As Liverpool destroyed Tottenham Hotspur and end the weekend top of the Premier League, you can’t help but think back to Saturday 8th February – the day Arsenal collapsed in dramatic fashion and lost 5-1 at Anfield.
Before that game, Arsenal were top of the league on 55 points. In fact, the top 5 looked like this after 24 games:
1. Arsenal – 55 points
2. Manchester City – 53 points
3. Chelsea – 53 points
4. Liverpool – 47 points
5. Everton – 45 points
So we were 2 points clear of Chelsea and Manchester City, and 8 ahead of Liverpool.
But now look at the Premier League table, only 8 games on:
1. Liverpool – 71 points
2. Chelsea – 69 points
3. Manchester City – 67 points
4. Arsenal – 64 points
5. Everton – 60 points
So before the the 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool, Arsenal have managed to get a pathetic 9 points from 8 games, while Liverpool have won 8 games from 8.
An 8 point lead over Liverpool has turned into a 7 point deficit. Let that sink in for a minute.
And why have Liverpool done so well over the last 8 games? Their form is that of Champions – they are determined, full of fight and give every since game everything they have. Arsenal on the other hand have been limp, lethargic and devoid of any motivation which ultimately comes from the manager. The 15 point swing from Arsenal to Liverpool is frankly unbelievable.
While Liverpool have been sensational, the catalyst was the shambolic performance at Anfield. Liverpool were 8 points behind Arsenal before the game kicked off and their aspirations were to finish in the Top 4 ahead of Everton.
So if you wanted to give a chasing team the belief they can win the league, then losing 5-1 in dramatic fashion is the perfect way to do it.
If Arsenal weren’t so naive and even managed to get a draw at Anfield that day, do you think Liverpool would be top today? No chance. That game gave them the belief they could do something special. After all, how often do you smash a top side 5-1?
And Arsenal have gone in the exact opposite direction. We have collapsed. There are no other words for it. As you watch Liverpool celebrate after beating Tottenham 4-0, you can’t help but think that should be us. We were 8 points clear of Liverpool in February and look where the red side of Merseyside are now.
Credit to Liverpool, they have done phenomenally well to be where they are now. They have what we don’t in abundance – belief, fight, passion and the will to win.
If a single game could dramatically change the fortunes of two top sides, then it was the 5-1 at Anfield.