Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1: Sweet Revenge…Where it Mattered
With the Gunners suffering a drubbing in the hands of yesterday’s opponents a week ago, there was an air of caution at the Emirates. With half an eye on the crunch Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, Arsene Wenger made a couple of changes to the squad with Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Flamini, Lukas Podolski and to everyone’s surprise, Yaya Sanogo getting a run out.
Liverpool were the quickest off the blocks with Steven Gerrard feeding Daniel Sturridge on the edge of the area. The English forward blasted a one-timed shot that was saved by Fabianski. Luis Suarez chipped a delicate ball to Sturridge’s path and the striker skipped past Fabianski but his shot hit the side netting.
Shortly after Monreal got himself booker for a nasty challenge on Joe Allen, Sanogo and the Ox combined superbly on the right flank but the ball ran out of the line before the Ox could cross it into the danger area. Arsenal’s first meaningful attack arrived when Per Mertesacker flicked a corner with a looping header but Brad Jones was on hand to tip it over the bar.
Arsenal’s breakthrough arrived when Mikel Arteta’s cross was deflected into Sanogo’s path. The French striker blasted the ball on Daniel Agger’s back before the Ox reacted the quickest to place the ball past Jones.
Raheem Sterling skipped past Jenkinson on the right and bore down on goal but his shot slammed the side netting. Arsenal swiftly launched a counter attack but Podolski sliced his effort wide. Ozil instigated another attacking move with a lovely pass to Podolski but with Sanogo in acres of space, Poldi’s cross was rather erratic.
Luis Suarez got on the end of a long ball and blasted a first-timed shot that was saved by Fabianski. In the start of the second half, Suarez had another chance that was saved by the Flying Fab. With Liverpool failing to take the initiative, Arsenal launched a counter attack and when the Ox cut the ball into the danger area, Podolski reacted first to blast the ball past Jones.
With Suarez missing yet another chance, Arsenal almost made their lead more comfortable when Ozil blasted a goal bound effort that was failed superbly by Jones. Suarez won a penalty for his side after he was brought down courtesy of a clumsy challenge by Podolski. Gerrard sent Fabianski the wrong way to break Arsenal’s long standing clean sheet record at the Emirates.
Suarez was blatantly fouled by the Ox afterwards but Liverpool’s appeals fell on deaf ears. Arsene Wenger brought on Santi Cazorla for Podolski and he was gifted a chance by Martin Skrtel but he blasted his shot over the bar.
Kieran Gibbs came on for the Ox to add some defensive stability but an error from Laurent Koscielny allowed Liverpool a foray at Arsenal’s goal but Suarez’ shot was saved by Fabianski. After a couple of half chances from Liverpool, Wenger brought on Giroud to replace Sanogo.
Late on, there was a comical moment when Fabianski attempted to waste some time by tying his shoelaces but Sturridge did him the honors and told him to get on with the game.
The ref’s whistle was last music to the ears of Arsenal fans as they have booked a place in the FA Cup quarterfinals against another Merseyside outfit, Everton.