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Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2

Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2

Upon viewing the roster of available players for the game yesterday, you couldn`t help but wonder how the manager has allowed our squad to enter the season in this shape. The pre match tittle tattle revolved around the prospective involvement of Samir Nasri. That we had to start a player who has one foot out of the door is a quite farcical situation. Fair play to Nasri, he put a shift in. But had he broken his leg in the game, a farcical situation could have become a catastrophe. One has to ask why we are at a stage where the cusp of catastrophe is a necessary default position. The dithering and indecisiveness in a make or break summer has left the beginning of our season in maelstrom.

Nasri was indeed named in the starting line up; there was a murmuring of boos as his name was announced. Why I can`t quite fathom. There will be plenty of time to boo him when he`s left. However, Nasri won the crowd round simply by visibly applying himself. All 14 players that were used did. None more so than Emmanuel Frimpong; but he learned a valuable lesson in channelling that enthusiasm. He picked up an early booking for trying to wrestle the ball off of Jordan Henderson for a throw in. I thought the referee lacked a little common sense here. I don`t think Frimpong was being petulant, I think he genuinely thought it was his throw in. Around twenty minutes later, Stewart Downing punched the ball away on the touchline and was not punished. The referee was swift with the card when I think a quiet word would have sufficed.

Arsenal`s list of available players depleted further when Laurent Koscielny pulled up fifteen minutes into the game with what appeared, to my amateur eye, to be a slipped disc. Sebastien Squillaci has not yet been on the bench this season, which probably tells you the extent to which he figures in the manager`s plans. 19 year old Ignasi Miquel entered the fray. With Sagna out at left back and Carl Jenkinson looking considerably out of his depth at right back, Vermaelen was left with a big job in holding the back line together. It was an undertaking he performed admirably. The Gunners were indebted to their goalkeeper too when Jose Enrique was given time and space to swing a left wing cross into the area. Which Andy Carroll towered above Sagna to head goalwards. Szczesny was alert to the danger and tipped the effort around the post.

Arsenal were once again carved open on their right hand side. Like a lot of the young lads on display, Jenkinson was put in the rather unfair position of making a full debut in a Premiership match, six months after he last played. As an 18 year old. In League One. Jose Enrique found the pass down the line to Dirk Kuyt, Kuyt hooked a cross back into the box for a free header for Jordan Henderson. But he couldn`t generate enough power to trouble Szczesny. Charlie Adam had a cheeky attempt from the halfway line which just whistled over the bar as Liverpool`s footing in the game became more assured. But the Gunners did briefly give cause for excitement when Emmanuel Frimpong motored past Stewart Downing on the edge of Liverpool`s area and his fulminating drive was tipped just wide by Reina. The opportunity appeared to lift Frimpong`s confidence and he began to take a hold of the midfield for the remainder of the half.

Want-away Samir Nasri was the next to cause a flurry when he dribbled past Lucas on the edge of his own area and tore forward unchallenged until he side stepped Agger`s tackle on the cusp of Liverpool`s area, but the Frenchman dragged his shot just wide. The effort was enough for the home fans to re indulge the Nasri ditty. But at half time, you were still left with the impression that the Gunners are going to struggle to score goals in lieu of van Persie pulling off something special. Of course, we sold the best creative midfielder in the world this week. It apparently didn`t occur to anyone at the club to go about filling that gap. Liverpool sold Torres and already had a deal for Suarez lined up. Arsenal`s dithering means they`ve already played three games and are no closer to making amends.

Liverpool looked only the slightly more likely of two quite ordinary sides. Henderson found Charlie Adam in midfield, Adam`s pass to Carroll inside the Arsenal area was over hit, but Carroll touched back to Martin Kelly whose rasping drive hit the outside of the post. Arsenal`s best opportunity came via some poor officiating. Van Persie`s pass to Arshavin in Liverpool`s area left the little Russian with a great deal to do. Arshavin hauled Martin Kelly to the ground, but the referee waved play on. Arshavin cut back to van Persie, but his close range shot was beaten out by the legs of Pepe Reina. But Liverpool were to get the ultimate advantage as the Gunners were reduced to ten men. Frimpong did very well to intercept a pass from Lucas, but as the ball broke loose he went in high and late on Jordan Henderson. The referee was left with little choice but to award a second yellow. It could easily have been a straight red. Frimpong`s inexperience proved costly, despite an encouraging performance.

Liverpool scented blood and brought Suarez off the bench to make the difference with his movement. Jose Enrique played a simple ball into the channel for Suarez, who tried to steer the ball past Szczesny with his right foot, only for the Pole to block him. Charlie Adam then found Stewart Downing marauding into the same area, with Jenkinson seriously lagging. Downing`s shot was brilliantly tipped around the post by Szczesny again. But the ultimate punishment was hanging over Arsenal like the sword of Damocles. It would be inexperience again that would lead to the hammer blow. Suarez found Meireles, who in turn found Suarez again, clearly in an offside position. Miquel came across to cover. But not wanting to clear the ball with his weaker right foot, he took a sloppy touch and tried to clear the ball with the outside of his left, succeeding only in striking it against Ramsey and into the net. Ramsey for his part failed to track the run of Meireles. 19 year old boys making understandable errors, only to find they`re being covered by other 19 year old boys.

Thomas Vermaelen strode forward with a 30 yard effort to try and rescue the game. But Arsenal were put out of their misery in injury time. Liverpool cut a tiring Arsenal to ribbons as a one touch passing exchange between Lucas and Meireles found Suarez inside the area to stroke into an unguarded net. Chants of "spend some f****g money" were nipped in the bud and drowned out by the Red Action section. After an initial flurry of boos, the players were applauded off by the support, who continued to sing. I think we all recognised that the players on the pitch but their all into the game. But most of them are more accustomed to Monday nights at Underhill. They were put in an unfair position by a manager who gave them too much to do too soon. That we are in this situation three games in is negligible. If it`s not sorted quickly, it could be fatal. LD.

13.SZCZESNY, 25.JENKINSON, 6.KOSCIELNY (49.Miquel '17), 5.VERMAELEN, 3.SAGNA, 26.FRIMPONG, 16.RAMSEY, 8.NASRI, 14.WALCOTT (52.Bendtner '77), 23.ARSHAVIN (46.Lansbury '69), 10.v.PERSIE(c). Unused; 15.Chamberlain, 21.Fabianski, 29.Chamakh, 31.Ryo.

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday August 21 2011
Time: 12:01PM


Let's not be too harsh on the state of the squad eh, there's clearly no super quality out there at something that can only be described as "value". I love Wmger and as a bloke I'm sure he's a cracking chap, but this summer has been a shocking one I'm sorry to say.
21/08/2011 12:41:00
*Wenger. And I also have real, real fears about this season. The board hate the fans, the fans hate each other, we pay the most in the world. We're in trouble and it's not all Abramovich's fault.
21/08/2011 12:43:00
5th position finish for ur lot.
21/08/2011 12:56:00
I don't think booing at the games helps anybody. I think if fans want to demonstrate they should vote with their feet and don't go to the games. Arsene and the board would soon change their ideas if they saw a half empty stadium every week. To be fair, i thought the defence were outstanding yesterday and were beaten eventually by an offside fluke. I thought Vermaelen and Szczesny looked superb and was impressed by Jenkinson and Frimpong considering it was their first full games (hopefully the sending off will be the best thing that happens to Frimpong long term). Our trouble now is creativity without Cesc. Please please please Arsene, just a centre back and a couple of creative, experienced midfielders to replace Cesc and inevitably Nasri and with all those injuries and suspensions back we might not do as badly as we think. Also, Walcott MUST move into the strikers role. Completely wasted on the wing.
21/08/2011 13:14:00
For LD to say this you know that there really is going to be some ill feeling amongst wot i would describe as LESSER fans! I also feel he has got this article spot on, i do not know what the odds were for the game but liverpool should have been odds on to beat us in our own back yard. Something that should only ever be witnessed in the carling cup with the kids playing. This is the PL with the kids playing and no forseable change in the future! It also looks like mata is now on his way to chelsea, wenger wont spend the money teams are demanding for their players, and we can not compete with the likes of chelski and city in the wage department. The only saviour for us in the near future as it seems is the finacial fair play rules. But as we all know all the D I C K S that run the game off football are corrupt as hell anyway so it looks as though we have got 3 choices as a club 1) we stay how we are and risk not making the CL year in yr out costing us money there and loosing fans and season ticket holders. Again costing the club money as fans WILL NOT pay the summs of money the club commands now as a mid table has been club. 2) we break our transfer and pay structure and take a risk with our finances and do not know where we will be finacially in the next 10 yrs and risk huge price hikes in future for fans but make the CL yr in yr out. 3) we do nothing and pray that the financial fair play rules are enforced stopping the likes of city, chelsea, qpr, man u who ever flaunts the cash they have not earned, from pushing us into midd table obscurity! But then after saying point 3 it does take me back to the point in time that sky came in with all the money and it shows how different things could have been for so many clubs had they been lucky enough to be up there with us and united at that point in time. To be honest i have no idea wot the answer is in the long term but in the iterim, we need to garuntee we do keep making the CL yr in yr out and that is looking less and less likely with the shape of our squad. 3 of the first team has or is on the brink of leaving the club and NONE have been replaced or positions strengthened, this is not acceptable and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgencey. 10 days left till transfer deadline and the squad is on its last legs before we have even really started the season, not good, not good at all. Good luck arsene and arsenal we are gonna need it!!
21/08/2011 13:34:00
I don't think you can pick only on the youngsters as the principle reason for failure to win this game. Defensively we were where we have wanted to be for some time. We were short in midfield for sure but Jenkinson did his job well and, in this game at any rate, Sagna wasn't a weakness at LB. Any success Enrique had down the left was for much the same reason that we weren't successful down the flanks going forward. Walcott and Arshavin failed to step up to the mark. You can say justifiably that there wasn't enough going on in midfield to help them and while Nasri played well enough it's all still a bit too early for Ramsey. As a consequence Walcott didn't see enough of the ball and can't make things happen for himself while Arshavin saw quite a bit of it and simply doesn't seem able to make it happen anyway.
21/08/2011 13:48:00
It's certainly very true that those players didn't perform, Walcott in particular. I'm amazed he stayed on as long as he did. But ultimately we were still in the game. But the fact is, the game was changed by two peices of, quite understandable, inexperience. Frimpong's red card and Miquel's refusal to clear with his weaker foot cost us the game. You can have one or two players making their Premiership debut, we shouldn't be in a position where the guts of our team are more used to Underhill than the Emirates.
Little Dutch
21/08/2011 15:05:00
Walcott was awful, he recieved the ball plenty of time but did absolutely nothing with it. I can't see him ever being a top class winger, he doesn't have the dribbling skills or crossing ability. Arshavin was just as bad, just ran in to liverpool players and got dispossesed countless times. Neither of them made much of an attempt to get in to the box when the other was crossing meaning we only had RVP competing against 2 or 3 Liverpool players. Miquel should have belted it clear with his left foot but at the same time I didn't see why Ramsey had to go towards the ball at that time. Ramsey had a poor game and again it's hard to fault him when he has been thrown in at the deep end with a bunch of other young inexperienced players for support. On the plus side Frimpong looked strong and dynamic, the opposite of Denilson. Jenkinson looked solid and reliable with good crossing ability. I can only assume there are certain factors beyond our understanding as to why AW has failed to sign more experienced players yet. I'm not against signing young players for the future so the arrival of Chamberlain, Campbell, Jenkinson is definitely a positive. I'm sure there will be a few signings in the next 10 days but still can't understand why it's being done so late.
21/08/2011 15:50:00
after 3 games, it is very obvious that rvp was left too isolated from the midfield. i reckon that if we were to play 4-5-1 with song & frimpong, we would be quite strong defensively. alternatively, we can play ramsey & wilshere with either song or frimpong. the only worry is the creative outlet. none of them has the type of vision that fabregas has. given that we bought gervinho, oxlade-chamberlain & campbell along with miyachi, all who can operate as speedy wingers, i think we are going for a tactical change this season. our offensive will be initiated more from these wingers attacking the opponent's fullbacks rather than through the middle when we had 2 of the best through ball maestros in the modern game, bergkamp & fabregas one after another. i think we just need a creative spark in the middle to pull the string, maybe nasri, if he stays or someone like hazard - someone to play the "messi" role in front of 2 solid holding midfielders. all is not lost, i hope. if we look at the the 4 options we have now, song, wilshere, ramsey & frimpong, they are much better defensively compared to fabregas, denilson & diaby. i think we would concede much less goals this season. of course, scoring as much goals like we used to is a different question
21/08/2011 17:42:00
just finished watching the bolton city game on sky, what a refreshing change to watch the home team dig in, score twice and actually look like they knew what commitment means but i digress, if wenger does not put in a bid for cahill and another club gets him ie liverpool then the mans mentallity will surely be questioned never mind the money, weve got stacks of it or so the board keep telling us or were going to end up as a mid table club with no chance of winning anything for a lot more years the next 10 days are going to define the aspirations of arsenal
cornish gooner
21/08/2011 18:25:00
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