Other than missing too many golden opportunities to score and the mass confusion at the back which gifted Liverpool an equaliser, I thought Arsenal were superb.
The football pundits, writers, you name it – they will all try and tell us that Liverpool were poor but even if they were, that was because they couldn’t cope with the way we played. We started fast, ended fast and didn’t give in or up at any stage in between. Every ball was chased down, every needed challenge was made and even after gifting them a goal, no one stopped believing. Gabriel roared ‘f*****g h**l’ after his touch helped the ball over the line but after the break, we went again. Liverpool had a few better moments early in the second half but nothing came of it. Arsenal were too good.
The Emirates faithful were brilliant. North London Forever was loud, very loud and if the fans dared to go quiet, one or more of the players asked for support – they got it. Up went the noise level time and time again.
When the Arsenal team was announced, I’m sure groans could be heard somewhere. Jorginho, against Liverpool? Why? 97 minutes later, the answer was clear. He’d been brilliant. His experience and calmness shone from start to finish. Alongside him, Declan Rice was also brilliant. Jakub Kiwior on for Oleksandr Zinchenko? No problem. Reiss Nelson replacing Bukayo Saka? No drama and Leandro Trossard replacing the brilliant Gabriel Martinelli? Perfect result. The changes Mikel Arteta made worked really well.
Our first chance came after David Raya found Gabriel Martinelli with a quick throw – Konate tried to stop him, but failed. The Brazilian whipped in a cross but Bukayo Saka couldn’t get a good connection with his header. Wide it went. However, a minute later, Saka was in the action again only this time, he buried his chance. Martin Odegaard had played a lovely ball through to Havertz but when it came to his shot, he hit it straight at Alisson – The Liverpool keeper couldn’t stop the ball falling at the feet of Saka though.
Just before half time, Liverpool equalised but the less said about that the better. My take on it was Saliba was trying to shield the ball so Raya could smothered it. He didn’t, and the rest as they say is history.
As said, after the break, Liverpool were brighter but even so, they barely tested Raya. Then came the best of cockups. Van Dijk and Martinelli went after a long ball played by Gabriel – Alisson got in on the action too but both he and van Dijk missed the ball which then landed nicely for Martinelli to tuck home into an empty net. Hilarious! Both Martinelli and Kiwior spurned golden opportunities to extend our lead but it was Leandro Trossard who made sure Liverpool were not only down, but out of this game.
Konate had not long received his second booking of the game for clattering into Havertz when Trossard dropped deep, picked up a loose ball and then ran with it. And ran – there was no stopping him. His shot was hard, it took a slight deflection and Alisson was beaten through his legs. Brilliant.
Mikel Arteta ended his post match press conference by talking about his celebrations on the touchline following Leandro Trossard’s late goal that sealed the win, at the start of seven minutes’ injury-time.
You can see that I can still sprint! I realise I was going to get booked so I started to turn around immediately because I want to be next to the team. It was an incredible game, one that I will remember especially for the way it happened and for the emotions that we felt during the game. I’m going to have a beautiful dinner tonight.
I strongly suspect that Mikel Arteta wasn’t the only one going bonkers as the third goal went in. I know I was. This win was massive, what’s known as a six pointer and it was Arsenal with the points in the bag.
Now we move on to West Ham. We owe them a spanking…
Catch up in the comments.