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Liverpool Salvage a Draw from the Jaws of Defeat

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen (second left) hauls his side level in the final minute of the game to earn his team a point against Arsenal

Liverpool 3 (Firmino 10′, 19′, Allen 90′) – Arsenal 3 (Ramsey 14′, Giroud 25′, 55′)

Match Report Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

It was going to be one of those nights when the atmosphere was going to dictate the proceedings on the pitch. Anfield is a difficult ground to come to and despite Arsenal’s impressive record against Liverpool in recent times, this game was going to be another test of the team’s title credentials. Much was made about Liverpool’s fitness issues but Arsenal had their own injury problems they have been contending with, so in my opinion, it wasn’t enough and I braced myself for a good game of football.

The home side opened the scoring after some poor defending and I must say, questionable goalkeeping from the legendary Petr Cech. The Czech goalkeeper parried a shot straight at Roberto Firmino’s path. The Brazilian’s shot left the goalie flat-footed and put the home side ahead. Arsenal weren’t downcast after conceding so early and they equalized when Aaron Ramsey reacted quickly to a cushioned Joel Campbell pass to blast the ball past Simon Mignolet.

Both teams continued to attack each other and Liverpool went ahead again when Firmino curled the ball from the edge of the area giving Cech no chance. The Gunners leveled the contest again when Olivier Giroud attacked the ball on the near post and it went between Mignolet’s legs to make it 2-2. Just before halftime, Arsenal hit Liverpool on the break with Campell feeding Theo Walcott in behind the defense. Walcott sent an inch-perfect pass to Giroud and all he had to do was tap the ball in but this happened…

Giroud  missed an excellent opportunity to give Arsenal the lead for the first time in the first half, failing to convert from inside six yards

One of the most shocking misses you’d ever see. It probably up there with Gervinho’s miss against Bradford, Robin van Persie’s miss against Sevilla, Tomas Rosicky’s miss against CSKA and Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s miss against South Korea.

Going into the break at 2-2, Arsenal fans kept half an eye on the proceedings at the Etihad Stadium and White Hart Lane. Eventually, Manchester City had a goalless stalemate with Everton while Leicester surprisingly grabbed all three points against Tottenham.

Going into the second half, Arsenal attacked with incisiveness and got the goal their play diserved when Giroud latched onto a loose ball before volleying on the turn. For all the criticism he has received from his own fans and media alike, Giroud has been shutting people up with some virtuoso performances. That was also his 18 goal of the season, just four below his personal best of 22 for the club. At this rate, you can bet your smart money that he could hit the 30-goal mark if he stays fit.

Players got tired with the constant collective defending so change was inevitable. Kieran Gibbs replaced the ineffectual Walcott while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced the hardworking Campbell. These players were tasked with protecting their fullbacks and while Gibbs did his bit to offer some help to Nacho Monreal that was getting torn apart by Jordon Ibe and Nathaniel Clyne. The Ox didn’t offer much aid to Hector Bellerin.

With Liverpool pressing for the equalizer, they were bound to leave spaces at the back and Arsenal had the opportunity to instigate a counter attack that fell to the Ox’s path. All he had to do was to send a cross field ball to the left hand side of the pitch and Arsenal might have just been home and dry to make it 4-2, but no, the dullard chose to dally some more on the ball and as expected, he lost possession to the opposition. Moments like that define games and with more torrid performances, Chamberlain is showing that he cannot be trusted to stake a claim for a starting berth.

With barely seconds to go, the sucker punch happened. Christian Benteke hurled the ball into the danger area and the Welsh Pirlo, Joe Allen, fired a shot that Cech couldn’t parry to salvage a draw for the hosts. 3-3. Sadness, despair, anguish, rage… all sorts of negative emotions filled me up and I’m sure every other Arsenal fan felt the same way.

The manager was frustrated from his post-match conference but while a draw feels so bad, it was a fair reflection of the game but Arsenal would have made a very huge statement if they had won at Anfield. But here we are, level on points with that Leicester that is becoming a thorn.

We play Stoke in the weekend.

Till then, let’s wait for some good news on Elneny. The manager is hopeful that he could be in the matchday squad that would travel to the Britannia.

Sayonara.

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Nacho Monreal Signs New Deal + Liverpool Preview

Yesterday’s pulsating encounter between Newcastle and Manchester United was a spectacle that makes the Premier League one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting club football competition in the world. With Manchester United grabbing a comfortable two goal lead, Newcastle fought back to equalize and many teams would have been deflated when the visitors scored a third late on but they salvaged a draw from the jaws of defeat when Paul Dummett of all people, blasted a shot that ricocheted off Chris Smalling before breezing past David de Gea.

Elsewhere, Dimitri Payet marked his return to the West Ham starting XI with a brilliant free kick that leveled the contest against Bournemouth. If you thought Payet’s free kick was good, you need to take a look at this beauty from Enner Valencia. There was also a long overdue win for Aston Villa, as Joleon Lescott’s strike was enough to grant Remi Garde his first win as Villa boss.

Tonight, there will be seven more matches to be played and my focus will obviously be on the Liverpool vs Arsenal game. When both sides met at the Emirates, it ended as a goalless stalemate but it was end to end football from start to finish. This will be Liverpool’s fourth fixture in just 12 days and the team would have to adjust to the rigors of playing in several competitions. The corresponding fixture at Anfield saw Liverpool leave it late to get an equalizer from Martin Skrtel.

Arsenal Team News

Arsene Wenger has already confirmed that availability of Tomas Rosicky but he still has doubts about the fitness of David Ospina and Alexis Sanchez.

It has been reported that Nacho Monreal has signed a new deal that will keep him at the club till 2019.  His contract was due to expire at the end of next season but he has grown in importance to become an indispensable member of the squad, usurping Kieran Gibbs in making the left back position his own. Arsene Wenger also had some nice words for the Spaniard that has notches up 111 appearances for the club,

“He is not necessarily my first-choice left-back. At the moment he plays more than Kieran Gibbs but I think I’m a bit spoilt there because Gibbs has come back and has shown again on Saturday [that he plays] at a very, very strong level.

“That makes my decisions at that level very difficult but overall Nacho Monreal has been absolutely outstanding.”

Wenger…you diplomat!

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Jack Wilshere (ankle), Danny Welbeck (knee), Francis Coquelin (knee), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), Santi Cazorla (knee), David Ospina (groin)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Liverpool Team News

Jurgen Kloop has seen that the Premier League is not easy ride with the manager having his good bad and ugly moments as Liverpool’s boss. However, his team has been hit with an injury crisis  and he went as far as recalling some players out on loan to feature in the FA Cup draw with Exeter last week Saturday. I wonder why his players have been having so many hamstring injuries though.., his training routines maybe?

The club recently signed Stephen Caulker on loan from QPR and he’s odds on to start tonight thanks to the paucity of options for Klopp.

Liverpool Injury / Suspension News

Martin Skrtel (hamstring), Dejan Lovren (hamstring), Mamadou Sakho (knee), Joseph Gomez (knee), Phillippe Coutinho (hamstring), Jordon Henderson (heel), Jordan Rossiter (hamstring), Danny Ings (knee), Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), Divock Origi (knee), Kolo Toure (doubtful – knock), Jon Flanagan (lacking match fitness)

Liverpool Predicted Lineup

Liverpool 4-2-3-1 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W L W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 3 (Campbell 26′, Ramsey 72′, Giroud 76′) – Sunderland 1 (Lens 17′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud (16)

Liverpool

  • Last Five Games: L W W L D
  • Last Result: Exeter 2 (Nichols 9′, Holmes 45′)– Liverpool 2 (Sinclair 12′, Smith 73′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Christian Benteke (7)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 1 win.

Sayonara.

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Thoughts on Weekend’s Premier League Action + Liverpool Preview

The way the weekend waltzed past me was so surprising and I didn’t even get to publish any post. In all honesty, not much was happening from an Arsenal perspective with we the Gooners turning into neutrals while watching other teams play.

Tim Krul put up some goalkeeping heroics at Old Trafford and I was happy to know that it’s not only Arsenal that makes some opposition goalkeepers look like Manuel Neuer. For all Wayne Rooney’s chatter about coming back to his best soon, he was shite as they come as he failed to find the back of the net yet again.

Then there was the usual flurry of 3.00pm fixtures and I focused on the Leicester vs Tottenham game. The game didn’t quite live up to the billing but Riyad Mahrez continued his hot streak with another brilliant goal, cancelling Dele Alli’s initial effort that gave Spurs the lead. Crystal Palace continued their good form under Alan Pardew to see off Aston Villa, Norwich and Stoke shared the spoils, Sunderland managed to halt their losing rot with a draw against Swansea and it was goals galore when West Ham lost at home to Bournemouth. For a team that had not scored a goal in their first two Premier League games, scoring four (with Callum Wilson scoring a hat-trick) was no easy feat.

Sunday had its fair share of drama with Chelsea managing to edge out West Brom. The Baggies had a golden opportunity to get an early lead but James Morrison managed to get two goals to his name. Pedro Rodriguez made his mark on the game with a goal and an assist which must have hurt a couple of Manchester United fans watching the game.

There was also an exciting fixture that came afterwards but Manchester City showed their superiority over Everton while Watford and Southampton ended their game in a goalless stalemate.

Tonight, the Gunners take on a Liverpool side that has began the season well with maximum points so far and it’s going to be interesting to see what Arsene Wenger does with his tactical setup. There are no new injuries to be worried about so I’d expect Wenger to feature the same squad that battled out a result against Crystal Palace.

Alexis Sanchez looked out of sorts in Selhurst Park but he still showed great determination to play a role in the winning goal. The team would be hoping that he brings his A-game tonight because it’s going to be an intense battle.

Last season, the Gunners ran out as 4-1 winners and we would be hoping for the same.

Sayonara