I started writing this post from the night of the 3-3 draw against Liverpool but the festive season and the demands to keep the wheels at work running had a go at me.
That night was wow. An exciting game for the neutrals but shameful for the fans of Arsenal and Liverpool. How Arsenal fell 2-0 down, turned it around to go ahead 3-2 and still manage not to win is baffling.
First Bad Half
Wenger kept to his new four at the back with Maitland-Niles preferred to the tank Kolasinac. While Niles had a good passing game, his aerial deficiency and inexperience was exposed for the first two goals conceded at the Emirates. The Gunners were here and there, outpaced and outsmarted by Liverpool’s fantastic four of Salah, Mane, Coutinho and Firmino. How the Reds managed not to be 4-0 ahead by half time is a mystery Mane will need to explain to Klopp.
Arsenal couldn’t make complete passes. It was dreadful. Xhaka continuously gave the ball away. Iwobi was piss poor, constantly playing the wrong pass and exposing Bellerin to the Reds. Alexis was Alexis – giving the ball away as always. Koscielny looked a shadow of himself and is on the decline, slipping here and there. It was a sorry sight. It was a sorry half. Monreal didn’t feature in the second half.
Four Minutes Forty Seconds
Arsenal produced four minutes and forty seconds of sensational football on Friday night to go ahead 3-2 after the disastrous first half. It was like a dream and it escalated quickly. Bellerin’s cross finally yielded fruit but it took Alexis Sanchez’s alertness to nick the ball of Gomez, heading into Mignolet’s net. Sanchez’s goal came within seconds of Salah’s goal that put Liverpool 2-0 up.
In a flash, Iwobi gave the ball to Xhaka and boom!!!! Arsenal drew level. Mignolet had a hand but could have done better. While the adraneline was still up, Ozil made it 3-2 to the Gunners all within 4 minutes, 40 seconds. You need just a second to score a goal and those 280 seconds were the best moments of the 90 minutes at the Emirates that Friday.
Goal? Yes he would nick one in. But the goal always comes with extra luggage – he commits an error leading to goal. At 3-2 you have that feeling that Arsenal could still surrender the lead with the game ending in a draw. Although, the hope of a 4th goal was not ruled out with the Gunners in ascendancy. Sadly, Alexis Sanchez comfortable lost the ball to Salah before Firmino’s shot dinged into the net for the equalizer despite Cech’s attempt.
It is sad and frustrating watching Alexis. He breaks play, he gets crowded, loses the ball and put the whole team in disarray. With 60% pass accuracy, Sanchez was only better than Welbeck (50%) and Cech (43.8%) in the category. Frustrating. His mind must be somewhere else. Will he leave in January?
MOTM: Mesut Ozil. Fraudos around him. Will he sign?
Compliment of the season. Roy’s Crystal Palace is next.