By Walter Broeckx
A few unexpected changes to the starting line up. Holding takes the place of Mustafi who drops to the bench. Bellerin on the left again and The Ox on the right are the wing backs.
The biggest news however comes up front. Alexis making his first start of the season at the expense of Lacazette who drops to the bench. If Giroud plays and scores it would be his 100th goal for Arsenal.
Arsenal XI: Cech, Holding, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Özil, Alexis, Welbeck
On the beach: Ospina, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Coquelin, Walcott, Lacazette, Giroud.
The first thing of importance is the fact that Atkinson has been replaced by the 4th official. The first attempt is from Liverpool after some 5 minutes when Can heads well wide. It has been a midfield match so far. The first chance is for Arsenal when Alexis plays the ball to Welbeck who half pulled stumbled when he took his shot that went over. A low cross from Liverpool finds Salah at the far post but Cech with a brilliant stop in two times prevents the opening goal. The second stop Cech had to made was when the ball bounced from Bellerin. No score after 15 minutes.
Arsenal losing the ball in their own half when Xhaka took the wrong option (always take the easy pass in your own half…) and Liverpool can cross and Firminho can head the ball in. 1-0 after 17 minutes. I hate to say it but Xhaka with the wrong pas option again being costly.
Arsenal lose the ball again but this time the effort goes wide as Cech made sure he came out right. Lovren then stops Welbeck from going away on the flank and gets a well deserved yellow card. Welbeck then almost can block a clearance from the Liverpool keeper but the ball bounces kindly for Liverpool. Welbeck then gets an underserved yellow card when Moreto kicked him and pretended it was Welbeck who kicked him. Gomez is the next one for Liverpool to get a yellow card when he stops Ramsey on a promising run on the flank. The Liverpool keeper can punch away the free kick. Salah forces Cech to a good save with a low shot on a Liverpool counter. Salah then clearly in an offside position when he scored, a correct decision from the assistant. Still 1-0 after 30 minutes.
Mane has a wild shot after a ball was cleared and it went well wide but all the shots coming from Liverpool so far. Bellerin losing the ball when he could have started an Arsenal attack but Xhaka comes to the rescue this time at the expense of a corner. Alexis with scores but the flag had gone up for an offside. No replay is shown of this incident. And that is always something that makes me suspicious. Arsenal showing a bit more fight in the last 10 minutes or so and going forward but then you leave yourself open to the counter. Mane does what he usually does againszt Arsenal and curles it in the far corner. 2-0 after 40 minutes. Xhaka got booked in the process of that goal for a late challenge.
Arsenal attack but the shot from Holding from a promising position is blocked. Meanwhile we have seen half a dozen of replays of unimportant incidents but none of the not given Arsenal goal. They probably are looking for some magnifying glass to focus on the studs of Alexis? The Ox looks absent, Bellerin on the left flank doesn’t work so we don’t have anything going forward on the flank. Arsenal go in at half time being 2-0 down.
Coqeulin came on for Ramsey at half time. Arsenal trying to put pressure on Liverpool but the only result is Özil being booked after 49 minutes. Welbeck almost winning the ball from the keeper but again he is lucky to escape with a goalkick. Bellerin on the right flank in what looks a 4 man defence now and The Ox also more on the right flank. Liverpool get a corner after Can headed the ball wide. Probably new laws of the game? Monreal losing the ball to Salah but Cech denies him with great stop and the rebound is fired over. Arsenal get a corner and they clear it and Bellerin has a bad touch and Salah can go on his own an this time Cech can’t stop him. 3-0 after 57 minutes. Again a personal error leading to a goal.
Arsenal again losing the ball without pressure deep in their own half but luckily Salah makes a foul when trying to go past Monreal. After 61 minutes Lacazette and Giroud come for Alexis and The Ox. Arsenal have a bit of a promising situation in the Liverpool penalty area but in the end the shot goes well wide. But after that Liverpool again dangerous on Arsenal giving the ball away to easily. After Giroud heads it to Lacazette who shoots wide Bellerin has to save a ball from the line after Cech could only half stop the first effort after again a bad control from an Arsenal player. Holding gets a deserved yellow card after having a bad control and trying to make up for it. Arsenal still 3-0 down after 75 minutes.
Liverpool attack and Salah sends a cross to the far post and Sturridge heads it over the line. 4-0 after 77 minutes. I have never seen an Arsenal team making so many technical errors so far. The match fizzled out and Giroud didn’t score after a free kick as he headed over.
Bad passes, bad controls, wrong decision making… you can’t win a match if you play like that and if you play against a good team like Liverpool you will get punished for it. And if you add the lethargy some players showed at times compared to the fighting spirit of Liverpool players you can not be happy.
I do admit I don’t understand the starting line up with Bellerin on the left flank. It didn’t work last week and surely didn’t work now. I hope we have seen the last of this. What I also don’t understand is not player Per. If you look at the first goal one might wonder if Per would have defended the centre more? I think some players are not up to the Arsenal standard we might expect. I hope the international break will get the players back focussed and hope they do a better job than what they did today. The Stoke defeat doesn’t count for me as a real defeat as it was down to the referee but this was all to us being not good enough in this match.
For me some players can leave before the end of next week and give some of the youngsters a chance.