ARSENAL 3-LIVERPOOL 3: A COMPLETELY BONKERS GAME AT CHRISTMAS
When these 2 Heavy weights meet one thing is guaranteed..and that is goals. So yet again it proved these 2 crazy attacking Juggernauts went at each others necks and left the entire Emirates pitch in a pool of blood.
The sleek attacking play of Liverpool and the irrepressible Attack line of Arsenal featuring Mesut Ozil, Lacazette, and Alexis hugged the pre-match Headlines. But in equal measure lots of talk was reserved for both teams penchant for Ridiculous defending. Liverpool have found themselves at the back of some real pastings this season already 5-0 bashing at the hands of Mancity and 4-1 at Wembley when Spurs exposed their defending as purely Amateurish. With those antecedents You wouldn’t have had to be a soothsayer to put this game as goal-goal if you are into the betting thingy.
Wenger went for the 4-3-3 Formation starting with Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles; Wilshere, Xhaka, Ozil; Iwobi, Lacazette, Sanchez .. A departure from the 3-4-3 he had been predominantly associated with for most of the season. And his team began Tentatively. You could see straight away they were wary of being caught on the break by Liverpool. Its not everyday you see Arsenal playing with a fear of attacking. Attacking is Usually their second nature. But when you know your Opponents have weapons like Mane, Firminio, Salah, Coutinho you don’t need to be told that you have to attack with caution unless you will be ripped to shreds on the break if you lose the ball. Already Arsenal still have Nightmares from August still fresh in the heads.
This game was full of holes and full of imperfections.Some of the defending was lousy, the goalkeeping occasionally even worse and to watch both teams attack was at times like witnessing a lorry careering down the street with the driver asleep at the wheels..Chaos.
But in terms of the entertainment, excitement, glory and drama of it, this was the type of game that keeps people awake at night for all the right reasons.
When Manchester United came here and won 3-1 earlier this month, we thought we had seen the most dramatic and eventful game of the season. This one probably topped it.
Liverpool should have won it. They were the better team for two-thirds of the game. But then, incredibly, Arsenal could have won it on the back of three goals in five breathless second-half minutes.
In the end, nobody was good enough to win it and that felt about right. Neither of these teams are consistently capable to bother the scorers at the very top of the table but on nights like this we could watch them until they turn the floodlights off.
Neither manager will be particularly happy with the outcome. How could they be?
This wasn’t grown-up football. It was straight from the schoolyard. For example, Arsenal’s attempts to close the game down after they somehow scrambled into the lead seemed to consist of piling bodies forward and hoping it would work.
Sadio Mane tries an arocbatic one
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t.
Liverpool, on the other hand, never really look secure until they are four goals clear. If that sounds like an exaggeration, it isn’t.
Recent results between these teams had been one-sided enough to suggest that Arsenal had grown phobic of playing Liverpool. Certainly the home team’s first-half performance suggested so.
For the first 50 minutes Liverpool were superior in every way. Arsenal could not keep the ball long enough to worry them at one end and when Liverpool broke forward the home team were so fecklessly disorganised it was almost pitiful.
Liverpool should have been ahead early. Roberto Firmino missed two headed chances before Philippe Coutinho scored in the 26th minute.
Substitute James Milner – on early for Jordan Henderson – sent Mo Salah away down the right and when the Egyptian’s cross was deflected in to the air, Coutinho was able to nod it over goalkeeper Petr Cech and in to the net.
A goal up, Liverpool looked hungry and Arsenal disparate. Wenger’s team were sporadically dangerous on the break but without the ball they were drowning.
Liverpool wasted two great opportunities right before half-time and Salah was guilty both times but as Arsenal began the second period as they had played the first, they were breached again. Firmino worked wonderfully to play Salah in for a shot that took a deflection off Shkodran Mustafi on the way in.
xhaka blasts one in from distance…
Metaphorically, Arsenal were on their knees. There was a meekness about them that was quite startling and this was reflected by a darkening of the mood in the stands.
But a goal almost immediately after Salah’s strike acted like an adrenaline shot for Arsenal and suddenly and most unexpectedly we were catapulted in to the middle of the game of the season like blindfolded riders on a roller coaster.
Alexis Sanchez – hitherto anonymous – scored Arsenal’s first in the 53rd minute but it was Liverpool defender Joe Gomez who played the greater part. Alexandre Lacazettes’ cross was decent enough but Gomez had a yard and a half on Sanchez and only the youngster’s inexplicable hesitation allowed the Chilean to dive and head between Simon Mignolet’s legs.
So Arsenal suddenly had a sniff and two minutes later they had a proper scent of the impossible in their nostrils as Granit Xhaka advanced to drive a 25-yard shot through the middle of Mignolet’s porous defences.
Klopp had warned of the danger posed by Swiss player beforehand but maybe Mignolet wasn’t listening. He could have saved the strike with two hands but chose to use just one and managed only to divert the path of the ball up into the roof of the net.
Ozil scored the goal that puts Arsenal 3-2 up
It was a dreadful moment for Mignolet and it remains to be seen if Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp begins to see what everyone else has been staring at for months. His goalkeeper isn’t good enough
Mesut Ozil who has been in fine form..scored the 3rdgoal after a sweet combination with Lacazette..3-2 Arsenal and Liverpool were rocking..Arsenal went for the throat but Liverpool survived. Its games like this i miss Ramsey for the sheer driving force he brings from Midfield..
Liverpool recovered from this blitz though and got the equalizer after Firminio who always manages to score against Arsenal shot at goal and Cech poor attempt at a save. saw the ball deflect in from his palm.
With 20 minutes still to play, the only real winners were going to be the betting people. By this stage it was impossible to predict the next act.
Liverpool probably shaded the closing stages and could have won it when Salah shot through a crowd and in to the side netting in the 90th minute.
So it ended all square ..Probably the best outcome given the circumastances…Merry christmas all