Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0: The Gunner Stay Clear at the Top
Emirates Stadium (Premier League)
Arsenal – Cazorla 19′, Ramsey 69′
Following the disappointing Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea, many had written off Arsenal’s aspirations this season and many had tipped them to falter against a resurgent Liverpool side with the world-famous S.A.S. in attack. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge had amassed 14 goals between them and the prospect of playing against them certainly sent chills down the spines of Arsene Wenger defenders.
Arsenal drew first blood when Bacary Sagna bombed forward and swung a deep cross that was headed goalwards by Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard’s effort beat Simon Mignolet hands down and bounced off the post but Cazorla was on hand to blast the rebound to the roof of the net giving Mignolet no chance in hell to catch the ball.
With the Gunners having a lot of numbers in attack, Liverpool launched a counter attack through Suarez but Sagna took one for the team by scything the Uruguayan forward down, earning himself a booking. Henderson crossed the resulting dead ball and it fell to Kolo Toure’s path but Wojciech Szczesny made a superb save from the Ivorian defender.
Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky combined well before teeing up Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh midfielder fired a rasping bouncing shot at goal but it was saved by Mignolet. Sturridge got into his miserly stride and eased past Mikel Arteta but his tame effort was easy pickings for Szczesny in goal.
Ozil took on a couple of defenders before threading the ball to Giroud whose impeccable first timed pass got to Ramsey’s path but the Welsh man chose to hold into the ball instead of blasting it goalwards. After dallying on the ball, Ramsey sent in a poor cross that didn’t meet anybody on red.
Sturridge moved to the right hand side to instigate an attack and was marked tightly by Koscielny. In the blink of an eye, Sturridge waltzed past the Frenchman whose backside hit the deck but thankfully for Arsenal, Sturridge ran out of room as the ball went wide.
Arsenal launched an attack late in the first half as Giroud fashioned a chance for Santi Cazorla but his left footed effort went wide.
At the start of the second period, Giroud showed good anticipation to intercept Toure’s attempted pass to Martin Skrtel and bore down on goal but he chose precision over power as he attempted an impudent chip over the goalie that wentwide instead of blasting the ball past Mignolet.
Ramsey showed Giroud the benefits of power over precision when he latched onto Ozil’s peach of a pass to blast the ball past Mignolet in goal to put the Gunners two goals to the good.
Wenger summoned Nacho Monreal to replace a jaded Rosicky that had pressed really hard for his team. Liverpool attacked through a corner that was controlled by Sturridge but Suarez attacked the loose ball with lovely shot from the outside of his boot and the ball glanced wide.
Ozil and Monreal teed up Gibbs on the left that showed good movement to evade a marker before drilling a cross into the danger area but there was a major concern as Gibbs came up short. After some treatment he wasn’t deemed fit enough to continue so Thomas Vermaelen came in his stead.
Szczesny dominated his box with two superb blocks from Sturridge and Henderson in quick succession. Wenger went for a defensive approach, bringing on Carl Jenkinson for Cazorla.
Nerves started tingling when Szczesny attempted a clearance that hit Sturridge on his foot but luckily the ball came back to the Pole. Per Mertesacker almost endured a horror moment as he gifted the ball to Suarez but the Uruguayan’s placed effort missed by a lick of paint.
Szczesny (9) put up another standout performance and must have been delighted to finish the game with a clean sheet.
Sagna (8) was as solid as ever, and did well to swing the cross that led to the match opener.
Gibbs (7) balanced his defensive and offensive play superbly. Shame he has suffered another trademark injury and I wish him a speedy recovery.
Mertesacker (7) was his usual calm and composed self, making several challenges to put S.A.S. at bay.
Koscielny (7) worked in tandem with Mertesacker to quell the threat posed by S.A.S
Arteta (9) was industrious in midfield, making several interceptions and breaking up play.
Ramsey (8) was culpable for holding onto the ball longer than normal but his long range strike was a goal worthy of winning a game for any side
Ozil (7) threaded his neat passes all game long and added an assist as an icing on the cake.
Cazorla (8) scored a wonderful goal that showed off his amazing technique.
Rosicky (8) worked extremely hard for his team with his pressing play and he was hugely involved in instigating attacks from midfield
Giroud (7) showed his great work ethic as he linked up play superbly, bringing his teammates into the game.
Arsenal’s win over Liverpool coupled with Chelsea’s stumble at St. James Park has seen the Gunners go five points clear at the top of the table.
I’ll end today’s post with a tweet from Mesut Ozil.
@MesutOzil1088: That was Football in formula 1 speed. It’s wonderful to be a gunner. Thanks all.”
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