Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: That’s What Champions are Made of
Final Result: Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool (Martinelli 1′, Saka 45′, 76′ (pk) | (Nunez 34′, Firmino 53′))
Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Partey, Xhaka; Saka (Vieira 90′), Odegaard (Tierney 82′), Martinelli; Jesus (Nketiah 90′)
The atmosphere was electric ahead of what was going to be an all-important clash against Liverpool, a team that has been a constant thorn in Arsenal’s flesh in recent seasons. Jurgen Klopp’s men also had a very decent record at the Emirates and despite their indifferent form, they felt they’d get an edge over Mikel Arteta’s young Guns.
Arsenal came out all guns blazing as early as the first minute, with Bukayo Saka launching an attack from the right hand side, feeding Martin Odegaard that sighted an onrushing Gabriel Martinelli before threading the ball in behind the Liverpool defense. The Brazilian winger hit the ball first time and the Gunners were ahead with the fans still trying to settle into the game.
That set the tone for what proved to be a pulsating encounter. Most of the lads in the starting lineup got deserved rest by not featuring in the convincing win over Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday, so the expectation was for the lads to step up their game against a worthy adversary in the form of Liverpool. As you’d expect from a top side, the visitors punished the home side after some comical defending from Gabriel Magalhaes allowed Luis Diaz to tee up Darwin Nunez that dispatched the ball past Ramsdale’s near post. It was certainly against the run of play and Liverpool didn’t care.
However, the Gunners took the lead heading into the break when the brilliant Martinelli ran Jordon Henderson ragged before finding Saka on the back post for a sliding finish. The atmosphere was fantastic and the manager touched on it in his post-match press conference.
“I’ve never seen it like this, you cannot imagine how much it helps the players, how much belief it gives, how much confidence, and support. It’s one of the nicest things we’ve done since we are together here, to unite everybody and feel like you go here and you’re going to have some experience and it’s great”
Despite the feel good factor at the Emirates, Liverpool leveled the contest yet again when Diogo Jota located Bobby Firmino in behind the Arsenal defense and the silky Brazilian placed the ball past Ramsdale. With the game delicately poised at 2-2, the next goal was going to be a potential clincher and it arrived when Thiago Alcantara was adjudged to have tackled Gabriel Jesus in the box, forcing Michael Oliver to point to the spot. Saka stepped up for the high-pressure penalty and slotted it past Alisson Becker to make it 3-2.
What ensued afterwards was amazing game management from the lads and the gaffer did his own bit with some substitutions that knocked the wind off Liverpool’s sails. The ref’s whistle sent the Emirates to raptures and it was evident to see what the victory meant to the lads. With each passing win, the confidence level of these lads keeps sky rocketing but I was pleased to see Martinelli speaking about the players keeping their feet on the ground.
The mentality of the team a whole lot different from other seasons and the quality cannot be doubted as well. The recent acquisitions have been inspired and this team has a lot of potential to go all the way. Some would call it early days, but what is important is that Arsenal are currently playing like title contenders, wining convincingly in some games and grinding out wins in others.
That’s what champions are made of.
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