We haven’t won there since the 2017/2018 season, and lost the 4 of the last 5 there and drew the other.
Everton have officially taken over from Bolton Wanderers as our hoodoo team. But fortunately, Arsenal managed to break the hoodoo with a stunning strike from Leandro Trossard.
Gabriel Martinelli scored a well taken goal after 19 minutes, but the strike was ruled out for the closest and strangest of offsides. Despite the ball coming off an Everton player and Gabriel Magalhães playing the ball square (and not forwards), Eddie Nketiah was deemed offside in the build up.
Everton’s gameplay was clear, deny Arsenal space in behind, play with 11 men behind the ball, and catch us on the break or a set-piece.
It was always going to be a difficult afternoon for Arsenal, with most of the ball being in front of the Everton players, but we did manage to fashion a few chances.
Fabio Vieira got in behind on the left side and played a good ball across the goal but no-one was there. Saka and Odegaard combined well on the left which resulted in a shot from the Arsenal captain but unfortunately it was straight at Jordan Pickford.
But with Trossard’s introduction for the injured Gabriel Martinelli on 24 minutes, he was involved in most of our best attacking plays and on 69 minutes, Saka, Odegaard and Zinchenko combined well, with Saka cutting the ball back to Trossard, who first time scored an absolute stunner with this left foot.
It was truly an outstanding finish with his “weaker” foot and he deservedly won the Player of the Match award.
Predictably, once Everton conceded they actually decided to attack, primarily by long punts up the pitch by Jordan Pickford.
Arsenal managed to see the game out and took all 3 points from a place we’ve usually left with none.
A good, patience performance from a focused Arsenal team and we come home with all the points. Can’t ask for any more than that.
Yesterday’s match was a rollercoaster of emotions, and I thought it would be best to sleep on it before posting my thoughts. But the overriding feeling this morning is that despite what happened in those 90 plus minutes, it feels like a defeat.
The problem is Manchester City are a completely relentless beast. In previous seasons they have strung together 12, 13, 15, 16 and even 18 game winning streaks. They have a formidable squad and have a cheat code striker. Looking at their remaining fixtures, you wouldn’t bet against them winning them all.
If we win all our remaining games, we win the league. If Manchester City win all their remaining games, they win the league. Against any other team in world football, you could see them dropping points. But this is Manchester City.
Getting 3 points yesterday was vital as that would allow us to still lose at The Etihad and win the title. 1 point, which ever way you look at it, wasn’t enough.
And the painful thing is that we were 2-0 up and cruising. Arsenal were phenomenal in the first 40 minutes, and were deservedly ahead with Martinelli and Jesus getting on the scoresheet. Arsenal were causing Liverpool all kinds of problems and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (as well as Virgil van Dijk) were having a torrid time.
Arsenal had Liverpool exactly where they wanted them.
But then it happened. Anfield was as quiet as I’ve ever seen it and Xhaka lit the touch paper. If there were two Liverpool players you didn’t want to hype up and rile it was Alexander-Arnold and Robertson. Martinelli, Jesus and Saka were all over them. Henderson screaming at TAA after Arsenal goals summed up Liverpool’s mental state.
They were done.
I don’t care what anyone says, Xhaka’s actions cost us the game. I am a huge fan of Granit, he is a strong personality and one of the leaders in the dressing room, and this season he has been absolutely fantastic – one of our best players by far. But yesterday, he lost his head when Arsenal were ice cool. We had tamed the beast that is Liverpool at Anfield, and all Xhaka managed to do was to fan the fire.
And it’s no co-incidence that minutes after that incident, Liverpool scored. The crowd were hyped up, the players spirits had been lifted and they were back in the game before half time.
Instead of keeping the Liverpool players on the ropes (they were playing as if Arsenal might score 3 or 4) instead we gave them hope. And at Anfield, that’s the last thing you want to do.
From then on it was all one way traffic. Liverpool were all over us and it was summed up by the possession and shot statistics by the end of the game. If we kept playing the way we were, we would have scored 3 or 4 goals and taken home all 3 points. In the end, it ended 2-2 and we could have lost.
Salah missed a penalty in the 50th minute and at 2-2 with 40 minutes left, we could have got battered like Manchester United did a couple of weeks ago. Once Liverpool and Anfield are rocking, no team can cope.
Fortunately, some excellent defending and even better saves from Aaron Ramsdale saved us from defeat. And the fact that Firmino scored in the 87th minute, meaning we were so close to a historic victory makes it all the more painful.
We should have won that game base on the first, but we also probably should have lost based on the second. If a football match was going to put you through the mill, yesterday was it.
A complete rollercoaster of emotions. I think the most disappointing thing was that after Jesus scored the second goal, I actually believed. Obviously Arsenal have been phenomenal this season, but like most Arsenal fans I suspect you don’t really believe you’re going to win the league until certain tests are passed.
When Arsenal made it 2-0, that was the first time I actually believed we would win the Premier League. In that moment, I thought to myself wow, we’re actually going to do it.
We were so dominant, in complete control and I truly believed that we would go on and win because we were flying at 2-0 up.
But a moment of madness from Granit Xhaka cost us dearly.
You might think to yourself I’m a pessimist but don’t believe the media around our 8 point lead. With Manchester City’s game in hand, it was always a 5 point lead. And now our 6 point lead is only really 3 points as we’ve played one more game than City.
And a 3 point lead at this stage against this relentless machine isn’t enough. We have to go to the Etihad and hope we don’t lose. If Manchester City win that game, the title race is over.
But what do you think? Can Arsenal still do it or is the title going back to Manchester? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
Arsenal hosted Bournemouth, who have been struggling this season and were 19th in the table before kick off – only 3 points from the bottom of the table.
So before the game, I think it would be safe to say most Arsenal fans thought this would be a routine win. Whatever that is.
But if this season has taught us anything, football is anything but predictable.
After 9 seconds, Bournemouth took the lead when (it has to be said) they pulled off a clever kick off routine, which was well finished by Billing.
Arsenal were caught cold and the only good thing was that there were still 90 plus minutes to go to get the 2 goals we needed to get the 3 points. Unfortunately for all the possession, Bournemouth were relatively comfortable at keeping us at bay.
And then on the hour mark, Bournemouth doubled their lead.
We were now faced with a situation where losing against a team who were second from bottom was a reality. And with Manchester City beating Newcastle earlier on in the day, the lead at the top of the Premier League table would have only been 2 points.
But as we know from this young Arteta side, they are fearless.
Thomas Partey scored on 62 minutes, and then White equalised on 70.
It was a good comeback, but even a draw would feel like a defeat in the circumstances.
The last 20 minutes were tense and the officials gave us 6 minutes of injury time. And then those 6 minutes were up and it was still 2-2.
Had Arsenal blow it? Were Arsenal going to be called bottle merchants?
In the final passages of play, Zinchenko had a cross-shot deflected behind for a corner, which Saka sent in. It was headed away by a Bournemouth player, and was chested by Reiss Nelson. The trajectory of the ball took it onto his weaker foot, and if he needed to produce a moment of magic it was now. And with his left foot, he only went and smashed the ball into the top corner.
You couldn’t make this up!
The players, coaching staff and fans went absolutely ballistic! I screamed the house down! I don’t think there will be moment as important as this one – simply in terms of keeping the momentum and positively around the club.
Make no mistake about it, a draw today would have been absolutely devastating.
But what did you make of the game? Are you starting to believe? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!
I said early this morning, well before kick off, that I could see a terrible VAR decision go against us at Old Trafford. And what happened?
In a completely dominate display, Arsenal scored a goal which was chalked off because Odegaard was seen to have fouled Eriksen. After seeing multiple replays, it was clear the Dane went down easily, collapsing under the presence of Odegaard.
Manchester United were happy to sit deep and absorb the pressure, something you would expect from a team battling relegation.
But fine margins make all the difference and after our goal was unfairly ruled out, United scored goals which were fortunate to say the least.
The first goal was against the run of play, and the second only went in when the ball took a deflection off Ben White taking it past Aaron Ramsdale. And the third, was another goal off the break.
I thought Erik ten Haag was brought in to bring expansive and exciting football to Old Trafford?
The performance from Arsenal was excellent, and against talking about fine margins – we just couldn’t take advantage of the openings we created. Gabriel Jesus was outstanding, terrorising the United defence and causing all kinds of problems – but when the chances came we were found wanting.
Odegaard sliced a chance from 5 yards out when he should have scored, Saka lashed a shot past the post when he should have scored – the big, clear cut chances came Arsenal’s way and we couldn’t find the net.
A disappointing defeat, one which ends our winning run and I’m sure the media will be happy with that. But come end of the season, I guarantee we will be above this Manchester United side.
As the world around us is falling apart, I thought I would try and take our minds off it all for a moment and relive some of the great Arsenal games of the past.
14 years ago today, on March 29th 2006, Arsenal hosted a Juventus side including none other that our illustrious former captain, Patrick Vieira. Vieira had left the previous summer, after clinching a dramatic FA Cup win over arch rivals Manchester United with the crucial penalty that won us the trophy. 10 months later he was back at Highbury, but this time facing his old Arsenal teammates.
In midfield was a young man by the name of Cesc Fabregas.
The young Spaniard had been thrust into the first team following the departure of our captain, and the signs were there this boy was the real deal. We still had attacking forces such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg and the late Jose Antonio Reyes banging in the goals, and Campbell and Toure marshalling the defence.
But this game would also be remembered for the heroic performances of Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos and Mathieu Flamini who were inexperienced and still very young players.
Below is the original match report and player ratings of that historic evening:
By The Time People Take Us Seriously It Will Be Far Too Late…
Arsenal in Europe have been simply immaculate. Partly this is because no-one gives us a chance, and then when we get a fanastic result we don’t get the credit we deserve. It might be annoying now but it can actually work in our favour…
Before the huge matches against Real Madrid, we were favourites to go out. Real were on an awesome run in the league and were scoring for fun. Robinho, Beckham, Zidane, Guti et al were all in great form and they were pitched against a side that couldn’t win back-to-back league fixtures against midtable opposition, couldn’t win or score away and had major injury problems.
So how were Arsenal going to fare in the Bernabeu, the place no English side has ever won before?
We pulled off a great team performance and left with a 1-0 win – and we should have had more. Even in the 2nd leg against Real Reyes was guilt of missing several guilt-edged chances and we had the clearer opportunities. Still, we progressed after defeating one of Europe’s superpowers.
Then to the tie against Juventus.
As you will have heard from almost everywhere, they are 8 points clear in Serie A with 7 games remaining, and cruising a league which includes a great team like AC Milan.
And Arsenal are 6th in the Premiership.
But Arsenal dominated the entire game against the old lady, who supposedly had our best player of recent times – Patrick Vieira – at their disposal.
But football is a team game – and as we have shown against Real we play together to devastating effect.
Across Europe, teams think that we are just a one man team with Henry. They don’t realise how efficient and effective the rest of the team are. Players like Hleb, Reyes, Fabregas and Pires will make those runs that create holes in any defense.
Juventus were surprised at Arsenal’s approach, and from the first minute could not cope with the pace of the game. Arsenal have a team full of young, hungry, determined and energetic players. While the Juventus team are full of experienced players who have won the World Cup, European Championships and countless domestic titles.
That is the difference.
Arsenal wanted it more last night, and you can talk about the absence of Pavel Nedved and Del Piero, but they wouldn’t had made a difference. Anyway, we had Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Lauren, Ljungberg and loads of others out.
We had Flamini our 8th left-back this season in the 1st eleven! But to be fair, the young Frenchman has been brilliant every game he has played, and as stupid as this sounds I wouldn’t be bothered if Wenger got Â£15 million for Cashley and kept Flamini at left-back!
He has hunger, pace, determination and has proven himself in the Premiership, as well as against Real Madrid and Juventus.
He’s been a fantastic player for us.
Anyway, here’s my player ratings for the match last night…
Jens Lehmann: 7/10 Nothing to do except intercept a couple of crosses midway through the second half. But did well when called upon, which was hardly ever because of the solid defensive unit.
Emmanuel Eboue: 7/10 Did well again, and it’s hard to believe the kid only made his Premiership debut 6 weeks ago! I think Lauren is a really good player but I can’t see him getting back into the side the way the young Ivory Coast international is playing. As usual, made great forward runs and had Mutu in his back pocket.
Kolo Toure: 9/10 Exceptional. The tricky Ibrahimovic managed to get the ball on several occasions but Toure made some awesome tackles. A real captain’s performance.
Philippe Senderos: 8/10 His partnership with Toure just keeps getting better and better and so much so that I’m not bothered if Sol Campbell ever returns. So hungry against last night and he even chased a few lost balls all the way to Buffon in the first half. Threw himself at everything and made Trezeguet look like pedestrian.
Mathieu Flamini: 8/10 Is this guy a left-back? So assured again you don’t want this guy to be on the bench when Cole returns. Made those attacking runs to support Reyes and they work well together on the left. Camoranesi look frustrated all game which ended in a cynical red card.
Alexander Hleb: 7/10 Struggled against Zambrotta in the first half but picked up his game into the second. Never really captured his form against Real or Charlton but played some nice passes, including the beautifully weighted ball for Fabregas to assist Henry’s goal.
Gilberto Silva: 8/10 Covered well to give Fabregas and Pires attacking freedom, and helped out the back four superbly. A couple of mislayed passes now and then but he’s there to keep Juventus quiet, and Vieira and Emerson didn’t get a sniff.
Francesc Fabregas: 9/10 Made Vieira look small. The pre-match hype was all about Vieira and he told everyone that time moves on at there is no time for regrets. How right our old captain was. Times change Patrick, and unfortunately you’re not part of it anymore. Great assist for Henry’s goal. Cesc was absolutely Fabregas!
Jose Antonio Reyes: 8/10 I loved his dedication last night. Whatever you say about Jose, he will run until his legs fall off and will always give 110%. Made Camoranesi look foolish at times and was never afraid to take on players.
Robert Pires: 9/10 Won’t get all the headlines but played out of his skin. Marked Vieira well and I was shocked as anyone when he won a header in our own area after about 20 minutes. I was even more shocked when he made THAT tackle on Vieira that started the move for Cesc’s goal. Good movement, good passing and great support play. Excellent performance.
Thierry Henry: 9/10 Really loves it when Arsenal are against it. Might not celebrate all his goals with pure rage anymore but after he scored Arsenal’s second he went ballistic! Took the goal every well on the turn and really came to life in the second half. Frustrated Juventus as the game wore on and with a few minutes to go Zebina just had enough of him and got sent off.
Vieira to Pires, Pires to Henry, Henry to Fabregas – GOAL!