Arsenal vs Liverpool always throw up good and exciting games and today was no different. It wasn’t quite like the 4-4 thriller from a couple of years ago, or as late as the last minute winner from Robin Van Persie last season, but it was still Arsenal that went home with all three points. New boys Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla showing the Arsenal fans what they can do by both grabbing a goal each and also assisting each other as well. For Liverpool, it is worrying times for Brendan Rodgers who has seen his team pick up one point in the first three games. The loss of Andy Carroll may be even worse than Liverpool first thought. The lack of attack and depth up front will see them struggle to score goals all season.
So before the game, both teams were looking for their first win of the season. Arsenal had drawn their previous two games in boring 0-0 draws, whilst Liverpool had lost and drawn their opening two games. The first half seemed to fly by as chances were very limited for both teams. It was very much a midfield battle between Joe Allen and Abou Diaby, both players putting in sensational performances for each team. Per Mertesacker and Carl Jenkinson looked a bit shaky for Arsenal at the start, giving the ball away a couple of times whilst trying to pass out from the back, but luckily for Arsenal, both settled into the game and put in good performances for the travelling team.
The first chance of the game was actually converted. Steven Gerrard lost the ball in the middle of the park and Lukas Podolski snapped up that chance, offloaded the pass to Santi Cazorla, who then slipped it back to Lukas Podolski, who fired into the back of Pepe Reina’s net. The first Arsenal goal of the season and the first Arsenal goal for Lukas Podolski. The first half then really went back to normal with a lot of possession for each team but neither side really creating chances. Just before half time though, Raheem Sterling, who had a very impressive game for Liverpool, saw his effort smash off the post. Arsenal went into half time 1-0 up.
The second half saw Liverpool have two massive penalty shouts which were both turned down. The first one came when Suarez felt like he was getting tugged back by Per Mertesacker to prevent him from latching onto a Steven Gerrard cross. Replays showed that there was some contact between the two players, but Howard Webb didn’t think it was a penalty. The second one was a handball shout. Liverpool felt that Thomas Vermaelen had handled the ball in the area, which in all fairness, he had done, however Suarez pushed the Belgium international onto the ball, so rightfully, Howard Webb turned the appeals away.
The game was all-but over when Arsenal scored their second goal in the 69th minute thanks to more brilliant link up play between Cazorla and Podolski. The goal saw the roles reversed this time and it was Podolski who set up Cazorla to fire home his first of the season and first for Arsenal. Pepe Reina will take a lot of blame for the goal as he let the powerful shot slip through his fingers. The rest of the game saw Liverpool dominate and Arsenal counter attacking. Neither tactic worked as they game ended 2-0 to Arsenal.
The full time whistle was met with jeers from the home fans and cheers from the away fans. Three games in and Liverpool are without a league win, with two of their games being at home. For Arsenal, they have now kept three clean sheets out of three for the first time in 88 years. The win will be a big sigh of relief for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger alike. The teams will now go into the international break with different levels of motivation.
Man of the Match: Abou Diaby
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Allen, Sahin, Borini, Suarez, Sterling.
Subs: Jones, Henderson, Coates, Downing, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.
Arsenal: Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Walcott, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gervinho.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
Alex William Batt