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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Arsenal blown away in thrashing against Liverpool

Arsenal were given an absolute hammering on Saturday as they suffered a thrashing at the hands of Liverpool. We were on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat in which four goals were scored in the opening 20 minutes. The defeat was very costly, not just was it a terrible start to our tough run of fixtures coming up, but it also meant we dropped down to second place. The only consolation from a very bad weekend for us was that Man City were involved in a goalless draw with Norwich. One would probably think from looking at the score-line that our best team wasn't playing. You could argue that it wasn't due to the numerous injuries we have but it was still a strong enough team. Jack Wilshere returned to the side after injury in place of Lukas Podolski whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain moved out wide after his two goal cameo against Palace.
The Gunners usually solid defence this season was completely blown away by the pace and tenacity of the Liverpool front line. Until this weekend, we've been the only team to keep both Suarez and Sturridge at bay this season. We had one of the best defensive records in the League this season and also boasted the best away form in the league. The result therefore was quite staggering. We played a ridiculously high line and because of the pace of Liverpool's incisive counter attacks, it ultimately led to our downfall. It didn't help by the fact that we went 1-0 down within the first 54 seconds of the game. Suarez drew a foul from Mertesacker, Gerrard delivered the free-kick, and Skrtel fired home. Skrtel was to then double the hosts lead ten minutes later. Our zonal marking was at fault as Koscielny failed to get close to Skrtel who was allowed to head home.

Mesut Ozil once more had quite a poor game and was non-existent in yet another big game. On his day he's a world class player and has the ability to unlock any defence. However we haven't seen that enough on a consistent basis. Players like Cazorla, Silva and Mata were all far more inspirational last season, scoring and assisting on a far more consistent basis than Ozil has this season. It is worth bearing in mind that this is the German's first season in English football, and once he's got used to the Premier League, he could be an incredible threat.

Ozil was at fault for their third goal though. He was muscled off the ball too easily but it didn't help that both fullbacks were playing as wingers and were too far up the pitch. Liverpool therefore managed to break away which lead to Suarez feeding Sterling at the back post for a simple tap in. The fourth meanwhile was a perfect example of the ridiculous high line we were playing at the back. Coutinho played a great ball in behind and Sturridge was left with a simple one-on-one. Twelve minutes after the break Liverpool had a fifth and Sterling had a second. Again it was another ball that was played in behind. Szczesny made the save but the ball was then fired home on the rebound.

Anyway, onto the very few positives there were from the game. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere were the stand out performers from a very poor performance. Wilshere was a driving force and looked like the only one who had any passion during the game. As for the Ox, he proved a threat and won the penalty for our goal. Mikel Arteta was the man who took it and he dispatched it comfortably. It was too little too late by then though.

It was a disappointing result but with more tough games to come it should mean there are some excellent chances for the team to avenge itself. It was a bitterly tough result but we must move on and focus on United in midweek. We have a chance for revenge when we play Liverpool again next weekend, but in the FA Cup. We managed to bounce back after the defeats to Villa, Man City and Napoli, and we need to do that again now!

The teams line-ups:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho, Gerrard(76), Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Sturridge(66), Suarez(86).
Subs: Jones, Kelly, Allen(66), Ibe(76), Moses, Alberto, Aspas(86).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal(60), Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil(60), Cazorla, Giroud(60).
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs(60), Rosicky(60), Gnabry, Podolski(60), Bendtner.

My man of the match: Jack Wilshere.

Referee: Michael Oliver.
Attendance: 44,701. 

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