I don’t think actual match reporting is my strong point, I get too caught up in the moment, so we’ll talk about the key points and go from there.
Arsenal set up like as strongly as they could, we saw Flamini return to the side alongside Ozil and Flamini. Joel Campbell picked up the nod over Chambo and Theo Walcott joined Giroud up top.
Liverpool didn’t start with a striker because they don’t have a good one that is fit (sorry Benteke).
Liverpool were quite a sight to behold in the opening 30 minutes, they played the same high press game Klopp used to defeat us when he was at Dortmund. I couldn’t work out whether they were electric, or we just weren’t at the races, but we really seemed challenged by the pressure and certain players just didn’t really cope. Particularly the defence.
Catalogue of Errors
Again, sitting on my arse in an office watching the game made it hard to tell if the errors were just brain freezes or maybe related to the slippery surface and nightmare conditions. The first goal we conceded came from Theo trying to run the ball out of defence, we then allowed a shot to be ripped at our goal unchallenged, Petr Cech made and error by palming it back into the area and Koscielny let the Firmino shot go through his legs
We equalised pretty quickly when Kolo and Sahko combined to hand JC the chance to perfectly weight a pass into Rambo who slipped his shot into the inside post with perfect precision.
We let Liverpool in again, this time the ball ricocheted off Campbell, Henderson played in Milner, Flamini committed too hard, the pass found Firmino in space, he carved half a yard and sent the ball into the top corner!
I mean, talk about getting struck by lightning twice in a night… the boy looked electric for once!
At this point, I tweeted that we were in for a Premier League Classic and that we were…
Giroud drew us level by grazing a duffed cored in at the near post. A horror show of defending from Liverpool and some desperately poor keeping from Mignolet.
We took the lead in the second half, another assist from Mesut Campbell, a superb turn and finish from Olivier Giroud, absolutely world-class.
The Close Out
Arrrrggggghhhhhhhhh…. Who didn’t know what was coming?
It was so apparent that we wouldn’t close that game out. I thought Liverpool were looking leggy, they were struggling with the work load… so what did we do?
Took off Joel Campbell and Theo Walcott. I mean, I’m a bit meh about Theo, but he’s scary fast even if he’s not effective… he has teams in fear, one long ball and you’re gonna get killed. Then he dropped off Joel Campbell, a player with two assists, someone who can defend and again… someone with pace. He brought on Chamberlain and Gibbs.
So what happened? Same that happened at City. We invited the pressure on, the pressure came. They battered us hard. Then what did we do? We brought on Arteta… Wenger’s addiction.
You could just see the last-minute equaliser coming, and it did. HOOOOOOF into the box, header down from Benteke and a volley into the bottom corner from Joe fucking Allen.
What a disaster. But a predictable one. Wenger and his sub decisions are mostly atrocious.
So what do we think?
Well, let’s put this into perspective, we were away at Anfield. We were taking on a very capable coach who manages a team that only like to show up in big games. Part of me feels like it was one of those nights, part of me feels like that’s a stupid piece of analysis.
We made terrible defensive errors, we recovered them and took the lead against a team that’s very meh. We then couldn’t shut out the game. We made substitutions that reeked of fear, we made decisions that we’ve made before and barely got away with it… and we blew the chance to go 4 clear of City.
It’s not a terrible result, but it’s one that you worry you’ll look back on at the end of a tight season and think… shit, that was a pivotal moment.
Lucky for us Spurs and City both dropped points. We’ve managed to get away with it.
The sooner we can get Flamini out of our midfield, the better. He’s a reckless character low on tekkers and his legs don’t look like they’re handling the amount of games he’s dealing with. He also can’t pair with Ramsey. To be honest, we really missed Cazorla last night. Flamini isn’t an acceptable replacement for Coquelin. We have Elneny ready for the weekend, but I feel that it would be a disaster to put him in against a classy brutal Stoke side. He could get ripped apart…
Again, another match where he’s kind of a bit nothing. Since he’s been shifted out wide, he’s lost a bit of spark. I don’t get excited about his runs because I know they’ll not end in much. Bit disappointing we don’t have someone who can come in and shake up his game. The sooner we get Sanchez back, the better. We really miss that ferocious attitude in the front three.
This has fuck up written all over it. It’ll be a big game. How does a last minute draw impact the players? It’s not far off a loss for me. So the reaction is going to be key. Stoke are good this season and they’re always up for giving us a kick in.
So in short, nothing major lost from yesterday, but what does it say about our ability heading into this streak of games?
Over to you…