Arsenal were robbed yesterday. We had 58% possession, thirteen shots and six corners to Liverpool’s meagre 42% possession, just four shots and three corners.
Yet we drew the game 1-1.
Yes Liverpool played the game with as much purpose as you see teams have in pre-season friendlies, but we let this style of football beat us by not getting the result that we wanted, and perhaps even needed ahead of next weeks return leg at Anfield. We have simply got to improve our conversion of chances that come our way if we are going to progress, and a little bit of fortune to favour us would be nice after seeing numerous obvious decisions somehow not being noticed in the last month or so.
We started well and van Persie had a couple of shots go close, Adebayor also getting half chances. And with 24 minutes gone it was looking good for the Gunners, having scored our first, first half goal since the game against Blackburn in early February, with Adebayor heading home a great ball from van Persie indirectly from a corner. Another surprising statistic (I’m on a bit of a run with stats today) is that the goal from the corner is the fourth successive game in which we’ve scored from that particular type of set piece, which is an encouraging statistic. Now all we need to do is remember how to score from open play and we’ll be alright….
Unforgiveable sloppiness almost immediately gave back the initiative to Liverpool, three minutes after the opener Toure and Eboue both got clear chances to tackle Steven Gerrard before the Red’s captain entered the penalty area and crossed for Kuyt to bundle the ball home to equalise. Liverpool then put a bit of pressure on Arsenal before half time, although no clear cut chances were made by them really.
The second half belonged to Arsenal with Liverpool retreating so far back into their shell I doubt they will be coming back out again until next weeks match, meaning we’ll get exactly the same situation to deal with on Saturday, which will be more good practice for playing against lower opposition. Walcott had replaced van Persie at half time and showed more reasons why Eboue should be dropped in favour of the young Englishman, out on the left he created several moments of danger including a brilliantly hit drive going narrowly wide.
Then the most controversial part of the match happened. Hleb skipped past the challenges of about half the Liverpool team and was bearing down on goal when Kuyt clearly caught hold of Hleb, bringing the Belurussian to the ground. Clear penalty, but not as the referee saw it, who had decided to keep out of any situation that may force him into action of any kind. He could and should have dished out several cards to Arsenal and Liverpool players but bizarrely didn’t, presumably thinking the game would flow better if there were no cards, but if there was no point to booking playersthen surely Fifa would get rid of cards altogether?
After that Arsenal fizzled out to a large extent, with only one more clear cut chance falling to Fabregas, who duly got the ball beyond Reina but somehow Bendtner managed to stop the ball on the line and was subsequently ruled offside.
So all to do at Anfield, but with the showing yesterday I believe that we have what it takes to score at least one goal there, particularly if the mighty Reds venture out of defence….
The Arsenal Way http://thearsenalway.wordpress.com/
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