Arsenal (0) 1 Liverpool (0) 1
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Saturday, 3rd November 2018. Kick-off time: 5.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Leno: Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Kolašinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Özil, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Cech, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Lichtsteiner, Smith-Rowe, Iwobi, Welbeck.
Yellow Cards: Lacazette
Referee: Andre Marriner
There are so many memorable events from the past that have involved these two leviathans of the English game; cup finals, championship deciders, Charity Shield matches, along with great performances from legendary players, it would be impossible to pick out a highlight from our respective histories, except to say that when Liverpool come to The Emirates, the atmosphere becomes almost fever pitch. Whatever the result of today’s match, all we can hope for is that our lessons have been learned with regards to our mistakes of this season so far, and that we walk away worthy victors against one of our top rivals.
Our team today is the strongest that Mr. Emery can assemble at this moment in time for the visit of Liverpool, and the inclusion of Sead Kolašinac in place of the injured Nacho Monreal shows good intent. Unlike so many games this season, Arsenal showed strength and creativity from the start. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil were causing damage in the Liverpool defence, so much so, that they changed formation twice withon 20 minutes to try and stem the tide of Arsenal’s attacks. The speed of play was breathtaking at times, the accuracy of passing unbelievable. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette came close to scoring within minutes of each other, and when the half-time whistle went, both sides were pleased to recharge their batteries; so frenetic and intense were the first 45 minutes, that no injury time was added, which is testament indeed to the pace and power from all involved on the field of play.
The second half started and carried on in much the same vein as the first; Lucas Torreira consolidated his influence on the match, and was often a target for the frustrations of the physical Liverpool defenders. Unbelievable to think that this man is only 22 years old, as he plays with the maturity and wherewithal of a player some five or six years his senior. It was becoming obvious that the only way that anyone could score a goal would be either from fatigue or an error, and so it was the latter that Liverpool took the lead just after the hour. A low cross came in from Sadio Mané out on the left, Bernd Leno managed to push the ball away, but unfortunately it hit Rob Holding and the rebound fell to the feet of James Milner who clinically put the visitors ahead. No heads down, though; Arsenal regrouped and went about their business professionally and quickly. Liverpool changed formation yet again, this time to mirror Arsenal’s, and in doing so found themselves the on back foot, particularly down the channels.
Mr. Emery believes fervently in late substitutes, and so Alex Iwobi took the place of Henrikh Mkhitaryan on 68 minutes, Aaron Ramsey did the same for the physically shattered Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang five minutes later too. It became obvious that Sead Kolašinac was being given the runaround by Mo Salah, so Danny Welbeck took his place with just ten minutes left of the match. Fresh legs gave Arsenal new impetus and little more than two mintues later, the scores were even. Alexandre Lacazette managed to shield the ball away from the the Liverpool goalkeeper, turn, and as defenders were closing in on him, turned and scored a superb goal to redress the balance. This seemed to wske things up a bit, and for the rest of the match both sides came close to scoring, but in the end a one-all draw became the order of the day.
A superb performance by our team today, one that we can all be very proud of indeed. They have answered many questions, and in doing so, earned the applause and cheers from our supporters as they left the pitch. Every man fulfilled their promise, and all expectations were met. We now know how good we can be when facing one of the top Premiership teams, and the potential of the side that the manager is slowly building. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.