Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2: Toothless yet again
Samir Nasri’s inclusion to the squad dominated the pre-match proceedings but this was meant to be a true test for Wenger’s depleted squad. The lineup I predicted in yesterday’s post had a 100% match with the team that started against Liverpool but Sagna played out of position to accommodate the young new signing, Carl Jenkinson.
The Arsenal attack was spearheaded by Theo van Nashavin. A new formula not too similar to the Theo van Nasregas that everybody got accustomed to. As expected, King Kenny added many bodies across the midfield and left Andy Carroll on his own upfront.
In the early minutes of the game, Danny Agger dashed forward and had Szczesny’s goal firmly fixed on his eyes. History as well as recent records showed everyone that Agger has a dynamite in his left leg so Frimpong wasted no time in scything him down. Charlie Chaplin wasted the free kick though.
RVP showed some good footwork to win a corner kick on the right hand side. He swung it in himself but Arshavin made a glorious mess of things with a miscued effort in the 18-yard box. Andy Carroll was on the verge of receiving a cross but he had the threat of Koscielny to contend with so he committed a foul by pushing Kos to hand Arsenal a free kick.
That was Koscielny’s last involvement in the game because he picked up a back injury that he was unable to run off. The injury seemed really bad because Koscielny struggled to walk well when he was about to leave the pitch. He was supported by Arsenal’s physio, Colin Lewin and his compatriot, Samir Nasri.
I wrote this in my last post:
“Wenger might have considered moving the Verminator to the left hand side to accommodate Johan Djourou but JD20 is also injured so Arsenal’s manager is left with a hard decision to deploy Vermaelen at the left to replace him with everyone’s favorite Mr. Calamity, Sebastien Squillaci or he could pair Vermaelen and Koscielny in the middle and play the newbie Carl Jenkinson on the left hand side. I’ll go with the latter even if the prospect of seeing Squillaci on the bench sends chills down my spine. Arsenal was 4 goals up when Squillaci replaced Djourou in St. James Park in February. We all know what happened next.”
Squillaci had no chance in replacing Koscielny because he was spotted in the stands with a black leather jacket sitting next to the injured Djourou so Wenger brought on the relatively untested Ignasi Miquel as Koscielny’s replacement. The last time I saw Miquel in a competitive game, Arsenal played Leyton Orient in the FA Cup and he looked more assured than Squillaci in that game.
Miquel didn’t even have time to settle when Stewart Downing sent in a deep cross for Andy Carroll. Miquel was meant to mark the big lad but he was second best in that contest. Carroll’s header was sent across goal but Wojciech Szczesny made a magnificent save to keep the tie level.
Dirk Kuyt sent in a cross for Jordan Henderson but his weak header was easily saved by Szczesny. As the game progressed, Carroll took a dive in Arsenal’s box but the ref was having none of it. If Arsenal had a player like Joey Hitler of Newcastle, he would have dragged Carroll from the ground and I’m very confident that Carroll would have been brandished with a red card for his actions on the Barton-like player.
Since Carroll is an exact replica of WWE’s Edge, he would have wasted no time in giving the player his trademark SmackDown ™ move, The Spear. After destroying the player’s belly with the Spear, Carroll would have picked the bloke up again to execute the Electric Chair Drop on him and that’s more than enough to get a 10-match ban. If a mild Gervinho slap could fetch him a 3-match suspension and a Bowyer stamp on Sagna could fetch 6, Edge’s…..Carroll’s trademark moves would have done enough justice for him.
Carroll was having a frustrating day at the office and he summed it all up when he kicked the ball into the net after being flagged for an offside. Martin Atkinson invoked the spirit of Massimo Busacca to show Carroll a card that shares the same colour with Chris Brown’s new hair-do.
Charlie Chaplin almost sent the Liverpool faithful to rapture when he fired a Xabi Alonso-esque shot from the centre circle but Szczesny had it covered as it floated over the bar. Arshavin sent in a corner from the left that was well defended by Liverpool’s defense but the ball floated aimlessly to Frimpong’s direction so the mohawked player wasted no time in firing the ball to make Reina pull off a good save for another corner.
Nasri turned on the style with a magnificent solo effort from his own half that saw him evade three players but his final execution was poor though. The fans sounded their appreciation for the effort by the want-away midfielder.
As the game settled, Frimpong did well to win a free kick but RVP’s effort hit the wall. The last piece of action from the first half was an Enrique cross that blocked superbly by Sagna when Carroll was on the prowl.
At the sound of Atkinson’s whistle, it was back to the dressing room for Wenger and his men.
At the start of the second half, Liverpool started brightly and would’ve gone ahead when Kelly smashed Szczesny’s post after a pass from Carroll. Walcott was a complete shadow in the first half and he showed again that he has a lot to learn when Nasri fed him a simple pass. After running aimlessly with it, he lost it to the opposition.
Arsenal would have gone one up after Arshavin nudged a bloke in the box before teeing up the usually dependable Robin van Persie. Arsenal’s captain had a quick snap shot but he didn’t really connect with the ball. Reina made a save he knew nothing about though.
When it seemed as if Arsenal was reaffirming its dominance in the game, Frimpong got involved in a silly challenge on Lucas Leiva. Mr. Atkinson felt that it was the last straw so he gave Song’s replacement a red card of his own after a second yellow. With Manchester United coming up next, Frimpong didn’t pick a better game to get sent off.
Wenger made a tactical switch by bringing on Henri Lansbury for Arshavin so Nasri drifted to the left hand side while Ramsey pushed up in the new 4-4-1 formation. Charlie Chaplin sent a pass behind Jenkinson but Downing’s shot was saved by Szczesny.
Arsenal seemed like a team that was about to settle for another boring 0-0 draw but King Kenny had other plans. He made two substitutions that changed the outlook of the game with the inclusion of Raul Meireles and Luis Suarez.
Suarez barely lasted up to five minutes on the pitch before getting involved in the match’s opener. He received a pass in an offside position but he fed Raul Meireles expecting a return. Ignasi Miquel intercepted the ball but he uncharacteristically fired it off Ramsey’s body to break the deadlock with an own goal.
Wenger took off the hapless Walcott for B52 but he wasn’t any better. Raul Meireles and Suarez got involved again in Liverpool’s second goal and that was it from an Arsenal point of view.
King Kenny justified why spending money can earn dividends by bringing on a £23m player that got involved in two goals in the space of 10 minutes or so. Wenger replaced an upcoming defender with an untested one, when a rookie holding midfielder saw red, he replaced him with another untested midfielder and he replaced an inconsistent winger with an inconsistent striker/winger (a position that he loathes).
Szczesny (8.5) had a great game with magnificent saves and he commanded his area well.
Sagna (6.5) played on the left hand side but struggled a bit which is quite understandable.
Jenkinson (6.5) did okay and swung in many crosses.
Vermaelen (9.5) was a demigod in the heart of Arsenal’s defense. Time and time again, he made vital interceptions and crucial headers. He even waltzed forward to fire some shots in.
Miquel (7.0) did okay under the circumstances but his part in the own goal was a bit unfortunate.
Frimpong (8.0) played extremely well before earning himself an early bath thanks to the red card.
Ramsey (6.5) was industrious in midfield.
Nasri (7.0) showed movement and didn’t play like a player that’s about to leave because he was committed to the cause.
Arshavin (5.5) was a major disappointment in a game that he was supposed to exert himself as a “senior” player.
Walcott (3.5) clearly lacked a football brain in this game and he has a lot to learn.
Van Persie (6.0) was toothless yet again.
Lansbury (5.5) had no impact whatsoever in the midfield
Koscielny and Bendtner (N/A).
Records get created and broken all the time so Liverpool’s 11-year barren run in the hands of Arsenal FC has finally come to an end. This defeat shows that Arsenal has won just three of the last 15 competitive games if you date back to Leyton Orient in March and Blackpool in April.
As you would expect, the panic button has been pressed yet again but Wenger has appealed for calm from the Arsenal faithful.
The media Vultures are back again and they report that Arsenal is plotting a loan bid for the 2007 FIFA Golden Ball winner, Kaka. With his lack of games at the Bernabeu, a move to Arsenal will be an amazing acquisition by Wenger.
They also report that Lille have placed a £26m price tag on the BioHazard of Eden.
Nasri’s inclusion in yesterday’s game brought up stories about his proposed move to Manchester City broken down but Wenger has decided to be coy about the entire situation. He was also asked about his future and he told the media Vultures that he’ll never walk away from Arsenal:
“There is no chance that I would walk away. I will try to give my best for the club. We live under the circumstances where every defeat is absolutely a disgrace and an earthquake. We are at the start of the season and we are very disappointed but we are at the start of the season.”
Amid these tumultuous times, a close friend of mine has lashed out his frustrations:
“I’m even tired of all this analysis mehn. I’m tired of being frustrated and I’m tired of being tired of Arsenal.”
Even CNN’s Piers Morgan voiced his frustrations on Twitter.
@piersmorgan: Enough. Enough. Enough. We need new new ideas, new inspiration, new players, new management.#Arsenal
I’m in support of the first three but we do not need a new management in Arsenal because Wenger remains the best man for the job.
But the quote of the day goes to a Nollywood actor called Osita Iheme:
“@ositaiheme: Instead of complaining that the mountain is too high….find a way to climb it.”
Arsene Wenger, we await your new signings.
Whether its Kaka, Mata, M’ Vila, Jadson, Will.i.an, Captain America or Agent Smith of the Matrix,
We don’t care.
You have 10 days left.
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