to move up to second place in the Premier League.
Following a tense introduction into the match, it was the hosts who registered the first chance of the game, as Mesut Özil’s low drive required Tom Heaton to push the strike away from goal in the 14th minute.
After a flurry of half chances from the subsequent corner, Burnley responded through Ashley Barnes at the other end, but Petr Čech remained equal to the forward’s effort.
Özil was on hand to try his luck again from the edge of the box, as a half-volley in the 21st minute dragged itself slightly wide of the target.
Sánchez emerged to a greater extent into the game as the game approached half time, finding himself enough space in the 42nd minute after some intricate trickery on George Boyd to fire wide of the target.
The Chilean commenced the second period in much the same vein, cutting in early into proceedings before launching a venomous strike just over the bar.
Arsène Wenger’s men were left claiming a penalty in the 55th minute, as Gray came crashing into Mustafi inside the box before the referee, John Moss, overlooked the calls.
The German centre back took centre stage once more just four minutes later, as he rose highest to flick on Özil’s corner and score his first goal in an Arsenal shirt, subsequently giving the home side a 1-0 lead.
Arsenal were dealt a big blow soon after as Xhaka was called up for a foul committed on Steven Defour, with the Swiss being left perplexed by the official’s decision to send him off in the 64th minute.
Burnley’s Defour warmed up the hands of Čech in the 71st minute with a well-struck free kick, whereas it was Laurent Koscielny who took all the plaudits 10 minutes later with a crucially-timed block on Barnes volley inside the box, with the latter reduced to poking the rebound harmlessly into Čech’s hands.
Arsenal were rocked in the 93rd minute, however, as the Clarets earned themselves a penalty for Francis Coquelin’s trip on Barnes inside the box. Gray stepped up to the plate and claimed what had appeared to have been a late equaliser for Sean Dyche’s side.
The drama ensued at the other end, as Koscielny took a boot to the face and saw the Gunners earn the chance to rob all three points, despite attacking the ball from an offside position.
Sánchez took full advantage of the spot-kick with a cool chip down the middle to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory, which takes them a point above third placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Petr Čech (7); Gabriel (8), Shkodran Mustafi (7), Laurent Koscielny (9), Nacho Monreal (6); Granit Xhaka (7), Aaron Ramsey (7), Alex Iwobi (7), Mesut Özil (8), Alexis Sánchez (8); Olivier Giroud (6)
Subs: Francis Coquelin (5), Danny Welbeck (5), Hector Bellerin (5)
By Patrick Ribeiro