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A few thoughts on the Liverpool league match

April 5, 2015

Arsenal played host to Liverpool the media darlings who came to the Emirates knowing only a win would do to keep their hopes of finishing in the top four and playing Champions League football next season alive. Also keeping the their media darlings from looking like the complete idiots most are.

Liverpool were shorn of Lallana, Gerrard, Skrtel and Sturridge was to start on the bench. Arsenal third in the table knew a win would take them to second in the table, even if only on a temporary basis as Manchester City do not play until Monday night away at Crystal Palace. Apparently Arsenal had every player back in training this week and free from injury for the first time since 2005, yet before kickoff Szczesny was ruled out due to damaged ribs and young Matt Macey was brought into the squad as replacement

The team : Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny(Gabriel), Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ramsey (Flamini), Sanchez, Ozil (Welbeck); Giroud.

Arsenal started the game on fire, getting right into Liverpool and never let them settle on the ball. This helped create chances for Sanchez whose shot went wide, Cazorla whose shot was saved low down by Mignolet and Ramsey who should have scored from a couple a yards but he shot straight at Mignolet. Experts typically saw this as Liverpool giving the ball with very little credit given to Arsenal’s play which was forcing the errors. What credit was given was through gritted teeth.

I have noticed before at times this season after a fast start from Arsenal and missing a few chances the team become laboured, trying too hard to score and go off the boil. This allowed Liverpool to slowly work their way back into the game. Liverpool were venturing forward a lot more but not really making chances. Then good ball from Coutinho found Markovic who maybe should have shot and scored but for some reason decided to pass left to Sterling, got his pass all wrong and the chance went. On looking at the chance again Markovic’s first touch was not that good and his body shape I think made up his mind to pass rather than shoot. Saying that he should have just “put it in the net” was like saying so should have Ramsey, yet even if Markovic did shoot, he did not have an empty net and still had to beat Ospina. Yet the pass from Markovic was poor. 

The game at this stage was pretty even with Liverpool looking good coming forward with their pace up front.  The issue though, was who was Sterling, Coutinho and Markovic being creators, creating for? The three are good players but none are really goal scorers in their own right, so when push came to shove, Liverpool were not really that much of a threat.

Arsenal came to life again. You see these periods where Arsenal look to be off the boil is also where they can also be at their most dangerous. When you have creative players with footballing brains like Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez, Ramsey and a forward like Giroud who is playing with confidence, his hold play and touch getting better every game it only takes a few seconds to score. Welbeck and Theo were on the bench. Oxo was not in squad. Arsenal apart from maybe Sanchez started with little pace, yet our pace was our passing which at times is so precise and quick the ball goes through six players to shot so quick you don’t need pace. A fully fit squad is giving Arsenal have a variety of options now.

With this lack of pace, our creative football came to the fore, Ozil spotted Ramsey on the right and found him with a good pass. Ramsey saw Bellerin, laid the ball into his path, Bellerin dropped his shoulder, glided past Moreno and curled a lovely left footer past Mignolet and into the bottom right hand corner. A superb goal for the young left back and 1-0 Arsenal! A very good and typical Arsenal move, but wait! The goal was only scored because Liverpool gave Ozil too much space, Moreno was not watching Bellerin and Mignolet should have saved the shot. (pattern emerging here)

Arsenal now lifted by the opening goal came forward again. Coquelin into Ozil who turned Sakho but the Liverpool defender brought him down for a free-kick to Arsenal 20 yards out. Ozil lined up to take the free kick and curled his shot past Mignolet into the keepers bottom right hand corner (again) for 2-0 Arsenal! Very good free kick from Ozil, but wait! The keeper should have saved it. You see this was a very good free kick, curling out and then back in. Mignolet never really had a chance, but according to some experts the keeper should have saved it. Had Gerrard been playing and scored that free kick the wankfest would have gone into Orbit. However, this was Ozil and far too many Experts and media have been knocking him, so with every assist and goal Ozil has they are made to look idiots. Therefore, praise is going to be a rare commodity amongst these types for Ozil.

Liverpool defence was all over the place now as Arsenal came forward again and Toure had to blast the ball out in panic for a corner with Liverpool under pressure. Ozil’s corner is headed wide by Giroud. Back came Arsenal again who are now swarming all over Liverpool. Coquelin to Ramsey to Sanchez who skipped past Toure and blasted the ball from the edge of the area past Mignolet for 3-0, but wait! This was more poor Liverpool defending and keeping and nothing to do with Arsenal’s style of play. Teams makes mistakes, teams can defend poorly, but also teams can force errors and makes teams play poorly and this was Arsenal did yesterday, same as against Villa. It’s not how poor Villa or Liverpool were, it’s about how good Arsenal were.

Liverpool ended the half with not one shot on target. I said to my Son Liverpool are going to have to find four shots on target in forty-five minutes to win this game and that was never going to happen.

3-0 Half time.

As expected Arsenal took their foot off the pedal, applied reverse gear and put the hand brake on. It was a case of taking it easy, avoid picking up injuries, don’t try to force more goals, if they come they come. Liverpool had no choice but to try to go for it to get back into the game. First real note of second half was a foul by Can on Cazorla in which the young German was booked.

Kosceilny went off injured to be replaced by Gabriel. Cazorla and Ramsey couldn’t make their minds up which one should not shoot and in the meantime the ball runs free to Giroud who shot low but was an easy take for Mignolet. Giroud had a good header saved well from the Liverpool keeper (sick of typing Mignolet). Straight away Ospina got his first real action with a save from Can.

Ramsey and Ozil were replaced with Flamini and Welbeck. Sterling was then fouled in the box by Bellerin and referee Taylor awarded a penalty to Liverpool, no arguments but maybe the referee Taylor did Arsenal a favour for once as he did not send off Bellerin for a second yellow card. Henderson took the kick and scored 3-1 Arsenal.

Can then took out Welbeck and Taylor got his yellow card out, added it to his yellow earlier for Can and also pulled his red card out. Liverpool down to ten men. Chances were now falling to Arsenal and a fourth goal was on the cards with Welbeck just failing to get his shot away in the area and Cazorla almost finishing off another good yet hitting the post. Arsenal came forward again and the ball found its way from Sanchez to Giroud who took on one defender and hit a very good shot past the keeper for 4-1 thus keeping up his good recent record of scoring.

Full time 4-1 and Arsenal went second in the table at least until Manchester City’s game away at Crystal Palace on Monday night and ten points clear of Tottenham. This took me back to the 7th February when superstar Harry Kane, scored two goals to help Tottenham beat Arsenal 2-1 . Tottenham went one point clear of Arsenal and it was all about how the balance of power had chanced yet again in North London to those deluded people at the other end of the Seven Sisters Road.

Liverpool the form team who had not conceded in their last six away games conceded four away to the current form team. Arsenal won their ninth successive home game and tied as leading goalscorers in the premiership for a few hours. Right now for me Arsenal are currently playing the best football in the Premier League, by a quite a way.

Seven league games left and four of those at home. A win away at Burnley next week and the pressure is heaped onto Manchester United and Manchester City.






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