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Arsenal 3 Burnley 0

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IT was an individual performance that had everything. Pace, skill, attitude and, happily for Arsenal, Alexis Sánchez also had room for the decisive moment. Arsène Wenger’s players must have acted out this script a hundred times – stepping on to the front foot in an attempt to break the visiting minnow. And putting the crowd through the wringer as they struggle to make their superiority count.

Seventy minutes were on the stadium clock when Sánchez had seen enough and decided to bend the contest to his will. Calum Chambers stood up a deep cross from the right and Sánchez burst in between Kieran Trippier and Michael Duff to leap and thump a header back into the corner of the net. As Wenger noted afterwards, it was a goal that showcased Sánchez’s insatiable desire.

Finally, Arsenal could relax and they set about giving the scoreline a more appropriate look. Chambers scored his first goal for the club when he fired home after Danny Welbeck’s shot had been cleared off the line by David Jones but the final word deserved to go to one man only.

After the substitute Lukas Podolski had forced one brilliant save from Tom Heaton and rattled the post with another volley, Sánchez met Kieran Gibbs’ left-wing cross, took one touch, then another and slotted home his 10th goal of the season. The £31m fee that brought him from Barcelona is looking more and more like outstanding value.

There was even the boost for Arsenal of seeing Theo Walcott enter as a late substitute for his first appearance since 4 January – he laid on one of Podolski’s chances – but for Burnley the wait for the first victory of the season goes on.

They have now played seven of the current top 10 in their 10 Premier League matches so far and, to borrow a phrase from Sean Dyche, the manager, they are “not ready for this market.” Dyche talked about how Burnley had spent only £6m in the summer and, in August of last year, they had sold the striker Charlie Austin to Queens Park Rangers for £4m to keep the club afloat. The subtext was clear: how are Burnley supposed to compete at the home of Champions League regulars?

The strength of Wenger’s substitutes’ bench was also not lost on Dyche and if Burnley could lament the softness of the first two concessions – Chambers’ goal had stemmed from a poorly defended corner – they could have zero complaints about the result, which kept them pinned to the foot of the Premier League table with four points and five goals. “They put us to the sword after the first goal,” Dyche said.

He did have the gumption, as ever, to start with two strikers, Danny Ings playing in the space behind Marvin Sordell but it was one-way traffic for much of the afternoon. Arsenal, though, had to wait for the breakthrough, despite the relentlessness of Sánchez, who looked like a PlayStation player with the speed button held down. Wenger played him off Welbeck – he described his formation as being 4-4-2 – and Sánchez was at the heart of everything. “He looks more goal dangerous through the middle,” Wenger said.

Arsenal created first-half chances. Sánchez forced Heaton into two smart saves and he curled another shot narrowly wide while Welbeck saw a goal-bound shot hit Trippier, with Heaton seemingly beaten and Santi Cazorla banged a volley off-target.

There was also penalty controversy in the 21st minute. From Cazorla’s right-wing corner, George Boyd seemed to mistime his jump at the near post and he flung up his hand and pawed at the ball. There was contact, which distracted the onrushing Per Mertesacker behind him and everybody in Arsenal colours waited for the inevitable flag from the assistant referee David Bryan. The incident was on his side of the field. Yet there was no decision. Mertesacker and Cazorla shared the prize for the most disbelieving Arsenal player.

Dyche never left his post at the very edge of his technical area and his team enjoyed encouragement at the beginning of the second half. It had been backs-to-the-wall for the overwhelming majority of the first period but Burnley began to piece together patches of possession. Ings flickered and there was the moment when he almost got in as Wojciech Szczesny embarked on a dash from his line that always felt risky. Mertesacker tidied up the situation.

Dyche repeatedly gestured for calm but his heart pounded. As the minutes ticked by, he edged closer to a tonic. His hopes were raised when Duff produced a magnificent block to deny Cazorla when the big chance seemed to have opened up from Chambers’ knock-back. Was it going to be Burnley’s day?

Sánchez had other ideas.

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