Well that was certainly a game of two halves!
Liverpool had a game plan and executed it fantastically well for the first 60 odd minutes. Disciplined, focused and well drilled, Liverpool could have scored 3 or 4 in the first half and I wouldn’t have complained. Suarez and Sturridge were causing all kinds of problems for our back four and goalkeeper, who seemed hell bent on making stupid mistake after stupid mistake.
The first goal Liverpool scored was shambolic and that gave Liverpool the confidence they needed. They sat back, absorbed the feeble Arsenal “pressure” and caught us on the break – and every time they went forward they looked dangerous.
Their goals were a combination of ambitious forward play and shockingly poor defending.
For the first goal, Sagna slipped, Vermaelen tried to clear the ball with his wrong foot and Liverpool capitalised. Then minutes later, Szczesny tried to do a Cruyff turn on Daniel Sturridge and almost paid the price.
And the second was poor defending, especially from Santos, who is one of the players I can’t believe makes a living from playing football. There are players you see now and then, and you wonder to yourself how the hell did they become professional footballers? And he is definitely one of them.
But Henderson’s goal seemed to kick Arsenal into life, and within 8 minutes we found ourselves at 2-2 and in with a real shout of winning the game.
On 64 minutes, Jack Wilshere, who was once again our best player by a country mile, floated in a fantastic cross for Giroud to head home. Our tails were up at that point and our attacking pressure told as Theo lashed a fantastic shot past the helpless Reina.
That gave us a good 25 minutes to nick the winner and we gave it a good go – but the frustration wasn’t so much the effort but the quality.
In times gone by, we would have made the pressure count but for all of our attacking play in the last third of the match we couldn’t find the breakthrough. Giroud had a decent chance from a corner but put his free header well over, and Podolski played him in for a guilt-edged chance from only 4 yards out but the Frenchman fluffed his lines.
But it is hard to criticise a player that obviously gives 100% and is still finding his feet in the Premier League.
In terms of performances, our defending was diabolical in the first half and there’s no getting away from that. And when Santos replaced Gibbs, we looked even worse. Fortunately in the second half when we were doing all the attacking that didn’t matter as much.
The game could have gone either way and I suppose both sets of supporters will feel frustrated as a draw wasn’t really what each side needed. A win for either team would have been a big boost but it wasn’t to be.