Arsenal fought back from 2-0 down to secure a point against Liverpool last night. In truth Arsenal could have ended up with all three, but it was a very open game that could have gone either way. Liverpool could argue they were worthy of the three points too, so perhaps a point each was a fair result. It’s a result that doesn’t do either team any good in their bids to secure Champions League football next season though.
It took Liverpool just 5 minutes to open the scoring at the Emirates. After Bacary Sagna slipped, Glen Johnson took advantage of Sagna’s slip and crossed the ball into the box. Thomas Vermaelen tried clearing the ball but he missed the ball, so a chance came Daniel Sturridge’s way. Sturridge would see his shot saved by Wojciech Szczesny, but after Aaron Ramsey failed to clear the ball, Luis Suarez’s shot went in off of Per Mertesacker who half-heartedly tried getting in the way of the shot. 1-0 Liverpool. An awful goal to concede and just shambolic defending from Arsenal.
Arsenal could have been level immediately. A fine save by Pepe Reina prevented Theo Walcott from levelling the scores straight away. It wouldn’t be long before Suarez was causing Arsenal problems again though, this time, a wonderful through ball carved Arsenal’s defence open and presented Sturridge with a golden chance to make it 2-0. His effort rolled just wide as Liverpool continued to threaten on the break.
Walcott had another chance but was again denied by Reina, but it was the visitors who continued to create the better chances. Lukas Podolski had to clear the ball off the line to deny Daniel Agger from making it 2-0. Szczesny was in no man’s land for the second game running when it came to a corner (Brighton’s opener at the weekend).
Kieran Gibbs went off injured and was replaced by Andre Santos in the 37th minute. Gibbs is expected to be out for 3 weeks with this injury.
In the dying minutes of the first half Szczesny rushed out to try and win the ball, but Jordan Henderson got there first. The midfielder tried to lob Szczesny who was off his line but his effort went inches over the bar.
Liverpool deserved their lead at the break. They had defended well and Arsenal were poor going forward in honesty. They were still in the game though and they needed to respond in the second half.
They did start the second half better. Lukas Podolski had a penalty appeal turned down and Theo Walcott headed over the bar, but the next goal would go Liverpool’s way once again.
Jordan Henderson had about 4 defenders to beat and he went past all of them, including Andre Santos who was easily outmuscled by Henderson. Henderson proceeded to stick the ball in the back of the net and looked to have sealed all three points for the Reds.
Arsenal would need a quick response if they were to salvage anything from this. Four minutes after Henderson’s goal, the Gunners had a lifeline. Jack Wilshere floated in a free-kick which Olivier Giroud headed home to give Arsenal hope.
Just three minutes later and the hosts were level. Theo Walcott had been denied a couple of times by Reina in this game, but his shot had too much power for Reina to handle this time. Incredibly, just 7 minutes after going 2-0 down, Arsenal were level and on the front foot. They looked the more likely team to win it now.
Liverpool recognised this and brought on Jose Enrique for Daniel Sturridge. A defensive move by Brendan Rodgers who now wanted his side to at least pick up a point from a game they had seemingly won just 10 minutes earlier.
Arsenal cranked up the pressure. Per Mertesacker headed over whilst he had his back to the goal. If that one had gone in I don’t think he would have known a lot about it!. Santi Cazorla saw his shot go across the face of goal and Pepe Reina pulled off another fine save to deny Giroud.
Podolski then crossed for Giroud who was all set to score the winner, but unfortunately the Frenchman couldn’t connect with the cross and complete an unlikely comeback.
In stoppage time, Liverpool could have won it themselves. Unsurprisingly, Andre Santos gave the ball away and Szczesny had to make a fine save to prevent Suarez netting the winner.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point. Both sides could have won it, but I’d say Liverpool won the first half and Arsenal won the second, so it probably worked out about right. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t do either side much good, but a point is better than nothing, especially from Arsenal’s point of view, having been 2-0 down.
Stoke visit the Emirates on Saturday afternoon and games are becoming must wins for Arsenal now. Stoke is a must win. They really can’t afford to drop many points between now and the end of the season.