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Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool: That’s What Champions are Made of

Saka's goals keep Arsenal top of Premier League in win over Liverpool

Match Report – Match Highlights  Post-Match Press Conference

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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Watford 3-0 Liverpool: There’s Only One Invincible

Image result for sarr liverpool goal

26 wins, 12 draws, immortality. This record stood proud for the best part of 16 years (yes, it’s that long since we won the league) and it was heavily threatened by Jurgen Klopp and his rampant Liverpool side.

To be fair, it seemed really likely for the Merseyside outfit to break the unbeaten record with the ruthless way they went about playing their football. There were games where Liverpool’s sheer quality was more than enough to see them gain maximum points while there were other games when they had a bit of lady luck on their side with enough in the tank to see them through. 

Coming into the game at Vicarage Road, the league leaders were in their usual bullish confident mode, thinking that the quality of their prolific striking trio, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were going to do the damage. In the first half, there were half chances for both sides, but Watford seemed likelier to score and that duly happened when Ismaila Sarr reacted quicker than Andrew Robertson to nick it past Alisson Becker in goal. Alisson has had an exemplary clean sheet record this season, so you could understand the sheer elation the Watford fans felt when Sarr opened the scoring. The Senegalese starlet doubled his money when he latched onto Troy Deeney’s through bal in behind the defense and chipped it past Alisson to send Vicarage Road into raptures. Two goals became three when Sarr turned from scorer to provider with the forward receiving a gift of a pass from the usually reliable Trent Alexander-Arnold and cushioning it for Deeney that fired the ball into an unguarded net.

This sensational defeat to Watford saw Liverpool go unbeaten for 44 games in the Premier League stretching back to January 2019 when they lost that crucial title decider to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Fans were hopeful, lemme rephrase, Arsenal fans remained hopeful that Liverpool was going to lose a match this season, and the game against Manchester City was earmarked as that game, which coincidentally was the 49th game. Survive that fixture and Arsenal’s eternal 49-game unbeaten record was going up in flames.

So here we stand, the morning after, still mourning the Europa League heartbreak on Thursday night, but are filled with joy with the prospect of Liverpool finishing the campaign with their unbeaten record dead and gone. I don’t know or care how they react to this defeat, as my affiliations will always be with Arsenal football club.

Here’s a shout to Ismaila Sarr and Troy “Cojones” Deeney, for ensuring that Liverpool’s Premier League trophy won’t be made of gold. 

That’s simply because, there will only be one invincible.

Sayonara

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Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal: Gunners Implode Against Make Shift Merseyside Outfit

Image result for martinelli liverpool

Match Report Match Highlights Post-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

If you were a neutral fan, you might have enjoyed the great football on display from two fearless sides that had nothing to lose really. Jurgen Klopp made his intentions known with the lineup he fielded – loads of unknowns with only Divock Origi, James Milner, Naby Keita and ex-Gunner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being the only reputable names. In all fairness, the Gunners had a better squad on paper and these are lads that have played together in the previous rounds of the Carabao Cup as well as the Europa League group stages.

However, the Gunners started the game on the back foot when Neco Williams cross was deflected into his own goal by Skhodran Mustafi. The German has been a much maligned figure and was shown the door this summer but he has somewhat revamped himself playing alongside Rob Holding this season, so conceding an own goal brought the ghosts back and fans were having a field day on it. The Gunners didn’t allow that setback deter them as they waltzed forward with some good attacking play. The away side got their reward when Mesut Ozil showed some great composure to tee up Bukayo Saka but the winger’s shot was very tame.

Luckily Caoimhin Kelleher had a bit of the Flappyhandski Syndrome which allowed the ball to get into Lucas Torreira’s path and the diminutive Uruguayan tucked the ball home. Replays showed that Torreira was offside but with no VAR, Arsenal got away scot free. Just five minutes after the restart, the Gunners went 2-1 up following some good work from Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the right hand side with the Brazilian predator, Gabriel Martinelli, smashing the ball in from point blank range. That was his sixth goal in seven starts for the Gunners and I must say, he has been a gem of a player. Martinelli doubled his money when Ozil and Saka latched onto a defensive error from Williams before Saka provided a cut back that was blasted home by Martinelli.

As if we hasn’t seen anything from such a topsy-turvy game, a little bit of karma was on show when the youngest player on the pitch, Harvey Elliot, conned the ref with a nice dive when Martinelli stuck out a foot in the penalty box. Milner wasn’t going to miss and he sent Emi Martinez the wrong way to make it 3-2 just before the break. Milner then had a moment to forget early in the second half when his back pass to his goalie was anticipated by Maitland-Niles but the ball was about to leave the pitch when Ozil showed great presence of mind to tuck it back into play which allowed AMN blast the ball home.

4-2 and everything was looking good but with Arsenal, you just can’t tell. With the ball at the edge of the Arsenal box, Maitland-Niles showed his lack of concentration that allowed the Ox to nick the ball off him and smash in a piledriver that offered a glimmer of hope to the home side. 4-3 became 4-4 minutes later when Origi received the ball from Jones, who was gifted by Torreira, shimmied past his marker and fired a shot that Martinez palmed into the net. I expected the goalie to catch that but hey, that’s football. Emery decided to take off Ozil for Matteo Guendouzi much to the surprise of the Arsenal faithful but he confirmed after the game that it was agreed between both parties that Ozil would play for a specific amount of time.

As if we hadn’t seen enough madness for one night, Joe Willock, that had been somewhat peripheral all game burst into life and blasted a rocket of a shot that breezed past Kelleher to make it 5-4. It was clear that both sides weren’t ready to defend, so Emery obliged us by taking out Torreira for Dani Ceballos, which was another tactical move that got me confused. The fact that we had no more protection in front of the defense wasn’t bad enough, but Ceballos went on to have a stinker and lost the decisive penalty that saw his team eliminated. It wouldn’t have gotten to that if the Gunners just did their jobs and defended, which makes me loathe the final moments of the game that saw Liverpool get yet another equalizer. Saka for the life of me saw Williams on the byline and watched him as he floated a cross into the area. Guendouzi misjudged the flight of the ball and it crept above him before reaching Origi’s foot. Mustafi just stood still and also blocked his goalkeeper and with Martinez blindsided, the only outcome was a goal.

Sadly, it seems that Arsenal doesn’t do any goalkeeping training on penalties, as Martinez offered nothing from the spot kicks and the Gunners lost the contest via the lotteries of penalties. There are some positives we can latch onto like Ozil’s quality that was always glaring from the start, which makes the decision not to play him really stupid. Then there were the Gabriel Martinelli goals (seven goals in eight starts) that are hugely encouraging. I really wanted the Gunners to go all the way in this competition because it offered a good breeding ground for Martinelli and the other youngsters, so with the team eliminated, they will need to stick to just the Europa League for consistent game time, or maybe the FA Cup from January. However, we can’t shy away from the negatives – defending has been such a problem for the team this season and it was on show yet again against a weakened Liverpool side. Emery needs to sort this mess out as we are going to play more games in the course of the season and the defense will be under scrutiny.

All plans will move to the game against Wolves and that’s one we need to win as we are drifting away from the Champions League places.

Sayonara

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