Arsenal Take Advantage of Stumbling Liverpool

wenger jacket

For once Arsene Wenger got angry at his team.  Or so say his players, as they point to his halftime talk as a motivator for coming from a goal down to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield.  Apparently, he told his players they didn’t deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt, which surprised them, as well as those familiar with the Frenchman’s tendency to coddle his players.  Perhaps that’s simply his belief in their abilities, but lacking sharpness can’t always be the reason his side drop points.

And the Gunners did lack sharpness, as they have since the loss of Robin van Persie.  They did not play well in the first half, and if Torres had a few games under his belt to regain his own typical sharpness, it could’ve easily been 1-0 to the Reds in the first fifteen minutes.  Actually, make that two goals,  as the Reds also could have had a penalty after William Gallas upended Steven Gerrard in front of goal.

Against a nearly-full strength Liverpool side, Arsenal maintained much of their diffidence since the loss of van Persie, looking quick and aggressive in midfield, but not in front of their opponent’s goal.  Liverpool were more threatening, and were the first to score, from a Dirk Kuyt goal that highlighted Manuel Almunia’s poor performance on the day.

After the apparent Arsene Wenger dressing down, which has some sort of imaginary comic value, Arsenal’s first real attacking opportunity resulted in a Glen Johnson own goal, which did enough to give the Gunners the confidence to press on for the second, another moment of skill and power from Andrey Arshavin, who was left isolated most of the game.  Like last year at Anfield, Arshavin proved his immense value to an injured and incomplete Arsenal side, doing just enough against Liverpool.

From there, it be a tense last half hour or so for Gooners, and desperately hopeful for Liverpool fans, urging their side to reassert itself and end their skid of poor performance.  While Arsenal were more than lucky from the own goal, and the non-call earlier, Liverpool did very little to really take it to a less than sharp Arsenal side.

Arsenal may have bounced back after suffering a heavy defeat to Chelsea, but Liverpool’s inability to take points from the Gunners flattered them.  In third place, six points out from the league leaders, and with a game in hand, Wenger insists his side are still in it.  Mathematically, yes, but there are some holes in that side.  Either Wenger is going to have to practice his angry face for every half time talk herein out, or Arsenal need to show more decisiveness in going for the jugular.

For Liverpool, it isn’t a crisis.  Thanks to Manchester City unable to do the business against non-top four sides, Spurs dropping points, and their nearest competitors below them being Birmingham and Fulham, the sky isn’t falling for Benitez and the Reds.  Aston Villa did well to beat Manchester United and stake a drive for the top four, but we’ve yet to reach the halfway mark, and why expect anything else except business as usual.  With Torres getting more match fit and no Champions League to worry about, Liverpool’s season starts now, as Benitez says.  Unfortunately, they started this new one the way they started the actual one.

[Guardian, ESPN]

14 thoughts on “Arsenal Take Advantage of Stumbling Liverpool”

  1. In case you had any doubts after reading this biased article, Arsenal did in fact win the match. It’s so funny how hard the author is trying to downplay this Arsenal victory while minimizing the Liverpool loss.

    1. Yeah you can see blatant bias in this “article”.

      He downplays Arsenals victory whilst simultaenously defending Liverpool who obviously went opposite directions during match day.

      Nobody is saying Liverpool or Arsenal don’t have any holes or problems in their game, they certainly do but on that day Arsenal overcame Liverpool and its that simple.

      All in all a bad loss for Liverpool and a good victory for Arsenal. Neither of them are out of it yet by the way though I still don’t think their consistent enough to mount a title challenge either way.

  2. Great result for Arsenal, but take away the OG and it’s a disappointing draw. Since Wenger is insisting on his side’s chances of vying for the title, this isn’t the team that’s going to go all the way. Hopefully, it’ll change, and we’ll see some real pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United, but some players have to get healthy for Arsenal or simply play a bit better. No downplaying of Liverpool’s loss; they plain just can’t get going, but remain pretty much unaffected on the table.

  3. Yes, take away the OG and its a draw. We’ll give back the 3 points. Sorry Liverpool.

    Add in the fact that Liverpool had no shots on goal in the second half and that tells you how much they deserved a win.. at home.

  4. Wow. Just, wow. Arsenal wins, Liverpool loses. And it’s Arsenal that should worry; Liverpool will be just fine. Uh-huh . . .

    Tell you what: you’ve just convinced me. Let’s sack Wenger and hire Benitez. Or Hiddink. Anything to get Arsenal away from this tendency they have this season of winning away games at places like Craven Cottage and Anfield. We’ve got to stop the downward spiral before the Gunners end up in the relegation zone. The lack of intestinal fortitude they showed today testifies to that.


    1. I think the authors point reflects the differing expectations of the two teams for the season. Arsenal has their eye on finishing at the top, and while they did pulled out a victory, it wasn’t convincing. On the other hand Liverpool would probably be happy with 4th at this point, and based on their performance their, there’s no new reasons to worry.

  5. “For Liverpool, it isn’t a crisis”

    “the sky isn’t falling for Benitez and the Reds”

    Um, what? Now, I’m really not the type to pile on, but, really?

    There’s this river in Egypt. You may know something about it…

    Hey, at least the Reds don’t have any pesky Champions League to worry about, as the author astutely points out. What a drag that would be during such a non-crisis.

  6. Good result for Arsenal. Arshavin is a man in form.
    Things can’t get much worse for Liverpoolp; level on points with Blues lol.
    Still I expect them to improve. It needs to be soon.
    It’s looking tight at the top, Arsenal win their game in hand and 3 points seperate the top 3…tasty tasty tasty. I just can’t see Arsenal keeping pace all season.

  7. Arsenal didn’t play better, they just got lucky. Liverpool should have gotten the penalty as well as a free kick a yard outside the box, but with Howard Webb in charge it is unlikely that an obvious call would be awarded.

    Arshavin had a wonderful goal, but it shouldn’t have been the match winner. The Reds are in trouble, but this should have been a draw or a win, instead of an unlucky loss.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens for the rest of the season, but I predict Liverpool narrowly taking the fourth spot and Arsenal just above them.

    1. Meh. Gerrard and Torres were embarrassing today. A couple of diving fools. I especially enjoy Torres’ diving style. He kind of curls up, and does a little twist in the air when he flops. Reminds me of a salmon heading upstream. Sad.

      Sure, Gerrard got hit by Gallas. But the ball was already out of bounds, because Gerrard was clearly penalty hunting. Because he’s desperate. Because the sky is in fact falling in Liverpool.

  8. As an Arsenal fan, I thought they played pretty poorly today. Can’t say they deserved the win. But this one balances out the Man U loss, which involved an own goal and a thoroughly outplayed Man U at Old Trafford.

    But that said, which team played better from behind? Which team responded? Which team attacked more? I think that speaks volumes about which team is in crisis and which one isn’t.

  9. What utter drivel this Brian Louie writes………….and he calls himself a writer. He should send this nonsecal article to Rafa because Liverpool have no crises.

  10. Gillette goes by the slogan “The Best a Man Can Get”, but they have distanced themselves from Tiger Woods as he takes his break from golf. Sports blogs listed on said it was to ‘support his desire for privacy’, but in reality it’s probably to protect their brand. When it comes to the media, Tiger is now getting ‘the worst a man can get’.

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