By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal team at the start: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
On the beach: Cech, Koscielny, Elneny, Guendouzi, Willock, Saka, Lacazette
A first dangerous attempt from Liverpool after some 6 minutes when Salah tries to flick a shot but the ball goes wide. Arsenal keeping Liverpool mostly out of our penalty area. Mane tries to choke Lichtsteiner with putting his hands around his neck and gets away with no card. Iwobi intercepting a pass in midfield from Liverpool but his left footed shot was saved by the keeper. The resulting corner was flagged for offside when a dangerous ball was whipped in. Mustafi who tried to make contact was not offside. Arsenal win the ball back on our left flank. A move between Iwobi and Ramsey and Iwobi gave a cross from the left that was turned in by the sliding Maitland-Niles. GOAL! 0-1 to The Arsenal after 12 minutes.
Salah runs with the ball and a sliding from a defender seems to save the ball but it bounces favourable for Firminho when Lichtsteiner wants to clear but the ball hits Mustafi and falls for the Brazilian striker who can easily tap it in. 1-1 after 15 minutes.
Arsenal lose the ball and Firminho starts a solo run and he can score again. 2-1 after 16 minutes. Again a defenders mistake when we lost the ball in midfield where we shouldn’t have lost it.
Ramsey almost with a shooting chance but a defender could nick the ball away from him. Mane with a shot but an easy take for Leno. Leno then first on the ball when Liverpool try to play a long ball. Robertson pulls Maitland-Niles down who was on a promising run on the flank and gets a yellow card. Mustafi with the header after the free kick against the crossbar but he was also offside. Oliver then letting go a few high feet. This heats things up a bit and Torreira needs some treatment after a few strong challenges. Still 2-1 after 30 minutes.
Arsenal clear a corner but Liverpool use the long ball again in and Salah sends the ball in front of goal and Mane scores. 3-1 after 32 minutes.
Xhaka gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Robertson. Ramsey needing treatment after a contact with Wijnaldum. But he seems ok to continue. Maitland-Niles with a shooting chance from outside the penalty area but well over. Ramsey also has a shot but also over. Arsenal going forward a bit more and Liverpool counter and Salah goes down easily waiting for the contact as he can do so well and of course Oliver points to the spot. Salah scores. 4-1 after 46 minutes. Leno had a touch but couldn’t keep it out.
If you give goals away so cheaply like we do there is no point in hoping to get anyting at Liverpool.
Koscielny came in the team at half time in the place of Mustafi. Mane wiggles himself through almost but Sokratis and Leno can stop him. And then Leno stop Salah. Our defenders look too slow. Kolasinac goes down easily but he isn’t Salah. Ramsey with an effort that goes wide and then Aubameyang misses but the flag went up for offside. Leno with a good stop on a dangerous cross from Liverpool. Arsenal keep persisting in playing themselves in trouble near their own penalty area with playing too many short passes . Liverpool players don’t make fouls according to the ref. Not even a clear foul in our own penalty area…. Still 4-1 after 60 minutes.
Leno with a good save when Fabinho is clear and the flag stays down. Kolasinac then uses his arms a bit and of course Oliver puts the ball on the spot. Every contact from Arsenal is punished but the other way round Liverpool can use their body completely without being called back. Firminho scores from the spot. 5-1 after 65 minutes. The more replays you see the more you see how Lovren throws himself forward without that much contact….
After 70 minutes Lacazette comes on and Aubameyang goes off. Iwobi on the left flank but Ramsey with not enough contact on the ball to put it over the line. Meanwhile every millimeter offside from Arsenal is given but at the other end not. Surprise…. the ref gives a foul in favour of Arsenal! After having wrapped it up completely with two penalties and giving us nothing the moment of leveling the field is there I guess. After 80 minutes Guendzou comes on for Kolasinac. Not even a corner leads to getting in the Liverpool penalty area.
Lacazette goes down in the penalty area but hey what do you expect: right nothing given. There was a clear kick against his foot. Probably the cleares penalty decision of the night. Sokratis gets a yellow card.
Playing against Liverpool alone requires being without any mistakes. We made 2 clear mistakes. But then when you also have to play the ref who gave two soft penalties and didn’t give us a penalty you know you are up for a lost battle. Liverpool was the better team but needed our own mistakes to capatalise and then ref Oliver helping them out with his penalty decisions and then you get what you get.
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