LIVERPOOL 3-1 ARSENAL: 5 Things we learned by Chumsy
This game was the first time I was confident we would beat the reds at Anfield, after beating them on Home soil (Emirates) and on an away ground (Wembley) which I call Arsenal’s second home; I even predicted the gunners would win 3:1 but the reverse was the case. Less than 20 minutes into the game, reality set in and it was clear that football isn’t magic.
Here are the 5 things we learned from the game:
- Midfield combination not yielding results
While the defence tried (to some extent) to keep Mane and friends at bay, being on the receiving end of 19 shots is not healthy for a team that should be competing at the top; Arsenal, on the other hand, had just 3 shots. For the most part of the first half, Xhaka and Elneny gave more backward passes than forward while Fabinho and Keita did the opposite; Arsenal also struggled to get throw-ins to their players even Bellerin had a foul throw in the process. If this was caused by fear, would be a discussion for another day but it clearly showed that Arsenal must sign at least 2 players…a defensive midfielder for stability and an attacking midfielder to bring creativity into the team.
- The wings are not for Auba
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was arguably Arsenal’s best player in the last 2 seasons and playing him on the flank to accommodate Lacazette doesn’t seem to yield much fruit. Auba should lead the attack and get the goals that keep Arsenal in contention.
- Pepe is no chilli pepper
Arsenal fans celebrated the arrival of Pepe, it felt like the marquee player that would dazzle opposition defence (and leave players gasping for breath) had arrived. Having started from the bench and also received lengthy instructions from the manager before coming on, you would expect Pepe to make a difference but he had little or no impact in the game. He really needs to do more ensure defenders fidget when they see him with the ball.
- Liverpool remains a step ahead
The reds don’t seem to walk alone. They’ve been tested in the game of patience, taking their time like an anaconda crushing a stubborn giant crocodile. They were patient against Chelsea until the red card and took less than 3 minutes to equalise against Arsenal.
But it didn’t just happen, it’s been years of good planning. Having shipped in goals, they got a world-class defender and a great goalkeeper to replace the error-strewn goalie that cost them the champions league final…and from finishing as runner up in the premier league and champions league, they went on to win both titles although in different seasons and it’s looking like they’ll retain the premier league crown thanks to the addition to Jota and Thiago; the latter wasn’t even part of the Liverpool passing game against Arsenal.
- Arsenal is work in progress
According to Gracenote Live, Arsenal remains winless in 28 premier league away fixtures versus other established top 6 teams (2015-2020).
While this statistic appears to show a lack of improvement, it is worth noting that most of the games were under previous managers.
Mikel Arteta has done a good job with the squad and must be given credit. Arsenal’s style of play has changed and passion is evident. It may not be right to judge the team against Liverpool but it’s clear Arsenal doesn’t have what it takes to win the league this season.
Arsenal is clearly a work in progress and we will see more improvement but 38 games aren’t a one-off game at Wembley so the club must support the coach by investing in key areas in order for Arsenal to stand a chance in finishing in the top 4 by the end of the season.