Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal's attack has finally delivered end-products thanks to the excellent linkup play between the two new signings, while the team kept a third successive clean sheet. Diaby, Arteta and Cazorla dominated in midfield, outplaying their counterparts. A 2-0 win at Anfield was a great result in every aspect. Three points, two goals, and a clean sheet. It was just a perfect afternoon for us.

The new-look Arsenal impressed us with their quick passing with purpose and solid defence as a team. Especially, the quick counterattack that led to the first goal was something we have been looking for for some time. We are extremely happy with the two new signings playing key roles for setting up and scoring eagerly awaited first goals. Podolski's influence was already obvious in the Stoke game, in which his direct style raised our expectations for a new dimension to be added to Arsenal's game. It took no time for Cazorla to fit in Arsenal's playing style. Many think he is the best signing for Arsenal in the recent years. We have finally found a perfect replacement for Cesc Fabregas. Now all we want is a goal from Giroud so that it will take some pressure off him and give him confidence.

Two goals in three games may not be enough to make us forget van Persie immediately, but Arteta and Diaby's superb display against Liverpool certainly softened the blow that Song's departure caused. If both of the midfielders stay injury-free and Wilshere comes back when he is expected to do (which is in a month's time), Wenger's decision not to bring in Song's replacement should prove right.

The Man of the Match is widely considered to be Abu Diaby, but it is difficult to pick a single player because it was an accomplished team performance.  Everybody contributed to keeping a third consecutive clean sheet. However, it is fair to say that Diaby was outstanding both defensively and offensively. This was one of his best performances without doubt. Personally, I wasn't a big fan of Diaby (not because he is an alleged Tottenham fan, but) because he was so inconsistent you never knew which Diaby was going to turn up on the day. When he had just began to show some kind of consistency, he suffered the long-term injury. Let's hope he can keep up the good work after the international break.

Overall, it was very encouraging team performance, which suggested us that they could be title contenders if they can reproduce this day's performance week in week out.

Player ratings

Mannone: 7
Made a couple of good saves. There were moments of indecisiveness, but other than that, he had no problem.

Jenkinson: 7
After poor passing at early stages of the game, he looked solid defensively. He is sometimes criticised for not getting forward enough to help the right winger, but he is a defender at the end of the day. We are quite happy with him concentrating on the defensive side of his job, especially when compared with his counterpart, Glen Johnson, whose too much involvement in going forward cost his team dearly. Jenkinson even made an effort from distance.

Mertesacker: 7
His passing was mixed. One of the bad ones forced Arteta to earn a yellow card. He presented a strong case for Liverpool's penalty claim, but thankfully he got away with it, probably because of Suarez's reputation for going down too easily. Replays showed that the first Liverpool penalty shout was ruled out correctly as the Germany international won the ball cleanly.

Vermaelen: 8
Made some crucial clearances and blocks. Committed performance from the new captain.

Gibbs: 7
Good going forward as well. Had a shot worth trying.

Cazorla: 8
He was in the heart of Arsenal's creativity. Delivered the killer pass to set up a goal for Podolski and scored Arsenal's second goal.

Arteta: 8
Most underrated player because of his deeper position and defensive role, but he put in some important tackles and made 92 passes with passing success ratio of a staggering 94.6%

Diaby: 9
He was awesome in winning the ball, carrying it forward and passing it.

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: 6
Largely kept quiet by Sterling.

Podolski: 8
Scored his first goal for Arsenal, Arsenal's first goal of the season, and set up for a goal for Cazorla via a neat one-two with him. His finish was precise and composed. In light of his performance for the German national team in the Euro 2012, we were sceptical about the best position for him being the left wing, based on his poor crossing. However, this game showed we were wrong. He often cuts in to the middle and helps Gibbs defensively so that the left-back can go forward to provide the width and deliver crosses. Arsenal's attacking lineup started taking shape. It seems the only position open to competition is the right wing.

Giroud: 6
Missed a couple of good chances to score, but worked very hard. His movements were good on and off the ball. Made a few good interceptions.


Ramsey: 6
73rd minute substitute for the Ox who got a kick. He did what he was supposed to do, which was to help Jenkinson and protect the two-goal lead.

Santos: 6
Replaced Podolski in the 82nd minute in order to shore up the defence.

Koscielny: N/A
Came on in the 90th minute to replace Vermaelen who suffered a knock.

No comments:

Post a Comment