The much awaited game between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates stadium proved to be an entertaining encounter which to everyone’s surprise finished in a goalless draw. Even Petr Cech admitted his surprise in the post-match interview at the result, considering the number of chances which were created by either side. It proved to be a game of two halves, with Liverpool taking advantage of the Gunners sloppy passing in the defensive third during the first half to create lots of opportunities and with Arsenal playing some of their better attacking football in the second half in an attempt to try and snatch a winner.
Neither side could score a goal on the day as both the goalies were on top of their game. Arsenal should be happy with the point, considering the number of errors committed by the defense in the first half. It’s not a bad result when looked at in isolation, but the circumstances make it look like a bad result. Here are my player ratings:
Cech – 10: Petr Cech officially announced himself as an Arsenal goalkeeper with a performance to remember. He dived brilliantly to his left with superhuman agility to push away a Benteke effort which seemed destined to nestle in the net. As if one mind numbing save wasn’t enough, Petr Cech proved he could defy the laws of Physics when he flew through the air to push a fierce Coutinho shot with his fingertips onto the goalpost. Arsenal’s savior on the day.
Bellerin – 6.5: Looked insecure playing alongside Chambers and gave away the ball on a few occasions. Took a strong shot which was blocked in the second half. In my opinion, he depends too much on his pace to atone for his errors. Needs to be solid defensively.
Chambers – 4.5: Had a first half to forget. Too many unsuccessful passes. Never seemed to recover from his mistakes. He should thank Le Coq and Gabriel for helping him out on various occasions. Seemed like it would only go downhill on the day. Credit to him for gathering his wits and putting in a decent shift in the second, although he was largely untested after the break.
Gabriel – 7.5: Plays like a Brazilian Koscielny. Very similar playing styles, and has very quick recovery pace. Well built defender who can put in a good shift at CB. Grabbed his chance and gave a good account of himself.
Monreal – 6.5: There was this one occasion where he should’ve whipped the ball into the box, rather waited a bit too long and got a corner for the team instead. Always involved in the attacks on the left wing without ever forgetting his defensive duties.
Coquelin – 8.5: One of the better players on the night, and proved once again why he’s so crucial to the success of this Arsenal team. Produced two amazing last ditch Coq-bloqs to deny Liverpool a clear shot at goal. Involved in many other defensive contributions. Looks like he has been reading a lot of tweets, seemed to try harder to distribute the play, and he did so successfully to some extent, producing some good looking long range passes.
Cazorla – 7: Not one of his better games. Got overran badly in the first half and misplaced passes by his teammates didn’t help him either. Played a peach of a ball on to Ramsey for the “offside” goal. Wenger must be worried about what his best eleven would be.
Ramsey – 7: Scored a goal with a clinical finish but unfortunately, it was struck off after he was erroneously ruled offside by the linesman. Credit to him for picking up his game in the second half. Needs to contribute better going forward.
Sanchez – 7.5: Arsenal’s best chance of the night fell to Sanchez who should’ve done better with his shot. His close range shot crashed off the post in the second half and he’d be disappointed for not having made more out of that brilliant opportunity. Was his industrious self and kept trying all night long to create something.
Ozil – 7: Didn’t let the lack of success throughout the match diminish his effort. Who would’ve thought one would see Ozil taking the ball off the opponent in the offensive third very late in the match, trying desperately to create a chance for his teammates. Happy with him for giving his all and not letting his shoulders slump.
Giroud – 7: The constant buzz around the club that Giroud can’t land Arsenal the title never seems to die down completely. Must be very demoralizing to be in Giroud’s shoes. Should’ve gotten a better shot at Mignolet’s goal after having been played through. Subbed off for the alternate option at striker, Walcott.
Walcott and Chamberlain:
Walcott was hardly ever visible in the twenty minutes he was on the pitch. Cameos like this won’t do his claim for the ST position any good. The Ox on the other hand seemed hungry to grab something, anything in the match and I feel his substitution should’ve come earlier than Walcott’s. Giroud and the midfield would’ve benefited from having two wide pacey players to play with.
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