By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal team at the start: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Wilshere, Özil, Alexis, Iwobi, Lacazette.
On the beach: Ospina, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Walcott, Coquelin, Elneny, Welbeck
Arsenal having most of the ball in the opening minutes but no real goal chances following. Then Henderson went down injured and he had to come off for Liverpool. Liverpool trying to force Arsenal to a foul high up the field and then counter quickly but no real goal chances for them also. Still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Liverpool having the ball more and Cech has to come out for a few crosses. And has to make a save when a cross finds the head of a Liverpool striker but he pushes the ball out for a corner. Alexis gives it to Lacazette who gives it again to Alexis with a backheel but his first touch lets him down and the Liverpook keeper can smother the ball with his body. Liverpool counter and Firmino heads towards the goal but it goes just wide. Liverpool counter after Wilshere lost his footing and a cross from Salah takes an unlucky deflection and falls on the head of Coutinho who can head it over Cech who was taken bij surprise by the bounce of the ball and was in no-mansland. 0-1 after 26 minutes. Arsenal caught with too many players in front of the ball. Arsenal trying to react but the passing not as it should be to create the opening. Still 0-1 after half an hour.
Liverpool players first on the second ball and Firmino takes a shot that goes just over the crossbar. That would have been unstoppable. Iwobi and Alexis their passing really terrible be it too hard or too soft but never accurate. Losing the ball so often and setting up dangerous Liverpool counters. Meanwhile Monreal on the floor after having committed a foul needing some treatment. In the absence of Monreal Liverpool take the free kick but luckily Lovren messes up his cross. Lacazette being fouled just outside the Liverpool penalty area but the wall stops the effort from Özil. Firminho almost escapes after losing the ball in our own half again but a joint effort from Koscielny and Cech can stop the danger. Arsenal playing too slow and not precise enough in the first half so far. Atkinson letting a few borderline tackles from Liverpool go but no injuries. An unfortunate slip from Koscielny allows Salah to go on goal but Cech saves the effort and then Mane blasts over the rebound. At the other end Bellerin finds Lacazette with a cross but he tries to head it to Bellerin but a defender comes in between and the chance is lost. Too many bad passes from Arsenal and so you cannot play good football. We really have to up our passing in the second half. 0-1 after 45 minutes.
Mustafi came on in the place of Monreal at the start of the second half. Monreal injured himself in the first half and was looking troubled since then. Milner sends Wilshere in the air with a wild kick but no card. Lacazette just can’t find Alexis but get a corner. Liverpool clear the poorly taken corner from Alexis and counter but lucky Cech with a good low save to the shot from Salah. Arsenal lose the ball at the Liverpool corner flag and Liverpool counter and Salah his shot takes a slight deflection and curls past Cech in the far corner. 0-2 after 52 minutes. Is this a replica of the home match where we were out-countered as well?
But wait a minute. Arsenal go to the other end, the ball looked lost for a second but Bellerin quick to react and his cross was well anticipated by Alexis who headed home from close range. GOAL! 1-2 after 53 minutes. Arsenal continue now and when Iwobi gives the ball to Xhaka he takes a shot from distance that beats Mignolet and goes in under the crossbar. GOAL!! 2-2 after 56 minutes. A swerving ball but the keeper had to do better. Iwobi goes in the book for pulling back Mane when he lost the ball. Correct card but the kicking earlier on went unpunished. Arsenal win the ball back and from Wilshere the ball goes to Xhaka who playes it to Özil. Özil feeds it to Lacazette who gives it back to Özil with a backpass and the German lifts it over the diving keeper. GOAL!!! 3-2 after 59 minutes. What a turnaround in 6 minutes. Arsenal leading 3-2 after 60 minutes.
Wilshere with a good interception and then Alexis gives it to Xhaka but this time his kick goes off target. At other end Mane suddenly at the end of a long cross but Cech with a great block and then the ball goes out for a goalkick. Xhaka catching Milner from behind and again gives no card. Arsenal with a great attack starting on the left flank and in the end the cross from Bellerin is cleared for a corner in front of Lacazette. Again from the corner Liverpool can break away but this time Wilshere can clear to Cech who can kick the ball out. Have to pay attention to those situations certainly when you are leading. Arsenal then almost with a corner but Alexis slips and the ball ends up in front of Firminho who is completely unmarked at the penalty area and Cech can palm the ball but he cannot keep it out. 3-3 after 70 minutes. That is 3 times the ball taking a what you could call a lucky deflection in favour of Liverpool. Mane trying to win a penalty but that was even a bridge too far for Atkinson. There was some pulling but well outside the penalty area and then he went down inside and got nothing. Still 3-3 after 75 minutes.
özil sets up Bellerin but Mignolet with a save. Iwobi goes off after 77 minutes and Welbeck comes on. Atkinson then helps the Liverpool keeper after having seen a foul from Wilshere on the keeper. Well I be damned…. Atkinson knows this rule!!!!!!! Both teams building in a bit of safety it seems after what have been amazing 30 minutes. Alexis with a shot from the corner of the penalty area almost surprising the Liverpool keeper but he can grab the ball after a few times. Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for Liverpool after 83 minutes. Liverpool counter and Salah takes a shot but it hits the outside of the net. Alexis goes off after 88 minutes and Walcott comes on. Lacazette just can’t find a team mate when he was with his back to the goal. Wilshere to Özil whose high cross has to be pushed over by Mignolet. It would have dropped in. Özil with a last attempt but it went well off target.
After a highly entertaining match the score remains at 3-3.