It was to be a test and it is clear that Arsenal failed their exam. We expected to know the real level of the Gunners in this clash against Liverpool at Anfield. The result was clear: the London club does not yet have the shoulders to rub shoulders with the big names that are Chelsea, Manchester City and the Reds. With this large setback (4-0), Arsenal put an end to their long series of unbeaten.
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The eight games unbeaten since Matchday 3 are ultimately worthless when the team fails to level up against the big guys. It is indeed the evil which touches the men of Mikel Arteta since the opening of this season. After biting the dust against Chelsea (2-0) and Manchester City (5-0) during the first days, hope was in order before this shock. Ultimately, Arsenal is not a big part of the Premier League. His performance at Anfield showed it.
Ramsdale delayed, to no avail …
On the lawn of Liverpool, Arteta’s tactic was simple: impose a big pressing in the first minutes to prevent the Reds from setting up their game. The plan worked for twenty minutes before shattering. By dint of running and blocking spaces failing to stand out against Alisson Becker, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had their legs cut off.
It was blessed bread for Liverpool who did not ask for so much. Because, before the meeting, it was Jürgen Klopp and his family who were in a « mini-crisis » with a draw and a first defeat at West Ham, just before the international break.
This rest was beneficial for Mohamed Salah and his partners even if the first period showed that everything is not yet back to normal. But by dint of pushing and taking advantage of Arsenal’s defensive mistakes, the Reds ended up blowing the London lock and their temple keeper, Aaron Ramsdale. Without the English neo-international, the addiction was almost saltier for Arsenal. The goalkeeper has long disgusted the opposing attackers (28th, 35th, 36th, 55th, 67th, but he was quite alone.
End of famine for Salah
With that score, Arsenal are doing almost well, but they have still been powerless against a Premier League big. The content of the second half will most certainly be scrutinized by Mikel Arteta because it was of a rather low level.
By dint of wanting to be faithful to their philosophy of playing the game, the Gunners sank under the onslaught of Liverpool. When Sadio Mané opened the scoring before the break (39th), Diogo Jota regaled Anfield with an individual festival (51st) before Salah managed to put an end to his lack of three matches without scoring (72nd).
Back to four points from Chelsea, Liverpool turned their heads right side up and brought Arsenal back to their goals: by not offering a game against the big guys with only a shot on target from Aubameyang on the hour mark, the Gunners can only aim for places of honor.
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