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Liverpool & Arsenal Flatter to Deceive in 8 Goal Cock-up

fabianskiexp Liverpool & Arsenal Flatter to Deceive in 8 Goal Cock up

Over the last 12 hours, I’ve heard terms such as “instant classic” and “Great game” and “advert for football” when reading and watching highlights of to of Liverpool’s last three outings. Eight Goals! Offense galore!

Sure, but shouldn’t the actual quality of play come in to consideration?

Call me a curmudgeon, but when I watched Liverpool v. Chelsea, I didn’t see classic. I saw a highlight reel of all the things you shouldn’t do if you want success in this game: Goaltenders overplaying angles and getting caught cheating to the point of absurdity on set pieces, goaltenders pushing balls into their own net, defenders running around in circles and dropping balls in strikers’ laps, wild deflections tat wrong foot ‘keepers, an inability to handle a basic cross, schoolboy mental lapses, allowing goals in quick succession… what I saw was more shambolic than classic.

Everyone was relieved that we didn’t have to endure a bore-fest, and I was too, but at the same time, I take exception when people confuse high scoring with quality. Had Chelsea or Liverpool played a side that plays with composure and poise, either one of them would have been humiliated with the end result. And, in the proper light, so would all of English football.

That takes us to last night’s version of a 4-4 classic. Once again, the headlines label it a classic match. But I guess it depends what you want to call a classic. Lots of shots and goals? Ok. Lead changes? Sure. Silky touches, smooth passing and skilful football? A “great advertisement for the league”? Not in my eyes. In fact, quite the contrary. For all those who preach continental football over the English game, there was plenty of fodder for their cannons.

I’ll take nothing away from the finishing of Andrei Arshavin and Fernando Torres. The lads are clinical. I do take umbrage with the embarrassingly inadequate technique on demand and mental sharpness of the two teams. A quick breakdown (in more ways than one):

0-1 Beautiful exchanges from Fabergas and Arshavin for the goal, but the fact Arsenal even had possession is the bone of contention. Mascherano was stripped of the ball just inside his box. Such a clumsy, careless play from someone lauded as one of the best holding midfielders in the world.

1-1 A clinical finish for Torres. Bacary Sagna’s shocking “clearance” and Silvestre’s returned gift from Kuyt’s poor first cross make this a completely avoidable goal.

2-1 Yossi Benayoun’s courage is rewarded, Fabianski , fresh off a double howler that sent Arsenal crashing out of the FA Cup, learns a tough lesson about trying to stop shots whilst five feet behind your own goal line. There was simply no need for him to fade into his goal – his movement screams of a perfunctory effort and a ‘keeper who had given up on the play. As a result a saveable effort loops over the line.

2-2 Another great finish, another terrible defensive effort. Arbeloa forgets the first thing taught to any kid: GO TO THE PASS. Arshavin capitalises on the most basic of errors.

2-3 As a rule of thumb, defenders are advised against laying the ball on the penalty spot for onrushing strikers. Had Dirk Kuyt done this at the other end, it might have been one of the best first touches of his career. Instead, the type of mistake that makes its way on YouTube under the title “Youth Coach Goes Ballistic, Makes 10 Year Olds Cry”

3-3 No disrespect to Torres. It’s a clinical finish and he’s a fantastic finisher, but anyone who reads Champions League Talk knows you need to stay mentally focused in those five minutes after a goal is scored.

3-4 You could argue that Liverpool left the most dangerous man on the pitch wide open because they were chasing the win. I would argue that Jamie Carragher (3 goals in 350+ appearances) and Daniel Agger (3 goals in 50 appearances) would help Liverpool’s cause more if they were to work on keeping the one point and let the other eight players chase three people who subscribe to the Five Minute Rule would also point out the inherent dangers of giving up goals in the last five minutes of a match.

4-4 Not only is it a goal in the last five of a math, not only is it a goal within five minutes of another goal, the ball bounces twice between the 6 yard box and the penalty spot while Arsenal players watch Yossi Benayoun collect his brace.

Many would argue that if the game were played flawlessly, it would always be 0-0. Other would point out that you could find fault with *any *goal – somewhere along the line somebody had to cede possession in order for the attacking move to begin. Yes, that’s true, but in these cases, we’re talking about a loss of possession directly ending up in the back of the net within 3-4 touches. At this level, these types of mistakes are simply unacceptable.

Undoubtedly, this match will instantly get tagged for the “EPL RETRO” series, and find its way into circulation as early as possible. Certainly, there are exciting moments, and the context surrounding the fixture, especially from a Liverpool perspective, adds to the occasion. But for teams to be given credit for participating in “a match for the ages” is laughable. Fernando Torres and Andrei Arshavin should be lauded for clinical finishing. If we were to cut the highlights to just their drives into the net, you’d have something to share with kids. The rest of the 90+ minutes, however, were a lesson in how to throw your title hopes away and make your Champions League opponents lick their chops in anticipation of two matches against such ineptitude.


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