So wasn’t it interesting and thoroughly entertaining to see two teams slogging it out to win!? Both teams setup to attack and left nothing out there. What I thought was very apparent was the need to win the ball back promptly (the Guardiola way) so the attacking players could do their do! Great to see Milner, Torriera, Wynaldum and Xhaka sticking their foot in and getting around the pitch. Milner is like a man possessed, one minute scoring next minute cleaned out on the floor! To be fair not sure what team won the midfield battle.
Liverpool settled well although Klopp still says that we didn’t press well enough! Liverpool kept the ball and seemed determined to break at pace. The Arsenal defence held their own but always looked susceptible to the quick movement of the front 3. Many a time the Arsenal team were retreating but seemed to soak up the pressure pretty well.
The mane goal should have stood admittedly but that was a tough call for any ref as initially he was offside. That said, Mika should have scored that header as he got above the keeper. So two big chances gone a miss.
The game wasn’t littered with chances and half time came at an ok team for both teams although as a Liverpool fan I always felt VVD and Gomez had the spades covered.
Talking of Van Dijk, Klopp obviously saw a weakness in the Arsenal back line that being height. VVD won most Ariel battles and too should scored a number of times. Arsenal centre backs played ok on the whole but they always looked weak in the air.
Laca as you guys call him was a constant threat all game, sharp movement, great first touch and a real eye for goal. The threat was increasing and whilst I never really saw Arsenal scoring Laca took that goal magnificently. Sharp movement, no back lift and a perfect shot in an acute angle.
For the last 20 minutes I still felt either team could score but felt confident Liverpool would get chances. No real clear cut guilt edge chances for the remaining of the game and to be fair draw was a fair result.
Arsenal are clearly improving, the style has changed and Emery has them playing without fear. He asks his big players to stand up and over the last 10 games they are obliging. For me, I don’t buy into the Xhaka hype, great left foot but doesn’t do enough and hasn’t justified his high promise before Arsenal bought him. The striking options will frighten most defences and Arsenal will now always create chances. Supported by fast wing backs and a magician in the middle the AubaCazette partnership will guarantee 30 goals a season. Encouraging. However Arsenal are fast approaching the same situation Liverpool faced 3 years ago – great going forward but very vulnerable at the back. Emery will need time but I would address the centre backs as both aren’t good enough for me and will ALWAYS give away chances especially against the top 6. Sort that out and add depth we’ll be looking at a top 4 challenger- hopefully toppling United along the way. Liverpool and Klopp on the other hand have adapted to the EPL and now can boast one of the strongest defences in the league with great balance. Both teams are similar, great attacking threats, promising managers but Liverpool’s edge is in the fact they have played together, their understand the managers demands and now have a solid defence. Arsenal don’t have this and this will take time. Good luck to Emery, he had shown promise now it’s all about building his own team and adapting to the different challenges each team faces. Good game, good teams- fair result.
By Dave – a visiting Liverpool supporter.