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

  1. tony says:

    Am I the only one that thinks something is fishy with 6 minutes of extra time in a game where no-one had to be stretchered off? I’ve seen this happen time and time again when liverpool plays. Is the ref adding 1 minute for each sub made??? In fact, if you make the extra time more realistic through-out the season, Liverpool would probably be down in 3rd or 4th place where they should be as added time seems to give them super-accuracy and super-speed. I’m really refraining from going where my mind is pushing me, that there is some unsaid rule that certain teams get more extra time. Maybe the FA has some unknown mandate for refs to allow as much latitude as the laws allow … for the sake of viewership $

  2. James says:

    Your cynicism reeks. You have fallen into the old trap of over indulging your intellect. I don’t say that some of the points you make are not valid and that the excitement was in many ways a result of Arsenal’s injury crisis and the fact that they played a huge game rather poorly on a soggy Wembley pitch only 3 days before. Liverpool’s defending, so often their strongest attribute, was also poor, perhaps as a result of the time of the season and their anxiety to win the PL. Your point about Champions League opponents licking their chops in anticipation is really dumb. Arsenal play Man Utd in the CL. Yes, the same Man Utd who got completely stuffed by Liverpool recently when they had similar defensive injury worries as Arsenal did last night. Yes, the same Man Utd who were so poor against a very, very average Everton on Sunday. Yes, the same Man Utd who lost 2 goals against Porto at Old Trafford. I don’t know what colour the sky is in your world of “perfect” football and footballers but sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy. The alternative is that we have 20 Mourinhos managing our teams so we can all watch a league that is as drab and boring as his teams. Let Benitez and Wenger earn their money and try to put right what they perceive as wrong. Oh, and keep away from the computer for a while and give your perfect brain a rest.

  3. Growler says:

    Ok I’m gonna call you a curmudgeon.

    I agree with your sentiment about this game playing into the hands of United both in terms of the title and Champions League, but if you can’t see that it is games such as this that make people love football in the first place then you must of lost all your joy for the game.
    You’ve traded this for pragmatism and pointing out the defeciencies in these two sides that most fans are fully aware of. Put it this way if games like this didn’t occur then football would be worse for it.

  4. Ben says:

    To Tony: Yes the ref played a lot of injury time last night which was strange, but to say Liverpool always get this is nonsense!! Look at the end of the 2007 CL final for a start!! Most games probably should have 6 or so minutes added on and Liverpool would suffer from time wasting by other teams that are holding out for a win or draw themselves!!! Also did you actually watch the (albeit CL) games against chelsea? I have rarely seen such a biased referee (against LFC) made worse by some of the worst cheating undertaken by an English team!!! Also man united would have far fewer points without help from refs, look at the Blackburn game a couple of months ago!

    As for the original article, you have gone as far in the other direction with your criticism of the game as the ‘over the top acclaim’ you accuse the press of doing did in their reports!!! Somewhere there is a happy and more truthful medium!

  5. Bob says:

    Correct.. the game was a great spectacle, but I’ve seen more control and poise from 10 year olds.

    The finishing displayed by the goal scorers (Arshavin, Benayoun & Torres) was quality though.

  6. jesus says:

    For f**k’s sake. It was an entertaining game. I believe the author defines cynical.

  7. richard says:

    Thank-you Scott, finally a match report of this game that mirrored what i watched. You summed it up perfectly, clinical finishing! The level of defending was not worthy of a team chasing the EPL league title and a team in the semis of the CL. Classic, hardly!!

    And to James–united are one step closer to winning their 18th league title–18th and three on the trot. They are in the semis of the CL, matches that Arshavin will be watching from the stands. They have won the Carling Cup and the World Club Championship and are the current holders of the CL and EPL titles. Not to shabby for a team that got stuffed by liverpool. And by the way, we lost in the FA Cup semis with a team full of boys in a game that they bossed for long periods. Take away for me, we have a deep squad and a great blend of youth and experience. Lesson James–the league is not won or lost by the odd stuffing!!! Have a look at the win-loss-draws columns of the league standings and then go to total points. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, united are 3 points clear with a game in hand over Liverpool. And Arsenal, well, it’s about next year isn’t it? A recurring and boring theme with you lot.

    Enough with the injury crisis. All teams go through this during a season and united have certainly had their share this season.

    At some point you must accept that until arsenal stop with this endless quest for youth and get back to a balanced team / squad of youth and experience, they just may go another 4 years without a trophy.

  8. Captain Obvious says:

    News at 11!

    Team gives up lots of goals and defense is questioned.

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