Any Positives from Arsenal’s Draw with Liverpool?
The lads had taken a couple days off and even had a Christmas party. Arsenal was on the end of two consecutive 4-1 victories and all was well. It was even better with the fact that the goalscoring burden had been lifted off Alexis Sanchez and it was good seeing other players join the goalscoring party. Since the Chilean’s last-gasp winner against Southampton, the Gunners have played four games, and even if he hasn’t scored in three, he was largely instrumental in the thrashing of Newcastle.
So, the Gunners came to Anfield, a ground they were heavily pummeled last season and many felt that the game was another test to show their mettle and with the kind of form they were entering the game with, we expected the home team to get a run for their money. Little did we know that we were going to witness another shitfest from Arsene Wenger’s side.
Right from the onset, Liverpool were on the ascendancy and yet again, Calum Chamber’s frailties were left exposed. There was no organization as well as cohesion. The Gunners made a distinctly average Liverpool side look like they were some galacticos or something. The Reds launched waves and waves of attack on the Gunners, laying siege to their rearguard but somehow, that goal they thoroughly deserved didn’t arrive. At some point, the commentator expressed his concerns when the possession stats read Liverpool 80% to Arsenal’s 20%. There was an air of inevitability about Liverpool getting the opening goal but it was saddening to know that it was due to Arsenal’s sloppiness in possession (Giroud gave the ball away cheaply) that resulted in the opening. Matt Debuchy showed great determination to nod the equalizer and when Giroud scored the second goal, many Arsenal fans knew that it was against the run of play but they didn’t care.
Then a Liverpool player gets sent off with minutes to spare yet the Gunners couldn’t rally themselves to hold on. The zonal marking strategy has been widely criticized but seeing Martin Skrtel get that much space was downright shocking. For some reason, that draw felt like a loss but on a rather positive note, the Gunners picked up a point from the same venue they were thrashed resoundingly last season.
Were there any other positives from the rather disappointing draw at Anfield? I’d say yes!
What could I say about Wojciech Szczesny’s performance on the day? Absolutely brilliant. Had Szczesny not made those magnificent saves in the course of the game, it would have been a massacre. He made himself big to stop Markovic’s effort at his near post, some Raheem Sterling chances, some long-range drives from Steven Gerrard and that goal-bound Fabio Borini header. Yes, he was rather static for both goals conceded but what was the defense in front of him doing? Szczesny has notched up just three clean sheets this season (Aston Villa (away), Burnley (home), Sunderland (away) and he’d be hoping to add up to that tally but Arsene Wenger has to sort out his team’s glaring defensive issues.
Santi Cazorla is another player that has hit top gear in recent weeks after he broke his long-standing duck with a penalty against Stoke. He followed it up with a brace against Newcastle. He continued that good form with a neat assist for Giroud in the second half but his all-round performance was awesome. His close control was perfect and his linkup play was superb. With QPR coming up next, one can hope he continues the great run of form.
Besides Szczesny and Cazorla’s performances, are there any other positives taken from the match?
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