Report: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
By Randy Osae
A pair of staggering strikes from Van Persie and Robbie Keane canceled out each other as Arsenal were made to hold on for a mere but fair point by a battling Liverpool and perhaps – the talk of the match – Adebayor’s sending off.
In the end, Arsenal’s title ambitions were not exactly intact as to plans, the eight-point gap remains and could be more should Chelsea win on Monday. But Arsene Wenger’s side can take good value of the outcome, because the reds looked poised since equalizing and Adebayor’s sending off after a second booking could have worsened matters.
The only change from Arsenal’s starting XI was Nasri’s welcoming at the expense of Diaby.
The opening minutes were very gritty and saw several soft touches and passes. But the visitors were the first to hit the target through Gerard’s low drive after Robbie Keane’s lay-off with his back to goal.
Arsenal responded with a swinging Adebayor header after a neat cross from Sagna. The game began to balance and both teams looked more aimed in attack.
And Van Persie utilized his brilliance to put Arsenal in pole position. Samir Nasri had sent a looping ball from the half-way line and a targeted Van Persie chested, and dragged it past Carragher and Agger before firing it home with his weaker foot.
That goal ignited the game’s competitively as Liverpool started moves to pick up themselves. On several occasions, Manuel Almunia was called out of his box to clear an offside-trapped long ball which had beaten Djourou and Gallas’ alert.
Arsenal seemed to be containing Liverpool’s menace until Agger booted a heavy clearance from the visitors’ end. Robbie Keane then out-ran Arsenal’s center-backs and smashed past Almunia from about 15 yards out.
It was a sumptuous response to both Van Persie’s remarkable effort earlier and the Arsenal crowd who jeered every touch the former Spurs striker made on the ball.
Liverpool nearly completed a heart-breaking turn around when Steven Gerard was left unmarked with a left-footed tap-in to do, but the reds’ skipper missed a sitter for once.
In an attempt to win back possession and spur Arsenal onto a counter attack before half-time, Fabregas wounded his knee in a clash with Alonso. Diaby replaced the Spaniard for the second half as Liverpool made their gain of momentum clear.
The reds’ advantage to take the initiative was helped by Adebayor’s sending off on 62 minutes for two similar challenges. To be fair, the Togolese’s first booking was debatable but the second which cost Arsenal had little arguments after he used his armed with his opponent.
The home crowd did their best to inspire their side – booing referee Howard Webb and every Liverpool possession till the end of the game while cheering on Arsenal’s rare advances to find an unlikely winner.
Diaby, Van Persie and especially Nasri made efforts with Song playing the Fabregas role of assisting from the middle. But Arsenal were obviously toothless as better opportunities went Liverpool’s way.
Daniel Agger’s thunderous strike from long-range brushed off the post’s upright and Nabil El Zhar’s header went just wide. Indeed, both chances looked net-bound on travel as Arsenal narrowly nursed their point.
Had it have been 11 vs 11 we would have won this game. Liverpool tired in the second half after harrying us so much in the first, it’s just a shame we didn’t have 11 on the pitch to capitalise, but in any case we battled well and should be proud
WOw what a game….and I know I said I would never post again..but I realized I shouldn’t post pre game..and will share my thoughts for the post game..
Here is what I have to say about today.
1. I’m not going to complain about the ref, he was rubbish and there is nothing we can do/change about it. I just hope the FA looks at the way he held the game and take some action on future games.
2. I am very proud to be a Gunner fan after this game. The starting 11 was what I like to see and it’s starting to gell with these guys. I would maybe replace the right winger but Song did a great job towards the end.
3. The way those 11 men fought today and left it all out on the field was excellent and outstanding. I couldn’t ask for a bette show of heart and character that what the 10 men on the field left out there for us. The way they didn’t back into a corner and the way they kept looking to score. It made Liverpool look silly how they couldn’t do shit against us with 10 men and our star captain out. I loved the way the game was shapping up and if only we had 11 I’m sure we would have won.
4. Only person I felt didn’t do his best and didn’t perform the best was Diaby. Everyone else seemed to have left it out on the field but Diaby just didn’t do it. Denilison was an animal and for all those people who trash him, get off his back. He did what he was supposed to do today and he did AMAZING! Remember he’s what only 21…the more and more I watch him play the better and better CDM he becomes. I hope we keep him because he’s going to be a stud in a couple of years.
5. The fans, they were awesome, it made for a action packed game from what I could see and hear. And the way they received Ebou…class was back in form again for Gooners after their poor showing to him earlier. And the way they let the ref and opposing team have it…classic and hilarious. Bet it was a blast being there.
6. RVP…amazing what can you say, that guy gets back on D sets up most of our Offense and plays with heart…and that goal? SO far goal of the year for me with this team. Playing with just him up top was hard but it made it worth while and almost sneaked on in. Much different from when watching just Nicholas play there by himself.
7. All in all I’m happy with how the TEAM played but upset about only taking 1 point from this.
8. Give the boys a rest for the holiday and let them come back stronger in 09, remember we were up 10 points last year at this time and still lost it. Anything can happen and I think things will be fine. Our boys will turn it around and least put some pressure on the top 3 going into the Spring. Get a result at Villa next which I feel they should and will and then move on from there.
9. And last post I’m sorry but I wanted to get this off my chest…I feel we need to buy transfers but now is not the time. WHy waste a ton of cash on half ass players when all the real talent shows up at the end of the year? That way save the money get what we need and see who leaves. Eduard ocoming back will be a big jolt to the moral of the team and hopefully he will regain his form.
God speed gooner fans and have a safe and great Holiday…see you next year!
Amazing Arsnal/USa Gunner
Puh-lease…he got slapped around like a little bitch all game.
Served up the usual 6-7 turnovers as well.
Guy has no wheels either.
Is it any wonder we got issues this season when a player of this calibre can hold down a starting position.