Arsenal (0) – (2) Liverpool
The Emirates Stadium, London
Although Arsenal lost this afternoon, there are a lot of positives to take from the game.
First of all, I thought Frimpong was excellent. He bossed the midfield, passed the ball well and was everywhere on the pitch. The first booking was just inexperience and the second although rash, was deserved. Replays showed he raised his foot and you can’t do that in the modern game. But apart from that, he was was on our best players.
Defensively as well, we were solid on the whole. Vermaelen, the man I thought should have been made Arsenal captain, was immense. He was Man of the Match for me and was outstanding. He made important tackle after important tackle and kept the Liverpool attacking threat to a minimum. And considering he was playing alongside two inexperienced defenders – 19 year old Carl Jenkinson and 18 year old Ignasi Miquel – the performance is even more impressive.
The two young defenders were also fantastic as well. Carl Jenkinson played well at right-back, and was impressive on his debut. Miquel was also thrown into the action when Koscielny went off injured after 15 minutes, and he was assured throughout the game. He actually intercepted the ball on the Aaron Ramsey own goal and that was hugely unlucky as that could have deflected anywhere.
Also, Szczesny in goal was, again, excellent. Commanding, confident and decisive, he is hopefully the long-term solution to Arsenal’s goalkeeping problems. He couldn’t do anything about either goals and made some important saves throughout the game.
So despite losing Fabregas, Eboue and Clichy to transfers, have Vela and Denilson on loan, and are missing Song, Gibbs, Koscielny, Gervinho, Wilshere, Rosicky and Diaby through a combination of injury and suspension, we competed well with a Liverpool side that have invested huge amounts of money over the last two transfer windows.
In all honesty, a draw would have been a fair result on the balance of play. Both sides struggled to really create anything and Liverpool only really looked dangerous once Arsenal went down to 10 men.
Suarez and Meireles completely changed the game once they came on with their guile, intelligence and creativeness in front of goal. Something which Arsenal are in desperate need of at the moment.
The Arsenal line-up had the surprise inclusion of Samir Nasri, who we all believe to be off to Manchester City very soon. But it is not out of the realms of possibility that looking at the threadbare nature of the squad, Arsene decides to keep him for the year and risk losing him on a free next summer. Because he is the only player in the squad that has any creativity.
We have a far more important game coming up against Udinese which is the one we need to win out of our matches against Liverpool, Udinese and Manchester United.
It is only the start of the season and I am still optimistic! Keep the faith Gooners, things can’t get any worse from here on out!
Wojciech Szczesny: 8/10
Commanding and confident. Came well for crosses and corners and couldn’t do anything for the two goals.
Carl Jenkinson: 8/10
Impressed on his debut. Defended well and push forward at times with confidence.
Thomas Vermaelen: 9/10
Outstanding. Showed what we were missing last season. Man of the Match for me and the scoreline could have been a lot worse if we didn’t have Vermaelen in the side. Sadly, probably our most dangerous attacking threat as well.
Ignasi Miquel: 8/10
Without having played a senior game before he did excellently. Intercepted and tackled well and looked settled alongside Vermaelen. Unlucky on the own goal.
Bacary Sagna: 8/10
Did well considering he was playing on the other side of the pitch. Got up and down the pitch well and kept Downing and Henderson quiet when they were on his side.
Emmanuel Frimpong: 8/10
Big, strong and is very quick. Perhaps a little to eager at times, he played well and made some important interceptions. Clearly has an excellent engine and he really impressed me with his performance today.
Aaron Ramsey: 5/10
Wasn’t in the game at all. Struggled to make any kind of impact (except the wrong kind) and Frimpong was left to cope a lot with the defending in the middle.
Samir Nasri: 7/10
Played well, considering the circumstances. Will he stay? Who knows, but if he is leaving then his inclusion in the team today shows how desperate things currently are at Arsenal.
Andrei Arshavin: 4/10
I lost count how many times he lost the ball today. Where is his head at? Because it is clearly not on playing well for Arsenal. The amount of times he lost possession was shocking and he was more of a hindrance to the team today.
Robin van Persie: 6/10
Was isolated and couldn’t get into the game at all as a result. Sad really because he is an outstanding finisher but we can’t must the service he needs. Under the current circumstances he is wasted on the pitch. He did have one guilt-edged chance which he probably should have done better with and it may have changed the game.
Theo Walcott: 5/10
A lot has been said about “footballing intelligence” and Theo showed no signs of that today. Far to often he received the ball and then proceeded to run directly in a straight line. He doesn’t shift the ball, try some kind of skill to beat a defender, he is far to predictable and that’s why the Jose Enrique had him in his pocket for the entire match.