Saturday, 20 August 2011
FROM THE GUNNERS POINT OF VIEW-ARSENAL VS LIVERPOOL ANALYSIS AND MATCH RATINGS
It was inevitable.
A lot of heart shown by all the players, the crowd – fair play to most of them – rose to the occasion, young guns despite their obvious inexperience performed admirably, those in a limbo showed their professionalism, but in the end it all came to nought.
Another once-in-a-lifetime freak goal conceded by Arsenal gave Liverpool the edge in the final quarter-hour of the game when it looked like the ten men might just hold on. And the visitors garnished the result with a neat little second as the Gunners went in search of the equalizer.
Arsene started with Nasri in the midfield with Jenkinson on the right and Sagna as left-back. The line-up looked fairly strong albeit not the kind one would wish to see as the first team.
The opening exchanges were even but there were signs of things to come. In the 6th minute Arshavin found himself unmarked on the edge of the box when a corner was deflected to him. His touch was disappointing and the opportunity was lost. The awkward height of the ball cannot be an excuse at this level. That extra bit of quality in moments that could have been decisive was to lack throughout the game.
A couple of minutes later Frimpong went into the Referees book for a strange offence. He squared up to Kuyt who was about to take a throw-in. Seemed needless and was perhaps the result of his youthful over exuberance. Even that early on, there were genuine fears a red card was coming.
Soon after, Koscielny hobbled off with a back spasm leading to the introduction of Ignasi Miquel. He was the only defender on the bench!
Szczesny’s first big save came in the 20th minute when a cross from the Liverpool left found Carroll in the middle. His header was powerful but not well-directed.
For the rest of the first half, Liverpool pushed Arsenal back and created a number of half chances. Thomas Vermaelen stood tall and virtually owned the penalty box. Other defenders did their bit in helping the Belgian. The visitors appeared to dominate without providing a genuine threat.
Arsenal had precious few chances in attack and on occasions when they did get a chance the final ball was missing. Starting with Van Persie very early in the game when he almost put Walcott through from deep in Arsenal’s half, too many Gunners either put too much or too little weight on their final ball/cross.
Frimpong tested Reina and Nasri went close with long range shots after powering runs down the middle.
That was it for the first half. Liverpool didn’t look great for a side with so many additions. Arsenal didn’t look that far away even with three youngsters in defensive positions.
The second half was played at a slower pace. It appeared to me that the visitors were sitting back a lot more. This provided Arsenal more time on the ball but once again there was no cohesion or incision to the attack.
The ball was moved wide after too many touches and the wingers were always crowded out. When they did get a cross in there was hardly anybody in the box. Not only that, it was far too easy for Liverpool to move from defending a cross to putting one in of their own.
On one such occasion, in the 55th minute an over-hit cross from Jenkinson led to a counter-attack with his Liverpool counterpart Kelly hitting the post.
There were one or two attempts at playing down the middle but the players were not on the same wavelength and their one-touch lay-offs were easily intercepted.
The game had fizzled out when Arshavin created an opportunity after a physical battle, which appeared to be a foul by the Russian, but Van Persie’s attempt was saved by Reina.
Moments later the match roared into life as Frimpong went into another needless tackle which brought him a predictable and avoidable second booking. From that point on it was all Liverpool.
Wenger introduced another youngster as Lansbury came on for Arshavin. Arsenal were working hard but Liverpool created a couple of chances within minutes of gaining the numerical advantage. The introduction of the wily Suarez made the difference as he first forced save from Szczesny and then set Downing up for another strike on target.
The first goal came in the 78th minute. Meireles played in Suarez who was off-side but only just. Miquel came back to intercept the ball but his attempted clearance bounced from the chest of Ramsey and over Szczesny.
How often have you seen the assist and goal both coming from the defending team that too from an off-side situation? It was really harsh on the players but one cannot deny Arsenal make themselves susceptible to such disasters more often than any other side. Therein lies the real problem.
Wenger introduced Bendtner for Theo but where 11 men failed 10 just had no chance.
Liverpool got the second in the final minute of normal time. The midfielders were tired and had given up on tracking back by then which made it easy for the visitors to pass the ball around a couple of defenders to open up the goal for a tap-in. It usually happens when ten men are chasing a game.
SZCZENSY; This young lad is just amazing,the way he keeps the goal is just outta this world,1 save from caroll and henderson before the goals came.funny enough 3 of the 5 goals he has conceeded fom pre-season till now were scored by arsenal players!!!jenkinson,bartley.ramsey the culprits 7/10
JENKINSON; premier league debut against a big team like liverpool and stewart dowing doesn't get harder,if i am to be fair wit him i'll say he tried but believe me this is not the sort of player arsenal should have. 5/10
KOSCIENLY; Arsenal looked solid when he was at the back with TV5 hobbled out with an injury to give miguel an emergency debut,add to the injury woes,and make wenger TRY to see his STUPIDITY N/A
VERMAELEN; Everytime this gem touches the ball i smile,but then i get sad again...where was he last season when we crumbled!gave andy caroll a torrid time on the pitch,by far the best player of the day for both teams,helped miguel when he came on but was a fraction too late when we conceded the 2nd 8/10
SAGNA; wasn’t exactly comfortable starting on the left but later adjusted well enough although it was from his flank the own goal was conceded 5/10
FRIMPONG; I just love this dude for his comittment,tenacity and aggression although the last of those qualities ended what was seeming like a day to remember.a victim of 'inexperience' frimpong had to stupid incidents end his game 5/10
RAMSEY;simple put,this boy CAN'T replace fabregas!!!! take off the own goal but ramsey is not not it!!!!!!!!!!!! 3/10
NASRI; Showed professionalism, had a game below his standards.One solo run in the first half was the peak of his action. 5/10
WALCOTT; As always, full of energy with bursts of speed but no productive end result. made enrique look world class,taken off in the 79th minute for Nicklas Bendtner to cap a poor outing from him.5/10
ARSHAVIN; His touch was disappointing on more occasions than one. Work rate was better and he was really trying to contribute in defence. Never got a chance to run at the defenders in a one-v-one.
I thought the system forced the wide players into a defensive position far too often. Van Persie could never win a ball in the air and hold it up. Given the struggles of the midfield, this meant the attacking opportunities were really limited. When the ball did get forward in wide areas there just weren’t enough bodies in support.4/10
VAN PIERSE; The persie-captaincy started with a defeat...so sad as he gave a lot in support but got little.5/10
MIQUEL;Much better than his debut game against Ipswich. Seems to have matured well and looks stronger. His positioning was good, won the ball back on a number of occasions when the opponent had a loose touch, unfortunate part in the own goal but was caught out by Suarez due to his inexperience which forced him into a suicidal clearance.7/10