Gunners Smash the Reds as Hot Streak Continues
Arsenal 4 (Bellerin 37′, Ozil 40′, Alexis 45′, Giroud 90′) – Liverpool 1 (Henderson pen 76′)
The implications of the match were cast in stone, a win for the Gunners would surely put a massive dent on Liverpool’s Champions League qualification hopes and it would continue their hot run of form that has seen them win six on the trot. The visits had been in very good form till their defeat against Manchester United a fortnight ago and they were looking to bounce back from that disappointing outing.
Arsenal’s team selection was exactly as I predicted in the preview post and in my honest opinion, that’s Wenger’s strongest XI with maybe the exception of Mat Debuchy for Hector Bellerin but my oh my, that boy has been one of the revelations of the season. The guests were without the suspended duo of Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel but Danny Sturridge was fit enough for a place on the bench, which ultimately meant that Raheem Sterling was going to lead the line.
It was Sterling that would have opened the scoring if Lazar Markovic’s pass was a few inches closer. The Serb eased through the defense and set Sterling clean on goal but he couldn’t connect. Sterling had another chance when he dribbled past Koscielny and fired a shot that went wide of the mark.
The game had a dull outlook about it up unto Bellerin’s moment of magic towards the end of the half. The fullback cut inside the box and used his left foot to curl the ball past Simon Mignolet. So much for keeping six away clean sheets in a row. Shortly after that the Gunners had a free kick at the edge of the box. Up stepped Ozil to swing in a delicious curling drive past Mignolet. No, that wasn’t enough for the Wenger boys. Alexis received a pass and made an absolute fool out of Kolo Toure before blasting a piledriver past the hapless Mignolet.
Three goals in eight minutes. Utter destruction, Arsenal style.
Liverpool needed the ref’s halftime whistle to save them from their anguish and the poor ol’ ref heeded to their pleased.
Arsenal fans smiles turned to frowns with news that Koscielny had suffered a thigh injury, so he was replaced by Gabriel at half time. The visitors tried to make something out of the game with Emre Can side-footing a shot that was saved by David Ospina. However, they got a goal when Bellerin conceded a penalty. Ospina guessed the right way but Henderson’s low drive went past him.
Olivier Giroud was trying to get on the act following his recent interview where he stated that he’s on a competitive streak with Alexis. With the Chilean scoring in the first half, Ollie wanted to balance it out. He missed a ball from Cazorla and headed another wide. After Cazorla clipped the post and Emre Can suffered the ignominy of a red card, Giroud finally got his goal with a swerving shot from some distance that breezed past Mignolet.
4-1 to the Arsenal, the Premier League’s form team.
In the last 17 League matches or so, the Gunners have won 15 with the only blips in 2015 coming against Southampton at the start of the year and Tottenham. The only reason Arsenal is second in the log table is because of their shambolic form at the start of the season but in all honesty, this is championship winning form.
The positives in the game are countless but kudos to the lads for maintaining their focus after the international break. Burnley comes up next before taking on Reading in the cup.
I can’t wait for that.