2-0 up and cruising. Alexander-Arnold and Xhaka have a tussle, foreheads locked and both get booked. The Anfield fans, previously silenced by Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus, woke up. Suddenly, there was passion coming from the stands which the home team fed off and from then on, either side could have taken maximum points. Salah missed a penalty, harshly awarded I thought as Jota initiated the contact, scored one and then Zinchenko let Alexander-Arnold by him before his cross found the head of Firmino for the equaliser.
What more is there to say really other than it feels like two points dropped. Liverpool fans will probably feel the same though because had it not been for Aaron Ramsdale, they’d have won. That’s football though, if a team doesn’t take its chances, it doesn’t win. Arsenal had enough opportunities to win the game too. One point from Anfield is better than none.
After the game, Mikel Arteta spoke to Sky Sports:
Wow. A really intense game. We started brilliantly, controlled the game and scored the first goal, and the second goal was a beautiful action. The game was under control until we conceded a really sloppy goal. Then the game changed momentum. We lost control after half time, lost far too many simple balls and it became a very open and chaotic game which they love. They could have scored three or four, missed a penalty and Aaron (Ramsdale) made a couple of great saves. But we had some big breakaways and could have scored two or three. In the end, the result is fair.The lesson is from the first 35 minutes and how we played coming to a ground like this and what we did. But we have to continue to do this regardless of the crowd and the result to go and look for a third and fourth goal.
I’m sure there was many an Arsenal fan wondering why Mikel Arteta didn’t make changes sooner than he did and why Jakub Kiwior came on when perhaps Jorginho was a better option if we were trying to protect our one goal advantage, but in the end, the reason we dropped points was down to human error rather than the changes. Xhaka has been excellent this season but yesterday, he showed his weakness and in my opinion, that was the turning point.
Another thing I didn’t like seeing was the time wasting by Arsenal players. I know other clubs do it each week but I always believed we were better than that. I don’t like Paul Tierney either because even without my Arsenal goggles on, it was obvious who he wanted to win the game and it certainly wasn’t the club from north London.
The race for the Premier League title isn’t over yet. Yes, one would have to say Man City are favourites but then I’ve always thought they were because their fixture list, on paper at least, is easier than ours. They have a lot more fixtures to negotiate but they’ve hit a purple patch at just the right time.
I read that the League title is now City’s to lose but that’s not quite true because we’re still six points ahead of them with eight games to play. Anything could happen yet.
Catch up in the comments.
Thank Rico your awesome piece as usual. I sincerely feel that this is 2 points lost, based on how dominated and had silenced them up until Salah’s goal. However, it’s not over yet. However I wouldn’t attribute the “lose” to Xhaka’s behavior/reaction only. Yes, at his age, he should react better to challenges/ provocation. Arsenal’s seemingly inate inability to control matches is quite baffling in my opinion. I admire Zinchenko, but in his preoccupation with his “passing” midfield duties, he often gets caught out of position. In his error leading to their equalizer, he seemed tired and overwhelmed. Ramsdale saved a point for us. On the other hand, I can’t buy this narrative about how…”we shouldn’t have whipped up the crowd…”, is it not meant to be a man’s game?
Someone please don’t make us believe Arsenal should always play gentle to appease the crowd or whoever, remember this is a competition, contact sport, so controlled aggression should be part of the game. My biggest concern is the poor mentality of the team in times of adversity and sustained pressure, one can still see traces of the old Arsenal weakness, crumbling under pressure, the weird substitutions made it even worse!
Thanks Kyalo, we’ll have to agree to differ re Xhaka as well as the mentality of the team. This is still the same group of players who have got us where we are right now and I don’t think anyone has been questioning their mentality until now.
I see absolutely no comparison with this Arsenal and the one of old.
Good morning Rico, just back from a very wet dog walk, rain pouring down, even the dog was relived to get home. I’ll have a coffee and the come back with some thoughts on yesterday’s game.
All dried out and back again.
After such a brilliant start it was galling to watch such an opportunity to roll Liverpool over thrown away. Sadly I have to agree with much of the media that Xhaka’s moment of madness was the turning point, it energised not just the fans, but the whole Liverpool team.
We have seen it before, when we need to break up the play in order to safeguard a lead we tend to drop back closer and closer to our own goal line at which time our defence drops into disarray. Wild clearances mean the ball just keeps on returning, our midfield becomes part of the problem rather than the solution and our strikers are left with no support and, consequently, there is very little chance of breakaways being successful.
I think Arteta should have taken Jesus off earlier and replaced him with Jorginho in order to shore up the midfield which was being overrun.
I know you won’t agree with me Rico, but time wasting at throw-ins etc. and breaking up the flow of the game with prolonged on-field treatment of injuries is a necessary part of he modern game.
All in all, let’s not forget that we came away from a very difficult venue with a valuable point and, as far as I could tell, no significant injuries.
We now have a full week for recovery and reflection before a less daunting trip to Stratford next Sunday
@Rico, let me leave Xhaka’s issue aside. Also, I am not taking anything from the team’s remarkable growth trajectory, the transformation under Arteta is clear for all to see, however one of the key growth parameters is the ability to soak in sustained pressure and such hostility in an away ground and come out unscathed. Yesterday the team did indeed past some of that test, however due, it was solely or more so largely due to the keeper’s heroics in goal, and if his showing doesn’t inspire the team in the rest of the title run-in, i don’t know what else will. Again, based on the 1st half’s showing, 2 points dropped, but on the second half, a point rescued, which could still proof season defining in the end. That said, One could still argue that the relative age of the team and inexperience is a key reason.
Good afternoon Rico and all.
I’m a bit perplexed why everybody thinks yesterdays result was such a disaster. I agree it’s frustrating we gave away a 2 goal lead but crikey. Liverpool just don’t lose at home, and they played very very well in the second half.
I agree with you Rico about the time wasting, it’s annoying and often can come and bite you on the bum.
It is odd how we can be so dominant in one half and then kind of stop playing our game in the other.
As for Xhaka, yeah he was a bit stupid, but hopefully it’s another wake up call for him.
Sorry , going on from the time wasting issue …..Why chance getting a booking for something so stupid ?
Hi Cicero, agree re the time wasting but I prefer not to see it, especially when it’s so obvious.
But Kyalo, does it matter who the hero is? It’s a team game after all. How many times this season has de Gea spared Utd?
It’s easy to make suggestions after a game but what intrigues me more than who Mikel Arteta brought on was why? There must be a reason he opted for Kiwior..
Me, I’d have have Xhaka off at half-time for Trossard but hey, what do I know. 😂
Hi Mike, in the end, the point was a good one but I think the disappointment stems from being in such a good position to then draw. Keeping my fingers crossed City drop a few points…
@Rico, quite disappointing to lose 2 points, however I 💯 agree, that everyone in this team is, and has been a hero, and Ramsdale ranks high for this game and various others played before. Arteta’s project project had produced some of the most wonderful football display and results with amazing consistency. That said, it is easy to forget that this project is still in its early stages.
In my humble opinion, it came down to team management. Regardless of the Xhaka moment, as intensive as the game was, not only were the players physically fatigued, but also mentally.
Arteta waited too long to sub. Notice how Klopp used his subs as compared to Arteta. Furthermore, notice how Arteta deviated from subbing yesterday as compared to the season, especially when players on yellow cards. Zinchenko mistake was due to mental fatigue which is a by-product of physical fatigue. They give it away yesterday but it started with game management.
Reading through the various sites it seems that people seem to have their pre determined scapegoats in their sights .
There’s the Holding should never be a the club lot blaming him for giving away a soft penalty that should never have been given . The Scots / Irish opinion that Tierney should play instead of Zinchenko or the Ukranian should play midfield instead of Xhaka to squeeze Tierney in . And the why buy Kiwior if your not going to use him set . Today I read that it’s Arteta’s fault for not using Jorginho .
There seems to be a large degree of wailing and tooth gnashing over a result that was on the cards at the outset .
I am sure that there will be more twists and turns to come , I don’t think that it’s foregone that City wont drop any more points . Their run in has it’s own pitfalls , they have 3 more games to play than us one of those in Munich .
Lets see where they are after their home and away with Bayern .
It’s not time to slit our wrists just yet .
Morning Rico and all, just watched the replay after going 4wd in the Vic high country for 4 days,
great start but faded in the second half, I am a fan of Xhaka, and we all know he can fire up and do stupid things its part of his game. After getting the yellow card Arteta should have taken him off and brought on Trossard,
Although in a small way Xhaka help to wake the Liverpool fans up, if we had gone in 2 up at half time maybe Klopp would have changed his team around to try and stop the flow of goals, but I believe Mo Salah goal was the main reason why Liverpool fans and player lifted.
Ramsdale was my player of the match, even though he got a stupid yellow card.
Not sure about Holding a soft penalty to give away.
As for the result I have mixed feelings, my heart says a draw at Liverpool is still a good result, but my mind is pissed off that we let a 2 goal lead go.
Hopefully we can beat or at least draw our game against Man city. Title still not lost after all Man City still have a lot to play for and could easily drop a match or two.
Excellent comment Potter.
If only football was played with the benefit of hindsight.
Morning Geoff, all.
Morning Rico and all. Well to me it’s avoiding defeat at Anfield for this young team. Whoever fore concluded that City will win all their remaining matches is delusional. They wouldn’t be chasing from behind if their might had been consistent all season. Let is focus on our remaining games and banana skin for city is right ahead
Morning Fatgun, I think City could slip up yet. Imo, we could do with them trailing from the first leg against Bayern so in the second leg, Pep can’t afford to rest his players.
How spooky. I was listening to Paul Ince this morning after yet another Reading loss and thought, ‘just sack him’ – he’s now been sacked. 😄
Hopefully a new manager bounce will keep them safe.
I forgot Sheffield United as well makes 4 more games than us . Plenty pf time for them to slip up .
The Liverpool first goal came less than 40 seconds after the Xhaka incident and I think it was a cheap goal to give away,piss poor defending. Imo with Liverpool now chasing the equalizer that’s what lifted the crowd
The late changes for the Arsenal v Chelsea match are becoming a headache, again it seems the fans that have purchased tickets in good faith, have no say in it.
Does anyone know why the match is getting changed, in OZ, one paper says the police are not happy about the start time, while another claims it’s being moved for the reserves FA cup round.
Geoff, according to the Arsenal website, the Metropolitan police requested the change of date and the Premier League agreed the change to Tuesday evening. No reason for the change was given.
Something to do with preparation for the coronation.2 nd time the royals have messed things up this season
I assumed it was because of the Brentford game at 3pm and having a lot of fans around at the same time. Especially as Brentford look likely to finish above Chelsea. Lol
New post up now