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By Walter Broeckx
This was a game that we all have seen a lot in recent seasons. But usually with a reverse score line. How many times have we seen Arsenal dominate a game and still at the end of the game we stood there empty handed. And on such occasions the reaction from some part of the fan base was that we are useless and rubbish and here is a list of players who should be sold as they were not good enough to wear the shirt.
Then the pundits would go out and applaud the other team and praise them for their resilience and hard work. Curious to see if they now will do the same thing.
So just try to imagine this game the other way round. Just try to imagine it. Just try to pretend that it was us who dominated a large part of the game. Just try to imagine it was us who hit the woodwork twice in this game. Just imagine it was Arsenal who have seen the keeper of the other team performing heroics in goal. I think in recent years we can all remember a dozen such games and with Arsenal losing the game.
Now just imagine us going in front with an own goal. Okay, this looks a bit more difficult because it was usually the other way round as did happened today. And then imagine the other team stealing the points away at the end. Just imagine it was us losing 1-2 despite dominating a large part of the game (certainly the first half). What would the reaction be from a part of the fans?
I’m not going to write it down. Because others who are more experienced in having such thoughts can do it much better. But it would contain the usual “Wenger Out” comments. It would contain the abuse of some players ‘who after this debacle have definitely shown to be not good enough”. Of course I write this in a mild fashion, but you know that the words they use are far more abusive.
Now of course those people will still say Wenger out and this and that player still should be kicked out even after this narrow and hard fought victory. But the point is how would the average Liverpool fan feel now?
Will he shout King Kenny out? Will he write about which players should be sold? I do think when they look back at this game they will point at the ball against the post and the missed chances and the good saves from Szczesny. And those with an eye for good football will acknowledge what a great player Robin Van Persie is.
I think they will say: well such games happen. You play well, you get the chances but you don’t score them and then you get unlucky because the other team takes their chances. Saying: this is football, sometimes you win when you don’t really deserve it and sometimes you lose when you don’t really deserve it. But is this a moment to go overboard and question all and everyone? I don’t think so. And still whenever we are on the receiving end of such a game we see the same people coming out and saying all those negative things about Arsenal, the manager and the players.
Yes we were a bit lucky to get the 3 points on Saturday. But as we have seen so many times at the Emirates the visiting keeper can sometimes just be unbeatable (bar the odd own goal). I have no problem in admitting that we were the luckiest team on the day. Oh and I enjoyed it very much to be honest. I enjoy it enormous how our team fought and showed a big heart.
I enjoyed how Szczesny stopped the penalty and then kept the ball out the goal when the rebound was struck from just 7 meters out. I have been a goalkeeper in my playing days and in fact I would say that the first stop was a bad one. I think Szczesny will have kicked himself for pushing the ball back in that area. But maybe he did it just to make that impressive second save? What a save!
I also enjoyed the moment after Koscielny miss kicked the ball in his own goal. Don’t worry I was disgusted at the moment it happened. But the way Szczesny picked him up and gave him a pat on the back in the style of: “don’t worry Kos, we will put this right and just keep on doing your job”. It’s one of those moments when as a centre back you just miss kick the ball. I remember an own goal from Mr. Arsenal Tony Adams some years ago in the same way. It can happen to the best.
I also enjoyed the moment when Sagna crossed the ball to RVP to head in the equaliser. Sagna can’t cross was the word of those who know more than Wenger through the last seasons. Maybe he has practised his crossing the last weeks because this was an excellent cross. And an excellent finish.
I also enjoyed the way we played in the second half. This was far better than the first half. We battled and we fought for every meter of ground. Losing Arteta was a big blow. The man who runs the midfield for a great part is very important for our game. And Diaby did a good job at first as he really had some great touches and made no mistakes. Alas we lost him again and this is the second player we lost today.
And the icing on the cake came in extra time. Song (who according to some still not good enough to wear the shirt) with an inch perfect pass to RVP and Robin did what he can so exquisitely. He just volleyed the ball past Reina. A superb pass and a superb finish to nick the 3 points. This was almost a copy from the goal against Everton in the 125-year celebration game. Maybe Song and RVP keep them for the games against teams from Liverpool?
So what did we learn today?
- Spending £75m in one year on forwards is no guarantee to score more goals than a team with a £3m centre forward.
- Liverpool lost their first game at Anfield for over a year and we know it is difficult team to beat them in Liverpool.
- Arsenal has maybe more determination in them than people thought they had.
- We scored 3 and Liverpool 0
It was not the best game of the season from Arsenal, but maybe it was the best win of the season. And maybe whenever we lose a game in such a way we don’t need to go overboard and throw all and everyone out. After all such victories or losses are just part of that funny old game called football.