Match Review - Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2 - Premier League
I have found this week to be a rather challenging one, and not for the reasons you may think. Real life has thrown another of those curve balls that you have to deal with, so on a personal level it makes the 2-2 draw at Anfield quite difficult to write about for more than one reason. One of said reasons was trying to adjust to the lack of emotion I felt when Liverpool scored deep into injury time.
It was a strange game, one of our worst performances in a long while. Liverpool's system meant that they had out numbered us in the middle of the pitch and when you consider the fact that we had all our first choice midfielders and more missing through injury, it meant that we lost the battle in the most important part of the pitch.
I was convinced that weathering the early storm would allow us to get the chance to grow into the game but it didn't really happen. Mathieu Flamini alongside a clearly unfit Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield was in hindsight a step too far at Anfield.
Strangely enough though, I thought we had defended pretty well for the most part given the context of the game. It was our lowest amount of possession in the Premier League since August 2003. We also conceded the most amount of shots in one game since that same time period. I suppose you'd need a breakdown of where those Liverpool shots were taken to get a better idea of how we defended but we kept them down to the Philippe Coutinho strike, which was a very good goal as well I should add.
At the time it was a great to see us respond so quickly. We haven't done that for a while after going a goal down first. Flamini heading back into the danger area for Debuchy to head in, past the keeper. An unArsenal goal that was very much welcome.
So that was going to be the late goal to kick start our second half domination right? Not quite, although we did improve a little in the second half. But grabbing control of the game was still proving difficult.
Watching Mamadou Sakho on the ball I was begging for Alexis to be close to him whenever he was in possession, by gee he is awful on the ball. Alexis could have whipped the ball off his toes many times but we were never close enough to the Liverpool back three. They seemed to have options all over the pitch while we had none.
One of our rare attacks that involved a few passes lead to our second goal. A well worked move down the left involved little magic Santi who was head and shoulders (I didn't know he had dandruff) our best player, trying force our game almost on his own at times. He broke into the box, his left foot cut back was perfect and Giroud swept in between the keepers legs for 1-2.
'Smash and grab, it's on' I thought, Until I saw the amount of time left on the clock. You know that feeling that I guess most fans feel, including non Arsenal fans. You know there is a good chance you won't hold on, especially away from home but there is always a hope of that 3rd goal to kill it all off. Yeah well, that's where I was at that point.
Liverpool piled on the pressure and we still could not wrestle away any possession in our favour so the waves kept coming, again and again. Giroud had given away possession cheaply a couple of times so I understood the change for Coquelin. If we are going to be under pressure and have to deal with continuous attacks, I'd prefer to have a more defensive player in the mix.
On the Liverpool corner my stream froze and didn't come back. I quit that stream and clicked onto another with seconds ticking down, I just knew that when a stream returned that we would have conceded from that corner. I didn't see the goal until the following day but we did not attack the ball well enough as we haven't done on a number of occasions early on this season.
As I said at the beginning of this article, it was a strange Arsenal performance. Poor on the ball, poor offensively, good defensively until a moment that cost us. How much would it have helped having the likes of Arteta, Özil and Ramsey along with Santi? Would the game have turned out any differently? Who knows, who cares now? It is over with.
A point at Anfield it is, on to the next one.