Once again, a distinct lack of ruthlessness bedevilled Arsenal against Burnley, but a moment of magic from one of Mikel Arteta’s summer signings ultimately propelled the Gunners to a 1-0 win – just like the days of old.
Martin Odegaard’s sweetly-struck free kick was all that could separate the two sides on the day, although Arteta admitted that his side should have scored more, and the Gunners also had VAR to thank for overturning a Burnley penalty in the second half.
Nevertheless, it is now back-to-back wins for Arsenal in the top flight following their previous success over Norwich City, and Arteta’s men needed no second invitation to hit six unanswered goals past a youthful West Brom side in the second round of the EFL Cup.
Successive defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City are now a thing of the past for Arsenal, who have won three out of their last four games in all competitions – keeping a clean sheet on each occasion – but an inability to kill the game off at Turf Moor did raise concern among Gooners.
For all of their success in the FA Cup in recent years, Arsenal have not lifted the EFL Cup since 1993 and have only advanced past the quarter-finals once in the past 10 seasons, where they went down 3-0 to Manchester City in the final of the 2017-18 edition.
Wimbledon’s own 1-0 victories have seen them book a memorable trip to the Emirates Stadium, with the League One side prevailing against Charlton and Northampton away from home in the previous rounds of the EFL Cup.
Mark Robinson’s side were building momentum before the weekend with a five-game unbeaten run across all tournaments, but they were brought crashing back down to earth at home to Plymouth Argyle, who marched to their own 1-0 success thanks to Ryan Hardie’s 47th-minute effort.
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Wimbledon – who are hovering around the playoff places in League One – had previously found the back of the net 12 times in victories over Oxford United, Portsmouth and Morecambe, and they have only lost one of their six away games so far this season, although none have taken place at the Emirates.
A third-round finish already represents Wimbledon’s best-ever run in the EFL Cup – they have fallen at the first hurdle in eight of the last nine seasons – but not many will be expecting their first-ever meeting with Arsenal to be a joyous occasion