Mikel Arteta praised his young Gunners’ resilience against Burnley as they made it back-to-back wins.
Martin Odegaard produced the game’s one moment of brilliance when he whipped home a free-kick to continue Arsenal ’s recovery from their dreadful start.
Arteta was proud of the way his side stood up to Burnley ’s physical threat to stretch their unbeaten league record at Turf Moor to 48 years.
“It builds confidence, trust and belief that you can go through difficult moments of games and still win,” said the Arsenal boss.
“It was a hard-fought victory at a really tough place. You have to be ready for a fight here.
“We have players, who are not at their strength playing in this type of game, but they did their best and we got the win. I’m very proud of them defensively and I’m really pleased with the win.”
Burnley felt they were wrongly denied a penalty when referee Anthony Taylor reversed his decision to award them a spot-kick for Aaron Ramsdale’s challenge on Matej Vydra.
It was similar to the penalty Leeds’ Patrick Bamford won against Nick Pope at Elland Road in December and boss Sean Dyche was bemused by Taylor’s decision.
“Unfortunately that one went against us last year and this one doesn’t go for us, which is not a major surprise with our penalty record,” he said.
“I must say the goalkeeper does get a touch on it no question and I have seen it back after the game.
“You’ve got to question why is that a clear and obvious error if the referee has to go to the VAR screen.”
Arsenal won with a performance that was workmanlike rather than wonderful and a better test of their renaissance will come in next Sunday’s North London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates.
Burnley pushed Arsenal hard, but the bottom line is this loss extends their club record winless league run to 13 games and they remain stuck on one point.
Having spent £145million in the summer, Arteta feels he is finally moulding Arsenal in his image and he started 4-3-3 for the first time in the Premier League in a sign of how he wants to play.
Granit Xhaka’s suspension helped and Odegaard and Emile Rowe-Smith provided dynamism and industry either side of Thomas Partey in the midfield three.
Burnley were direct as expected and Ashley Barnes shot over from Pope’s deep free-kick before he and James Tarkowski missed with headers.
The Clarets were physical and Arsenal made them pay on 30 minutes when Ashley Westwood fouled Bukayo Saka to give away a free-kick just under 25 yards out.
Odegaard whipped his left-footed effort over the wall and past Pope’s despairing dive to register his first Gunners goal since joining permanently for £30million in the summer.
Arsenal defended resolutely and Gabriel made a goal-saving tackle on Barnes as he prepared to pull the trigger in the box.
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They showed some craft as well as graft and Smith-Rowe shot just over from 12 yards at the climax of a patient passing move before they lost their way in the second half.
Dyche changed tact when he replaced Barnes with the mobile Vydra and brought on Maxwel Cornet for his debut.
The Ivorian, who cost £12.8million from Lyon, almost made an immediate impact and he had a right-foot shot saved by Ramsdale as Burnley increased the tempo.
Then came the big moment of controversy on 68 minutes. Vydra pounced on Ben White’s underhit backpass and Taylor awarded a penalty for Ramsdale’s challenge only to change his mind after viewing the incident on the pitchside monitor to Burnley’s bewilderment.
The match was marred by some crowd trouble after the final whistle and the rival sets of fans threw plastic drinks bottles at each other in the Cricket Field Stand before being dispersed by stewards.