Arsenal v Liverpool – the verdict

I’m not big on match reports, but a first win of the season with the transfer window only just slammed shut prompts a few thoughts. And 2-0 away at Liverpool always brings back a lot of happy memories.

Firstly, two of the three new boys are now off the mark, and the whole performance at Liverpool was far more coherent than either of the previous two matches. Individually all three newcomers performed well, though Giroud is not getting the breaks in front of goal yet. I’m still confident that he can cut it in the Premier League; he’s big and strong and makes the right runs. It’s only a matter of time. Ian Wright scored the minute he set foot on the field in an Arsenal shirt, but Henry and Bergkamp took longer. Nothing to worry about yet.

Diaby has improved 100 per cent in each match and looked Vieira-esque all game. Arteta continues to look great in a more defensive role. He’s a better player all round than Song and far more disciplined. This undoubtedly helps the back four with their new-found solidity. As I write, Jamie Redknapp is on my TV screen crediting Steve Bould for all the clean sheets, without a thought or word for what’s in front of them. Where’s Gary Neville when you need him?

To be honest I’m not yet convinced that the ‘Bould effect’ is anything more than a happy accident so far. Yes, we’ve gone three matches without conceding at the start of a season for the first time in 88 years or something, but we’ve played Sunderland, who didn’t seem to realise a pitch has two halves; Stoke, whose biggest tactic is the long throw; and a Liverpool team that are on a downward spiral they don’t seem to be able to get out of, and haven’t looked like winning a game yet. Obviously the old cliché that you can only beat what’s in front of you applies – or only draw 0-0, as applicable. But the defence has so far been tested only rarely. When Mannone keeps two clean sheets in a row, you know there hasn’t been much of a challenge.

What there was against Liverpool was a lot of misplaced passing across the back four that fortunately Liverpool couldn’t take advantage of. Others will if we continue to play like that, but I hope the Bould effect will be that we don’t carry on like that for too long.

Mertesacker looked uncomfortable against Suarez, as you would expect against a small nippy forward. Howard Webb’s worst decision was booking Per for his first challenge, but fortunately the ref was more lenient with the odd arm across a Liverpool player by the German later on, and of course Suarez doesn’t help himself by hitting the deck more often than a squadron of Harrier jets. To be fair to Mr Webb, he then had a reasonable afternoon and I saw nothing else to complain about.

I thought Gibbs had one of his best games, but again we are talking about a disjointed Liverpool team that are hardly setting the world alight.

Up front the attacking is definitely more direct than it has been for several years. This certainly ups the entertainment value, and if they miss the odd shot so what? For a few years we have only seen shots when the passing options run out, and consequently they’ve usually been shots in desperation rather than expectation. Cazorla and Podolski are both prepared to run at people and create space from their movement. Even Diaby, so help me, was running at the Liverpool defence and scything through it, leaving opposing midfielders in his wake and creating acres of space for the front men to exploit. I hope Arsène doesn’t ‘cure’ the new boys of this too soon.

Unfortunately I don’t think our goalkeepers are good enough for the team to sustain any sort of serious title challenge, even if the defensive improvement continues and we adequately replace Van Persie’s goals. I would have liked to see a goalkeeper brought in, as well as another proven striker, but hey, let’s not ‘kill’ Mannone and Chamakh.

Five points from three matches is not great when you want to challenge at the top, but it could be a lot worse. Onwards and – we hope – upwards.

Twitter: @AngryOfN5

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42 thoughts on “Arsenal v Liverpool – the verdict

      • I would attempt to type in that interesting netspeak, but I might not be able to understand what I type. So I will say what I think in normal English: what you are trying to pass off as a positive report is actually a negative report, filled with snidey remarks about the players and the coaching staff. We have had three good performances so far; be happy and stop being a Tim Payton.

      • This is called realism, mate. Winning one game out of three against teams who are not going to be challenging at the top of the table is hardly cause for unbridled optimism or celebration.
        And maybe if you’re going to criticise you might be man enough to put your real name next time.

      • Oh, come on. I only know you as Phil. So if I tell you my name is Rob instead of something I’ve made up, how does that make a difference? I take exception to your assertion that I should use my real name if I am man enough. However, I do understand if you don’t like the name I made up.
        I think you’re exaggerating my point. I’m not saying we have to celebrate, but I do think we can be happy to see our team move in the right direction. To me, realism means we shouldn’t become overconfident at this point, but your blog goes beyond that and becomes even negative.

      • My full name is on my twitter account, so it’s easy to find. I don’t really care what fake name you use, I just object to people being critical anonymously. If anonymity were removed from the Internet it would be a far more civil place.

        I would dispute that we’ve had three good performances. Failing to score against Sunderland can’t be rated good.

  1. that’s pretty pessimistic after am away win..but you do make a good point about the lack of striking options at the club. We have not conceded in 4 games (including koln). I don’t think that’s a coincidence, I can’t remember the last time happen with any Arsenal team

  2. As u had said at the begining..match reporting is not ur thing..coz diaby played xtremely wel..and every team in epl misplace passes..even title winners…and arsenal did realy wel as a team…we shud apreciate tat…instead of complaining abt wat wud hav happened if they misplaced passes wit another opponent and blah blah….

  3. I dont agree with you on the need for a new goalie and striker,There is currently no one on the market that can improve those 2 positions and I dont want the club to sign just for the sake of signing.If there are,we would have signed them.The big improvement I have seen in our defending is that it starts from Giroud all the way to the back,everyone has a role and they excecuted it.The team also looks confident without the ball,they are confident in their defending and confidence helps a defender the same way it helps a striker.

    • We looked and played well but this was a below par Liverpool. Giroud is slow and not strong enough to bother defenders and gives up too easily,unfortunatly reminds me of Chamakh

      • Giroud won quite a few headers and knock downs and made some good runs. You can see his class in his movement, much better than Bendtner or Chamakh. The only thing that he evidently lacks is pace. He’s new to EPL and may need a little time to settle. It would be nice if the fans showed some support rather than putting him down cheaply.

      • Giroud also helped create a lot of space. I feel many of the comments against Giroud completely dismiss his “off the ball” contribution (i.e. look at first goal today.)

  4. Nice post and would like to read more of yours but im happy with our keeper and to say the least Stoke, sunderland and Liverpool aren’t easy neither is keeping a clean sheet with them. I dont still believe the Bould effect as we are yet to be tested but same Liverpool scored City 2 and should have won and its the same Stoke and Sunderland who score us every season and are tough to play with regardless of the club. Funny how the Bould effect doesn’t include scoring set pieces tho, anyway the team still needs more credit and time. Follow on twitter @ Stanley_93 I follow back. True gunner!

  5. You are one hell of a whiner, despite a good victory and wonderful display by the boys you still look for negativity…shame on you!

  6. I dont agree with you on the need for a new goalie and striker,There is currently no one on the market that can improve those 2 positions and I dont want the club to sign just for the sake of signing.If there are,we would have signed them.The big improvement I have seen in our defending is that it starts from Giroud all the way to the back,last season we had a similar style but it was only done in the second half of the season,everyone has a role and they excecuted it.The team also looks confident without the ball,they are confident in their defending and confidence helps a defender the same way it helps a striker.The size that players like Giroud,Diaby and Jenkinson have helps us challenge for high balls all over the pitch.The team also kept great composure by keeping the ball for some periods at the end,its what was missing from past games were we let teams attack us in the final minutes.So Kudos to the team,and Like Arsene and all we Diaby fans knew all along,he has shown what he can bring to the team.

  7. Are you kidding me right now. Obviously nothing makes you happy. We’ve always conceded against Stoke with their same tactics. There is a confidence about the back line that has been missing for years. I’ve noticed our centre backs aren’t playing as high up the field which just in that little adjusment makes us look completely differnt. We haven’t been caught out once down the middle this season. Give the team credit when its do and it is. They are working as one on both ends of the pitch and that’s all I can ask for. For me the worst part of this Sunday was that wanker VP getting a hatrick. Great day for the Arsenal!!!

  8. Very fair report-its hard to judge a performance with any real perspective at this stage of the season as not enough games have been played to put a performance in context but I do think overall this was a very satisfactory afternoon.
    I have doubts about some of our number but Liverpool’s inadequacies and the collective ability of our team to support and nullify the problem areas came to the rescue. In a 38 game season you never know how often you will have to field comparative weak links .I think Jenkinson while commendably honest and committed is not Premiership class defensively and I hoped we had seen the last of Vito (and Flappy) in an Arsenal first-team jersey. alas not. This is why despite the many positives from today and the three clean sheets we have potential icebergs ahead. We do not have adequate cover in goal and bearing in mind our predisposition to injuries we don’t have enough cover upfront either.
    That guy playing for Man U today looked like the answer but we’d never sign a player like that!

  9. Liverpool may not be setting the world alight, but they still put 2 past City last week. You’re bending the facts to suit your own argument. Arsenal looked solid and apart from a couple of misplaced passes did very well at the back. Not only that but, looking at the subs bench of both teams said a lot. Arsenals bench looked strong, Liverpool had no attacking options. With Wilshere, Rosicky and Sagna to return things are looking a lot better than the media, and some Arsenal fans, make out.

  10. I don’t believe in panic buys. 5points out of a possible 9 isn’t great but 3 cleansheets sure is. I agree with Wenger at this moment that we only need special players like probably Dembele(gone to spurs), isco(still available), yanga mpiwa or a young left back like luke shaw. So far Diaby is holding his own along with Arteta and Cazorla, with Corquelin and Frimpong waiting in the wings, as well as Wilshere nearing a return, so we r pretty good in midfield and Giroud and podolski will come good eventually. There is no need overstocking our team with players that are not needed. Don’t forget that a good number of our young players on loan will be possibly coming back to challenge for first team places. Afobe, Campbell, miyaichi, Galindo, Wellington, not forgetting Gnabry, Aneke, Akpom and Eisfeld that are still there with the team right now. If you ask me, I think we should try and get Isco and maybe one defender.

  11. Fucking hell. Look on the bight side a? Angry of inslington?

    Depressed more like

    Cheer up mate. It’s a better start than last year and this year we are not one injured striker away from disaster.

    Like man u may be?

    How fuckibg good would that be?

    Come on the gunners

    • Last year we went out and bought a load of players after the poor start, that option is now gone. And I think we probably are one injury away from a crisis up front, who are we going to bring in?

      • Walcott wants to play through the middle, Podolski can play through the middle. That gives us 3 options for the one position.

      • Two words: Chuba Akpom.

        Actually, from what I’ve seen the young lad Eisfeld looks very useful. One of those players that suddenly appears in the right place at the right time and has an eye for goal.

  12. This is so negative. We conceded against these 3 teams last season and the defense was blamed. The keeper saved 3 good shots on target today, which of the top team keepers had done better. Which proven top keeper was available to buy? Hugo Lloris?, Julio Ceaser?

  13. Phil , You grounded me yesterday ! My use of the profane drew censure and rightly so ! But today a new hope is with us , a new form of play seems to unfold ! If music be the goalkeeping of Mannone then play on ! Could it be a terrible beauty is born !!!

    • Ha ha, nice to see you back Noel.
      The ‘terrible beauty’ of a Mannone goalkeeping performance? Hmm. How long can he go without conceding a goal? Maybe as long as another 20 or 30 minutes, I’d say.

      • Agreed, Phil.
        Mannone made a couple of good saves. However, he got away with two errors, the second of which he seemed to find inexplicably humorous. Laughing to save face made him look plain stupid. A big worry.

        Good post btw – thanks.

  14. Wow. I’ve been baying for Diaby’s blood for a while. I must admit though he played a blinder. If he keeps this form up I will become his biggest advocate. Cazorla is World Class and I am not exaggerating. Podolski is a driven man. I now can see what motivates him. That guy wants to win. Giroud looks like it’s just fine tuning. He gets into the right positions, so I am confident he will hit the net. Arteta is just a quality player and I love the Ox. Supports the midfield, comes back, and always ready to move forward. What a player in the making. BUT!!!. one injury to Podolski or Giroud and we are in BIG trouble with no other specialist striker to come in. Why didn’t Wenger buy a striker? Why? With more than 50 games this season there is no way Giroud or Podolski will be able to play over 50 games each.

  15. Such a negative article, a liverpool side who almost beat manciti. now they are not good enough because arsenal beat them. imagine if we had lost to them my my. Last year rvp made it through the season without injury and he was injury prone. Why do u think podolski and giroud wont do the same and they are even less injury prone.
    We have a improving team. let us continue watch them grow and get better GO GUNNERS

  16. Nice one Phil, one of your most popular articles to date. I can feel the love emanating from the respondents.
    I have two questions for you.

    1/ Manure’s new partnership deal has been announced, they’re to sign new deal to upgrade medical equipment with Toshiba at Carrington, surely no coincidence that it’s the same season they sign Van Persie? :-)

    2/ separated at birth?

    http://imgur.com/W8dz1

  17. Phil/Angry, I thought it was a decent performance against an undoubtedly weakened Liverpool side. I need to ask you a question because I think you hit the nail on the head about none of our three present goalkeepers not being good enough (fond memories of Seaman and Lukic).
    Who is the better in your opinion of Szczesny and Mannone ? I ask because I was really quite disappointed with Szczesny in the second half of last Season, too many errors after starting well, and because we have not invested in a new or experienced keeper.
    Second question in case you say Szczesny – do you think that Mannone could become a decent keeper in time, or is that a hopeless case ?

    • Who is better of Szczesny and Mannone? I’d say Szcz, but as you say he was poor in the second half of last season and worse in the Euros. If he was carrying an injury, well maybe that is justification for him, but doesn’t say much for the other keepers as Szcz was still playing, and doesn’t say much for the manager (for getting us to that position and still not buying someone in the summer).
      Szcz’s concentration seems to wander and some of his decision making has been poor – again, the Euros. Mannone is very uncomfortable with balls in the air. Both are decent shot stoppers in my opinion. But I’ve seen the likes of Shilton, Schmeichel and Seaman play week in week out in the English League during my lifetime, and they are miles above anyone around now, even Hart or Reina when he was at his best. They would win you points, matches and titles. I doubt that any of our current keepers will ever get to that level, but of the three I’d say Szcz has the most natural ability to command the box and should go furthest. That’s my opinion.

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