Arsenal (2) – (0) Liverpool
Cazorla 19′, Ramsey 59′
The Emirates Stadium, London
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal are now 5 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a simply stunning performance against second place Liverpool.
It was the first time the two teams had met as first and second in the league in 20 years and with Chelsea losing to Newcastle in todays early kick off, Arsenal could amazingly increase their lead to 5 points by the end of the day.
But we had to overcome a Liverpool side full of confidence and with a strike-force on fire.
But Arsenal were absolutely sensational today. Our main concern was absence of Mathieu Flamini but we had learnt our lessons from the Chelsea and Dortmund games and put in a performance worthy of potential champions. We were unbelievably good, completely deserved all 3 points and our 5 point lead at the top of the league.
Mikel Arteta put in a real captains performance, marshalling the side and really setting the tempo. The back four were solid, with Sagna in particular playing fantastically well. The midfield of Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla and Özil was top drawer and Liverpool couldn’t cope with our incisive, purposeful and slick passing, even though they were the ones playing with five in midfield. Olivier Giroud was immense once again up top, holding the ball up well, linking up play and running for the team like a man possessed.
And both goals when they came were top class.
Sagna was put through on the right hand side by Arteta, and his first time cross was meet by Cazorla who was unlucky to have his headed effort hit the post. But what wasn’t unlucky was his half volley from the rebound, which he smashed in with aplomb with his right foot.
A special goal by a special player!
At half time we came out of the blocks and cometh the hour, cometh the man of the season so far.
A sublime pass from Özil found Ramsey on the edge of the box, and without panicking or rushing himself, he coolly waited for the ball to crop and smashed in a blistering shot from 20 yards. Two world class goals and a 2 goal lead in such an important match.
Overall, a massive, massive win which was absolutely huge in our season. Our first real test in the Premier League and we passed with flying colours. Questions were asked about our title challenging credentials and whether we could increase our lead by 5 points by the end of the day and we did that emphatically.
Wojciech Szczesny – 8/10
Had a few saves to make and made them with assurance and confidence. He is really becoming a top, top keeper and he was faultless today.
Bacary Sagna – 9/10
Unbelievably good today – crossed for the vital first goal and owned the right side of the pitch. Linked well with Rosicky, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey and Özil and defended excellently. Went forward with real purpose and provided an important attacking outlet on the right hand side.
Per Mertesacker – 8/10
Calm, collected and solid at the back. Organised the defence well and made some vital interceptions and defensive headers.
Laurent Koscielny – 9/10
Outstanding against Luis Suarez. Was aggressive from the outset and gave the Liverpool striker no time whatsoever. He pipped him to the ball, went in hard and really set the tone. Kept Suarez in his back pocket.
Kieran Gibbs – 8/10
Full of energy as usual and defended well. Up and down the left hand side with purpose and drive until he came off injured towards the end of the game.
Mikel Arteta – 9/10
A real captains performance and lead by example. Great determination and hunger, and pulled the strings from central midfield. Positionally excellent, he was the hub for the team to start attacks and he filled the void left by Mathieu Flamini.
Aaron Ramsey – 9/10
Linked up well with Rosicky, Cazorla, Arteta and Özil and showed real determination and desire. Full of energy and completely deserved his goal. He has a never say die attitude which really showed on the pitch.
Tomas Rosicky – 8/10
Arsene Wenger plays Tomas in the big games and you can see why. He is energetic, puts in a tackle and presses the opposition and makes it hard for them. Linked up well with the rest of the midfield and a real unsung hero in this side.
Santi Cazorla – 9/10
For me he hasn’t been himself in the last couple of games but today he was back. Great movement, great desire and he was magnificent today. Fantastic range of passing which opened up Liverpool and took his goal so well. That was a goal only a world class player could have scored. Instinctive and top class.
Mesut Özil – 8/10
Was the man who the passing possession went through and his intelligent passing and movement created space for Arsenal to attack into. The pass for Ramsey was truly sublime and only a handful of players on the planet could have executed that pass. And yet another assist for the master of assists.
Olivier Giroud – 9/10
Immense is the word I used for Giroud because that’s what he has been this season, and he was the same today. Caused Liverpool loads of problems and held the ball up so well, linking up the play and bringing others into the game. Without Giroud in the side we would struggle.