Sunday , March 3 2024
Arsenal cannot call their stadium 'The Emirates' on Champions League nights

Arsenal blow race for Premier league wide open with win over Liverpool

Spread the love

ARSENAL 3-1 LIVERPOOL: Goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard handed Arsenal a crucial win over the Premier League leaders as they hauled themselves back into the title race

Gabriel Martinelli capitalised on a dreadful error by Virgil van Dijk to hand Arsenal a crucial win over Liverpool.

The hosts started the day five points behind the Reds, who are looking to make a dream farewell to manager Jurgen Klopp. But the Gunners looked to have handed their hopes of winning the division a major boost when Bukayo Saka scored early on, converting after Alisson had saved from Kai Havertz.

The hosts were made the pay for missing a litany of chances though when Liverpool netted a bizarre equaliser after a defensive mix-up between William Saliba and David Raya. The Reds looked to have lifted themselves out of their slumber in the second period, but they too were left shellshocked.

Van Dijk could not deal with a long ball forward, instead crashing into Alisson to allow Martinelli to roll in a second goal for the Gunners. Ibrahima Konate’s red card for blocking Havertz two minutes remaining stifled Liverpool’s fightback, with Leandro Trossard scoring a brilliant solo goal to wrap up the three points. Here, Mirror Football looks at the biggest talking points from a huge game at the top of the table.

Gunners bid boosted

Some pundits warned that this game was already a must-win for Arsenal, who started the day five points behind Liverpool at the top of the table. That gap has now crucially been cut down to two points.

It means that the Gunners are still well in the title race, with a defeat likely to have taken them all but out of it. Instead, Mikel Arteta’s side have much-needed momentum for the second half of the season.

The manner of this win, as they were forced to recover from a sucker-punch of an equaliser, will also boost their confidence given what happened last season. A run of draws saw them miss out on the title last term, with Sunday’s win a sign that their mentality is changing.

Havertz’s gamble pays off

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Kai Havertz of Arsenal is challenged by Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
The move to play Kai Havertz up-front paid off for Arsenal ( Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

With Gabriel Jesus injured with a knee problem, Arteta surprisingly selected Kai Havertz to lead the line. Eddie Nketiah, a natural striker, was instead left to watch on from the bench.

The gamble paid off though, with Havertz racing clear before seeing his shot saved by Alisson, with Saka converting the rebound. The German picked up positions that opened gaps in the Liverpool defence, frequently dropping deep.

Havertz also worked well when pressing, joining in with a team-mate, usually Martin Odegaard or Gabriel Martinelli, to harry the visitors’ defence into making errors. Having played much of the season in midfield, a role leading the attack may suit him better.

Gomez’s nightmare

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Joe Gomez of Liverpool runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Declan Rice of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Joe Gomez endured a difficult evening at left-back ( Image: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Joe Gomez has operated as an emergency left-back ever since Kostas Tsimikas was injured during the reverse fixture of this game. While the Englishman has been solid in that period, he endured a nightmare at the Emirates.

Bukayo Saka was dominant against the Liverpool fullback, who did not seem to have a handle on the Arsenal star. Gomez was forced to come inside when Havertz burst through in the build-up to the Gunners’ goal, but that meant Saka was free to score from the rebound.

His dreadful day was summed up when he picked up a needless booking for bringing down Havertz just 24 minutes into the game. The sooner Andy Robertson is back to full fitness, the better, judging by Gomez’s difficult evening.

A tale of two midfields

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Alexis Mac Allister of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Martin Odegaard was dominant in the midfield battle ( Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It was a dominant display from Arsenal despite the narrow scoreline, which was highlighted most in the midfield battle. The Gunners were totally on top in the middle third of the pitch, led by all-action displays from Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard.

Rice and Odegaared were everywhere, with the Englishman protecting his side in defence and his captain orchestrating the hosts in attack. By contrast, Liverpool’s midfielders were more or less invisible.

Curtis Jones, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch all struggled to stamp themselves on the game, with Arsenal’s press affording them little time on the ball. The trio also left their defence exposed, with Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka enjoying stellar games.

Liverpool’s suckerpunch equaliser

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Luis Diaz of Liverpool has a shot which later results in an own-goal scored by Gabriel of Arsenal (obscured) during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on February 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Luis Diaz played a key role in Liverpool’s bizarre equaliser ( Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

It was all going so well for Arsenal as the game reached the end of stoppage time in the first half. But the life was sucked out of the Emirates Stadium on the stroke of half-time.

A long ball over the top confused the Gunners’ defence, with William Saliba attempting to shield the ball from Luis Diaz and into David Raya’s hands. But the Arsenal keeper didn’t get the message and took an age to get off his line.

Diaz hadn’t given up and Raya’s hesitation allowed the Colombian to poke the ball away from the Spaniard. The Colombian’s kick hit Gabriel on the hand and was diverted into the net, leaving Arsenal dejected.

Mirror

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

Check Also

Chelsea set to ‘axe’ three players including new signing in £110m transfer exodus

Spread the loveChelsea are set to axe three first-team players in a bid to fund more …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by ExactMetrics