Arsenal v Liverpool from a Pool Supporter’s Point of View


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.

18 thoughts on “Arsenal v Liverpool from a Pool Supporter’s Point of View

  • Dave, great stuff. Thank you for writing about the game from your Pool perspective. It is interesting that you write that you felt that Arsenal were not going to score for large parts of the games. It did indeed take a special individual moment to score. I reckon we, understandably given where Pool and Arsenal are in terms of their development, gave Pool too much respect upfront. We had enough decent chances to score before Lacazette finally did, but I reckon the players were a bit nervy when it came to taking a chance.

    But I reckon in terms of on-field football Arsenal did really well on Saturday, and during large parts of the game actually out-played Pool. That is what I really liked about the game from an Arsenal’s point of view. I have little doubt that Arsenal will finish below Pool this season and I agree that is because our defence is our weakest point. I hope you can get above Citeh this season but it will be really hard to do so.

  • Nice review, Dave and refreshing to get the view from an opposition fan’s perspective; expectedly, it’s a bit rose-tinted and perhaps, didn’t give enough credit to the Arsenal side’s display (even condescending at times, no offense intended). As a fan of an Arsenal side in transition, it is easier to have a more pragmatic take on the events of Saturday, methinks.

    Firstly, it would be hard to find one Arsenal fan out there who was going to begrudge the current Liverpool side their credit, if they had come to the Emirates to take the 3 points, simply because hardly any of us knew what Arsenal would turn up, as we are still learning about the new direction, together. One thing we knew though was that if the right Arsenal came out to play, we could more than match you, and that’s what we did. The stats show the midfield battle was won by Arsenal; you had 38% possession, for instance and as I pointed out in an earlier thread, not even City did that to you. Xhaka and Torreira completely bossed Fabiano and Wijnaldum, (Milner maintained his usual control, to his credit) while I’m not sure I have ever seen Salah and Firminho so quiet. Mane was active and had a few forays down the left flank, one leading to the cross which brought your goal, but other than that, he was mostly helping Robertson out, defending. The biggest threat to our goal was VVD, to be fair, which told its own story.

    Again, there’s never been a “Xhaka hype” amongst Arsenal fans as very few (most of us on this site, for one) thought he should even be playing against a pressing team, but he was in the estimation of most, the main man in that game, making the most recoveries, most passes, most touches and even chasing down Salah at some point. You may not know it but he was in the Bundesliga team of the season, two years in a row and only turned 26, which means his improvement this season is not unexpected. He and Torreira were the reason Klopp thought you didn’t press well enough; they charged down every move and helped the transition as we played out from the keeper and around your midfield, despite your attempt at the press. That’s what happened.

    Finally, looking into the future for you, clearly, Klopp has chosen to adopt a more pragmatic style to your offensive approach, this season. He seems to have favoured defensive solidity to last season’s gung-ho (goals galore) approach, which means he believes you can win the league with defensive consistency, since you are already blessed with goal scorers. That bodes well for your chances and I can only wish you luck, because you lot are probably the only other rival side I can stand toppling City from the league title. I will admonish that you have to beware the “Ides of March”, however: the period when the champions league gets into frenetic, knock-out pace, especially if you are matched against top European sides who can take the attention of the players away from the EPL (as it did last season). Hopefully, Klopp is able to keep your eyes on all the balls, or Arsenal may not finish too far from you on the table.

  • Dave …. that’s an interesting post. Interesting knowing how the “enemy” sees it. Clearly we see it with different eyes.

    The body of the game clearly belonged to us as already cited by Eris. We controlled possession. We covered more grounds. We achieved more sprints. We made 20 tackles to your 13 etc.

    Liverpool is a formidable team. Am not deceived by the fact that they didn’t press us so much. That was part of their game plan. They learnt the hard way from their Champions league final that no one should press too intently against teams skilled enough to beat the press with ease. For such teams Klopp now opts for the mid block and springs his press from the middle third. That was what he opted for against us. When they win the ball in the middle third, no team has a more dangerous vertical thrust than them.

    But Emery knew their game plan and was largely able not to fall into their trap.

    One thing this match against you did for us is its given us our confidence back. Many thanks Dave.

  • Dave … my best football friend is a Liv fan. He knows a lot about Arsenal and I equally know a lot about Liv. Understandably.

  • Dave, good comments from the other perspective.
    From what i saw, we had overran the midfield, and managed to keep the dangerous Liv forwards at bay for most of the game.

    For short periods of the game there were times that your team had possession in midfield, but as Klopp said, your midfield were not pressing enough, which was why we managed to boss the first half, leaving your front 3 with nothing much to do except sitting back for most of the game.

    I can say that Liv thrives on counters, as we normally do at times. However, Saturday evening wasn’t your best game and unfortunately we did not manage to score more than one.

    But to be fair, the game is a good way to show how resilient we are and i hope to continue the form against top 6 teams.


  • Thanks for the review… Interesting for sure…and not a lot I’d argue against…

    I stand by what I wrote on the previous thread, and, since nobody responded (my comment killed the thread, maybe), I’ll assume EVERYBODY agreed with me… 😀

    That might, however, beg the question, why have a comments section? (Or a blog in the first place…) 😦

    I leave it there, thinking this could be another guilt (sic) edge chance for me to kill off another thread… (Disclosure: I’m trying to make a pun about feeling guilty for my part in ruining this blog, not giving grief for the, er, creative, use of the saying…)

  • Not that anybody cares, but… Maybe Liverpool aren’t very good (and we should’ve done better against them?)… They just lost to Red Star Belgrade…

    I didn’t see that one, but I did tune in just in time to see Totts go behind after a minute to PSV…

    Looks like I’m still killing it…

  • Red star at home is a different prospect for any team, so I wouldn’t judge Liverpool’s quality on that result. Incidentally, PSG could only draw 1-1 vs Napoli in Naples, which leaves that group very open, as it stands. We should have beaten them though.

    Spurs eventually won that game 2-1 to give themselves a chance again, as Inter drew 1-1 vs Barca.

  • ♪♬ There’s a killer on the blog…
    His brain is squirmin’ like a frog… ♫♬ 😉

    Let the Spuds and Pool play…
    UEFA losses make my day…

    Pundits give these dogs a bone?
    Never bring the silver home.

    There’s a killer on the blog… ♪♬


  • Eris, I’m glad you’re feeling so strong about the Arsenal…

    Yes, the CL is difficult and having the home pitch (even if it’s an American football stadium like Wembley) is important… If that early scoreline for Spurs had stood, they’d be in trouble for (even) parachuting into our tournament…

    (Believe it or not, but…) I stand behind my take on things, (my “killer” comment from the previous thread) and I feel like the writer of this post also saw things similarly. (Rather than rose-tinted, I think he was actually being fairly magnanimous…) To summarize, 1) In “modern football” (or should we call it “Moo-dern football”…) possession is not such a good thing, thus dominance is shown mostly by the scoreline. (Caveat, if you have a player who can run at defenders and create things, like Iwobi did during his cameo, AND you create good spacing, AND your players keep working hard, possession can be an OK thing…A certain Mr. Wenger always believed that, I think…) and 2) we achieved our scoreline with a significant bunch of luck… (One of
    TA’s fine observations, btw….) It was at least two pieces of woodwork AND a bad whistle + 1 moment of individual brilliance (from Lacazette). (There was even a sliding Xhaka tackle in the box that was cleanly executed…how often does THAT work out?…) Yes, we fashioned some other (half?) chances (Mkhi heading over and wide stands out, a couple of shots blocked at the point and maybe Ozil at the near post, Bellerin with the chocolate foot) but, generally, I think folks are waxing overly positive. (I can’t quite recall Allison forced into any saves, but my memory ain’t what it used to be…) What would be the takeaway if, say, those two Pool attacking moments go in and Laca’s shot hits wrong side of the post? That’s just my take on things, of course, and who am I to try and bring folks down?… AND, funny thing, if the game HAD finished nil-3, I’D probably be the guy saying, well we actually did a few good things and they just got fortunate with their finishing… 😀

    I guess I just prefer to maintain the even keel… Or maybe it’s because my given name rhymes with even…or something…

    So, I think we should probably take the result as a blessing and just move on I think. And, overall, you cannot argue that football at the Emery-ates isn’t significantly different (than Arsene-L), which is what Gooners were craving, right? We’re still in very tight for the top 4 and even the leaders aren’t completely home and dry…

    Now we’re onto a pair of home matches vs a couple of Portuguese teams. (Cursory research shows that Wolves have only 9 guys who are actually Portuguese, but their Mexican guy, Raul Jimenez, is on loan from Benfica…) Then the break… Then we’ve got tougher league matches (fo’ sho…) + that pesky NLD league cup quarterfinal… But maybe the break starts early? Zero television for the Wolves game, my research indicates, and the NBC Gold I bought doesn’t even seem to have a live stream….


    No such luck with election night coverage…

  • Haha, JW1, I’m trying, I’m trying… (and I did enough to send folks away during the live blog, 😉 … 😦 …)

    Would love to talk politics, but we’re not allowed… 😦

    Al menos, solo tengo diez dias hasta voy a estar otra lado de la muralla… 🙂

    Sorry, that’s what happens when all my European football is in Spanish…

  • I am with Eris on this one.
    1. Pool had the better chances
    2. Arsenal had most of the possession and best on-field footie
    3. Arsenal’s defence kept attackers mostly quiet but had no answer to set pieces of Pool
    4. Pool kept attackers quiet but they still managed to carve out semi-chances
    5. Arsenal’s defence needs to improve aerial prowess
    6. Pool are the more complete team
    7. But Arsenal played to best footie and have arrived again (post Arsene)
    8. So.… plenty of reasons to be positive and believe in our progress under Unai

  • 17ht, it isn’t so much of feeling strong about the Arsenal, than merely addressing the review of that one game, with ‘Pool as opponent. Okay, it didn’t help that it was a Pool supporter writing that review. They did have the clearer chances but we had chances too (all you listed and the one where Allison’s punched the ball straight at Mkhi, who didn’t {couldn’t ?} react quickly enough or it would be 1-0); they scored one and we did same. The rest about the woodwork or Ref decision is about ifs and buts, to be honest. Goals change games; no telling how Emery and the team would have reacted to going down early.

    It is still One Game At A Time (OGAAT) for me, but I cannot but be happy with the performance we mastered against a team touted for the title this season. Maybe we raise our game for the big teams; maybe it’s because the games are more open with two big teams; maybe Liverpool aren’t as good as the media (and fans) make out. That performance (the kind we had come to take for granted under Wenger, until the last two seasons, or so) took everyone by surprise, especially because we’ve had a change of gaffers. So much to be happy and positive about so far.

  • In other news, Reiss Nelson is up for the award of ‘Bundesliga Young player of the month’. The kid is killing it in Germany.
    Arsene Wenger offers support for Mourinho and backs him to turn United around. Hmmm.

  • I’ve got tonight’s match on one of my Spanish Language channels, JW… (You too, right, but maybe you’re sneaking glances while at the office?…) Arsenal-Wolves (Sunday) now does appear to be on the streaming service (NBC Sports Gold)…

    OK, I get it re: the Liverpool match… The question of whether or not we’re taking too much (or too little) away from it, clearly, is in the eye of the beholder…as well as being a question hardly worth asking…

    With just about zero traffic here on the site (and seeing things differently from others it seems) maybe I’m trying too hard…


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