Tag Archives: Liverpool

Match Report: Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool (Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)

Arsenal (1) 1 Liverpool (0) 1

(Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties)

FA Community Shield

Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London HA9 0WS

Saturday, 29th August 2020. Kick-off time: 4.30pm

(4-2-3-1) Emiliano Martínez; Rob Holding, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin; Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno, William Saliba, Cédric Soares, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Sead Kolašinac, Emile Smith-Rowe, Tyreece John-Jules, James Olayinka.

Scorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (12 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 40%

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).

Assistant Referees: Mark Scholes (Berks and Bucks) and Marc Perry (Birmingham)

Fourth Official: Andrew Madley (West Riding)

Reserve Assistant Referee: Dan Robathan (Norfolk)

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR David Coote (Nottinghamshire); AVAR Dan Cook (Hampshire)

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restructions

This is going to be such a strange start to the new season. A mere six days after the Champions League Final, and a fortnight before a ball is kicked in anger at any Premiership match, the curtain opener formerly known as the Charity Shield is upon us, just twenty-nine days after our superb victory in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea in this very stadium. Still, it is what it is (to paraphrase popular parlance) and for our fourth appearance in this oft-derided competition against Liverpool, (the Premiership champions of course), we welcome back Mohamed Elneny, who spent last season on loan at Besiktas in Turkey. Unfortunately, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian nor Nicolas Pépé are available for selection today, however William Saliba is listed as one of the substitutes, so it is possible that he could make his debut for the club at some point during the proceedings.

The opening minutes of the match were fairly pedestrian, which as expected, saw both sides test each other in order to exploit any possible weaknesses; despite Liverpool getting the ball in our net (which was quite rightly cancelled out by the VAR team for offside), it was us that opened the scoring with a superb goal in the twelfth minute. Collecting a superb pass up on the left wing from Bukayo Saka, our top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slotted an inch perfect shot past Alisson from outside of the penalty area with his right foot. A few mintues later, we almost scored a second, when Bukayo Saka passed unselfishly to Eddie Nketiah, whose low twenty yard short was pushed around the post by the Liverpool goalkeeper. Despite Liverpool coming back at us, we held our shape extremely well under pressure, and the defence were doing a sterling job in neutralising our opponents’ strikers and midfield players. Although the ball appeared to be in our half for most of the first half, in the minutes before the break, we created more chances for ourselves, and we went into the break deservedly leading the match by a goal.

The game started to open up in the second half, and although both sides had their chances, it was Arsenal who looked more organised and controlled. Excitingly, nine minutes after the restart, the magnificent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang simply took the ball from Virgil van Dijk and ran forty yards before slotting the ball to Bukayo Saka, who let the ball run away from him, which was a good chance missed. Hector Bellerin made way for Cédric Soares just after the hour, and the lads carried on as usual, with the same shape and direction. Bukayo Saka was unlucky not to score when a superb pass from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found him again unmarked on the right, and sadly a couple of minutes later, a mix-up in the six-yard box led to Takumi Minamino equalising for Liverpool from close range with eighteen minutes of the game remaining. Liverpool fancied their chances now, and applied considerable pressure on us, which we were able to withstand very well, but with eight minutes of the game left, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Sead Kolasinac replaced Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Kieran Tierney, just to get some fresh legs on the pitch. Joe Willock went wide with a glancing header, and despite all this and more, penalties were destined to settle this match. We are well versed enough to understand that in the wonderful world of English football, the equation is simple: nervous footballer + penalty kick = heartbreak. But not this time for us. All five of our penalty takers (Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cédric Soares, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) were cool, calm and extremely collected, and on sheer nerves of steel alone, these men ensured that our captain lifted the trophy for the sixteenth time in ninety years. And funnily enough, we have now won more trophies this month than our dear “friends” at N17 have won in over twenty years!

Well, just how good was that! We have now all seen a glimpse of the future under Mikel Arteta, and if everything falls into place as we hope it does, then we can surely look forward to a bright and successful future. Obviously we all hope that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signs his contract, and that Ainsley Maitland-Niles stays as well; it is becoming patently obvious that Mikel Arteta is creating a team in his own image, and with the confidence that winning trophies can bring, the forthcoming season should be an interesting one indeed. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, 12th September at 3.00pm (Premier League). Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

5 reasons why Liverpool should be crowned Premier League CHAMPIONS

Liverpool deserve it

Liverpool are 25 points clear of Manchester City in 2nd, with 30 points left to play for.

The Premier League was done and dusted many weeks ago. It has been a case for some time of when Liverpool win it, not if they win it.

Whilst arguments can be had over who would be relegated, finish top 4 or in the Europa League, no such arguments could be had over who would be Premier League champions.

Liverpool are worthy champions

But no one would care winning

If they handed Liverpool the title tomorrow, no one would really care about it. There are much more important things going on in the world at the moment.

And by the time football would restart with fans in the stadium, the gloss and boasting of them being champions would have well and truly worn off.

And they could not celebrate

Liverpool would be handed the title at the training ground. There would be team lifting of the trophy in front of its own fans, no fire works, no champagne and no celebration.

There would be no open top bus parade and no big drink up for fans to celebrate.

Celebrating winning is as big as the actual winning of the trophy.

When an Olympian is awarded a medal years later following opponents failing drugs tests, they talk about how heartbreaking it is that they could not celebrate their success at the time, on the track.

Without being able to celebrate, it will almost be like it never happened.

There will always be an asterisk

Whilst they deserve to win it, the records will always show the 2019/20 winners with an asterisk next to it for an incomplete season.

They would not have won the title be getting more points than all other teams over a 38 game season. They would not have won the title by being the best in the league over 19 home and 19 away games.

They would be given the title after playing 29 out of 38 games. They would not be really winners.

Liverpool would have been given the league title, rather than have won it.

And we would never hear the end of it if they weren’t awarded the trophy

By giving them the trophy, there will always be that asterisk against it. With everything that is happening in the world we would quickly get over them being a champions. By the time fans return to stadiums, the 2019/20 season will be a distant memory. We might even have a 2020/21 champion by then.

This season would quickly be consigned to history.

But if Liverpool were not given the title, we would hear about it for decades.

They would paint it as unfair, claim to be the victims and would sing about it for years. We would probably never hear the end of it if they were not rewarded the trophy.

So better to give them the trophy now, get it over and done with and move on.

Keenos

I LOVE the FA Cup (just a pity foreign managers are trying to destroy it)

I love the FA Cup.

For me it will always be the greatest cup competition on earth.

I grew up in the 90s (was born mid-80s) in a working class family in North-East London. We did not have the money for Sky TV. That meant the only football I got to watch was the FA Cup.

It was actually the FA Cup that made me fall in love with The Arsenal.

Watching the FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Tottenham in 1991 as a 6-year-old, I had decided to support whoever loses (I grew up in a family with little interest in football). 6-year-old me’s favourite colour was also red, so I was hoping Arsenal would lose so that I could support them.

I do not remember the game but Arsenal lost, and from that moment I became an Arsenal fan.

My next real memory of Arsenal was the 1993 FA Cup Final.

Back in those days the FA Cup Final was an all day event. The BBC would start off in the teams hotel for breakfast, live broadcast the coaches going into the stadium players on the pitch and so on.

I remember being in my kit, going out to the garden to kick a balloon pretending I played for Arsenal – no player in particular. At this point in my life the only connection I had with Arsenal was the kits I was bought. From memory I had never watched another game on TV since 1991, and did not know the players.

It finished 1-1. I do not remember watching the replay. It was past my bedtime.

The 1994 European Cup Winners Cup followed and that was it, I was hooked. But it all came from the FA Cup.

My love affair with the competition leads me to being extremely offended with the way managers, the media and the FA themselves treat the competition.

For as long as I can remember, people have questioned “the magic of the cup” and talked about its decline. But clubs, TV companies and the authorities are killing it themselves.

Tonight we play Bournemouth away. We will get some obnoxious pundit talking about the demise of the cup, whilst ignoring the fact that playing a game on a Monday night is part of the problem.

In recent years we have seen more games then ever be played on a Friday night, Saturday lunch time and Saturday afternoon.

3rd round FA Cup day used to be a day out. Sit in the pub with a huge accumulator watching the 3o’clock kick offs come in. With them now spread out over 4 days, it just is not the same.

The FA have removed the European place for the runners-up (if the winners had already qualified through the league). No longer will you get Millwall having a favourable run and going on a European tour.

A place in Europe was a well deserved prize for a lesser club if they had made it through to the final only to face and lose to one of the big boys.

The change happened from 2016, which denied Crystal Palace fans a European tour. Likewise Watford last year; thrashed in the final, no European football to help drown their sorrows.

For clubs like Palace and Watford, a cup run was their best chance of European football. Hull City, Stoke City, Cardiff City & Southampton have all qualified for Europe in recent years having finished runners-up in the cup. By removing the chance of getting into Europe as losing finalists, the FA enforce the view that survival in the Premier League is more important.

We then have the clubs themselves.

I have no issues with managers but out changed XIs in the cup. They have a squad of 25 players. It is there job to shuffle the pack and use them how they see fit. And with the top 6 especially, they have a wage bill of hundreds of millions and a squad filled with internationals.

What I can not stand is the (usual foreign) managers moaning about the cup.

We have Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola recently moaning about replays. About how England should scrap either the League Cup or FA Cup.

I am sorry, but these are foreign men who simply do not get English football. They want to come here, be paid millions, but then change the things that the fans love. If they do not want replays, if they do not want 2 domestic cups, maybe stick to managing in Spain?

Klopp yesterday talked about how in the replay against Shrewsbury Town he will be putting out the U23 team and Neil Critchley, the U23 manager will be taking charge.

Liverpool have a squad that is paid £264million. It contains over 20 players capped by their country.

Klopp put out a team that contained experience centre backs Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren; behind them was Adrian in goal. Fabinho, Takumi Minamino & Divock Origi were also in the team.

An experienced team, they were 2-0 up against Shrewsbury Town – 16th in League One. They drew 2-2. Mo Salah, Firminho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all bought on to try and grab a winner.

Instead of deflecting and moaning about replays, Klopp should be calling out the performance of his own players who let a 2-0 lead slip.

Shrewsbury Town’s wage bill is just £3.5million. That is less than what most Liverpool players earn. The youngsters who started for the Scousers will also be on more money than any Shrewsbury Town player.

Liverpool might have already played 37 games this season; but Shrewsbury Town have played 36.

Whichever way you look at it, Klopp has no excuses over his side drawing against Shrewsbury. And his post-game comments shows that he just does not get the magic of the cup. It is no wonder that Liverpool have never made it past the 5th round under Klopp with his attitude.

And it is an awful attitude.

My problem with the likes of Klopp and Guardiola is these are not men who going to spend decades in the English game. Both will soon move on to their new paymasters. But whilst they are here, they are determined to wreck the greatest cup competition on earth. It just is not right.

If you can not respect the country you are living in, its customs, then maybe you should find another country.

Scrapping replays, letting the U23 manager take change, it is damaging in the long term.

The FA Cup is why I fell in love with football. It builds greater bonds for the children of Shrewsbury, Oxford and Exeter to their local club. Taking them out of the grasp of those super clubs that are hundreds of miles away.

A replay against Liverpool at Anfield will earn Shrewsbury Town in the region of £1million. It will mean a new training ground, or a new stand. It will transform the club. Transform the town.

But Klopp is sitting there in his ivory tower earning himself more money than Shrewsbury’s annual turnover, commenting about English football and English competitions. It shows he just does not understand.

Liverpool fans should call out Klopp. Make it clear that they do not agree with his stance. Likewise if Guardiola, Mikel Arteta or Jose Mourinho make disparaging comments, fans of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea should make it clear that they disagree.

The FA Cup is the fans competition. From non-league to Premier League. If you do not understand its importance in English football, then you do not understand English football.


Yesterday we were informed that Yogis Warrior had sadly passed away. Stuart wrote A Cultured Left Foot. He was one of the best bloggers out there and inspired many others to “pick up a pen”. He wrote for years because he loved Arsenal. RIP, thoughts with his family.