Beating Liverpool is far more important than beating Liverpool!

By Tony Attwood

Last night’s match confirmed the turnaround in Arsenal’s fortunes, in the club’s approach, in the desire and willingness of the team not to give up, and the inventiveness of the manager in the way he can re-organise the team and galvanise the players.

Between August 2015 and October 2019 our record against Liverpool was awful…

Date Game Res Score Competition
13 Jan 2016 Liverpool v Arsenal D 3-3 Premier League
14 Aug 2016 Arsenal v Liverpool L 3-4 Premier League
4 Mar 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
27 Aug 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 4-0 Premier League
22 Dec 2017 Arsenal v Liverpool D 3-3 Premier League
3 Nov 2018 Arsenal v Liverpool D 1-1 Premier League
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1 Premier League
24 Aug 2019 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
30 Oct 2019 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-5 League Cup

Three draws and six defeats.  Of course it came about because Liverpool were on the way up, while we were initially rebuilding and then wracked with internal dissent and in-fighting as Black Scarf, AST and AFTV combined to express constant, remorseless negativity, claiming everything from directors taking money that could have been used on transfers and putting it in their pockets, through to the notion that abusing the players and the club somehow constituted support.

To recover from that awful situation looked nigh on impossible, and yet it has been done by Mikel Arteta, and done in under three quarters of a season.  For of late our record is …

Date Game Res Score Competition
15 July 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 2-1 Premier League
29 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 1-1 Community Shield
28 Sep 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
1 Oct 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal W 0-0 League Cup

… three wins and one defeat in four.  An extraordinary transformation.

Of course there are still many battles to be to be fought, and the newspapers are already out there fighting them.  For example, rather than make any mention of this amazing turn around in form the Guardian focused on the notion that this was “a terrible game” in which the teams “showed very little attacking quality in the 90 minutes.”

Ah well, I must have tuned into the wrong match.  The one I watched saw two teams with a lot of talent working hard to find a way past each other.   But apparently I was quite wrong because the Guardian told us, “all things considered, that was a harrowing game.”

Now of course you may think I am completely wrong.  You may feel that it was “harrowing” rather than interesting to see the two sides trying to find a way round each other.  Indeed you might feel that Liverpool had come into the match full of the expectation that they were going to roll Arsenal over, on the basis that it was “only Arsenal” and when they couldn’t they were completely dumbfounded.  And if so you, like me, might have enjoyed the surprise they felt when they realised this Arsenal side was not for rolling over.

Indeed pictures of the Liverpool manager showed the surprise, moving from all the smiles at the start to the looks of utter anguish as the game went on.  He knew what was happening.  Sadly it seems the Guardian journalist (a “Paul Wilson” who we are told was at Anfield) did not.

In fact the anti-Arsenal rhetoric is now so ludicrous anyone not knowing the history of the media in terms of Arsenal would think it was some new form of humour.  At one point Wilson attempted to portray the Arsenal players to animals, accusing them of howling at the referee – which really is going too far.  As we know any attempt to influence the referee by strong or loud talk from an Arsenal player gets a yellow card.  I saw none in response to the moment in question.  The Guardian it seems has found itself another fantasist.

At the end of the game the Guardian told anyone who was desperate enough to try and follow the match with their on line coverage, (which was fortunately not Pat and myself, as we were watching it on Sky), “Arsenal’s midfield has been lamentable today. So Arsenal fans may be concerned to hear reports that PSG have decided to make an attempt to prise their long-term target Houssem Aouar from Lyon.”

It is just knock knock knock all the way, all the time.

Of course not every “outlet” (as they are called these days) is quite so extreme as the Guardian when it comes to knocking Arsenal.  Yes they all do it from time to time but not in every single game no matter what.

The Daily Mail ran the headline after the match “Arsenal knock Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup! Bernd Leno produces goalkeeping masterclass with superb saves from both Harry Wilson and Divock Origi in Anfield penalty shootout.”  True they don’t have anything much to say about the team performance but they do recognise the man of the match and realise that “Arsenal repeated the feat of beating Klopp’s side in the same manner as they had done at Wembley in the Community Shield five weeks ago.”

There are one or two more balanced opinions around.  Reuters for example tells us that, “Liverpool had the better chances and should have been awarded a 44th-minute penalty when Diogo Jota was brought down in the box.

“The resulting free kick eventually led to Takumi Minimino finding space and smashing his close-range shot onto the crossbar.   Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno made two consecutive saves to stop Jota and Marko Grujic and the visitors responded with a chance of their own as Rob Holding’s header was punched away by Adrian in the 70th minute.

“The Gunners also appealed for a penalty in stoppage time when James Milner fell and handled the ball.”

That is what one might call a balanced summary. But for the rest of the season, it seems, we are going to get endless total, absolute and utter negativity from the Guardian with none of the insightfulness and balance that it likes to claim is a central part of its reporting.

At least we know what to expect.

But in reality this is the new Arsenal, the revitalised Arsenal, the Arsenal that goes into each match feeling it has a chance.  Black Scarf, AFTV and AST with their crazy negativity have been seen off.  It’s just the Guardian left out there on their own. The Arsenal are back.

8 Replies to “Beating Liverpool is far more important than beating Liverpool!”

  1. There was an interesting demonstration of bias yesterday which bears out the anti-Arsenal media stance. On the BBC app, I looked at Live Text for the women’s game to see the comment after five minutes that “Man City are seeing most of the ball in the opening few minutes”. How much is “most of the ball”, I wondered? Had they had 60%, 70%, 80% or perhaps even 90% possession? So I immediately flicked over on the same BBC app to see what the stats for possession were. What it showed was that actually, Man City had had 48% possession and rather than “most of the ball”, they had had a minority of the ball. It’s funny how easy it is to misrepresent things if that’s the intention?

  2. The guardian only mention a penalty appeal without comment about the deliberate handball or the booking of Cedric for daring to question the referee who was certainly LiVARpool’s friend last night. Any match report should surely have mentioned the repeated fouls when it seemed we might have gained an advantage on pitch which does make one wonder whether these people who write the nonsense were actually in attendance. Our media has become the dull leading the dull.

  3. Hi tony,
    ive been a gunner for about 20 years now, and since the early 2000s specially when we used to play against man united, its always been like this, its just got worse with the social media and everything…

    THe most worrying thing when i watch games we play are the refereeing decisions, why is the refereeing so poor ? i v been reading your series of articles on referees as well and completely agree with it… I think if i started collecting facts watching more closely , some astounding numbers will come up.

    But seriously, the way arteta is managing things is admirable. P.S in gabriel we have i think one of our best defensive signings since koscielny who even himself wasnt this solid in the initial few games.


  4. Omg that someone would say that Jota should have gotten a penalty when the foul was 100% outside the area….what game was that guy watching. Granted he fell inside the box but come on? Is the hate this obvious? If the foul is committed outside the penalty area it isn’t a penalty. The scum that pass themselves off as neutral journalists are disgustingly biased.

  5. It seems that we are getting better at playing out from the back with short passes. Last night it was mostly successful, to the extent that Liverpool gave up on their level of pressing in most of the second half, as they were not expecting to intercept our (mostly) accurate passes.

  6. Paul Wilson’s MBM couldn’t be more pro-Liverpool and anti-Arsenal if Mark Lawrenson had been given a shot with it. A goalkeeper is still part of the team and deserves a credit for doing remarkable job to prevent the other team from scoring.

    Also, there is a strong difference between “Liverpool should have been awarded a penalty” and “Arsenal also appealed for a penalty”. In the first case, we have a verdict and in the second case, we have a statement about request without saying if it should have been approved or rejected.

    Both of our LC games should have been shoved up the bottom of everyone who questions the need for VAR. We were denied a penalty in both games.

    Arsenal are slowly climbing back to the top.

    Statistics prove that we lack creativity but our defensive solidity is restored.

    We have played six games in 2020-21, half of those against Liverpool, one third of those six games at Anfield and five out of six away from home (which, given the lack of crowd, doesn’t make much of a difference but still is worth of mentioning).

    We won five, lost one and weren’t without chances to get a better result in that one either.

    We have scored first goal in five of six games with last night’s 0-0 draw being the only one without us scoring first.

    Finally, we have kept a clean sheet in three occasions which is not bad for a team that didn’t look capable of defending in the last Arsene’s year or in either of Emery’s season.

    I wish there is a way to see some of Özil’s magical passes and Torreira’s energetic displays in the midfield but sadly, it seems that it won’t happen.

  7. Sky Sports Ron Walker “Arsenal sneak past Liverpool on pens”. Losing once in 4 games against an excellent team, unbeaten at home for 60 odd games, picking ourselves up after defeat there 3 days earlier. Not worthy of praise or some recognition? What I would like highlighted is:

    Jota’s blow to Ceballos’ face, Minomino’s reckless and out of control lunge at Saka which only brought a booking, or Milner twice handling the ball in the area in the closing seconds. Add the extra seconds Kevin Friend added on to first half added time, just waiting for Liverpool to have one more shot……

    Don’t get me started on the Reds not given to Mane and Alexander_Arnold on Monday! Well if they can send Auba off at Palace…..

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