Abou-t Time We Beat Liverpool At Home

Arsenal 1 – 0 Liverpool

1 – 0 Diaby (72)

or ‘The Joy Of Six’ for the sake of a cheap gag.

Liverpool were vanquished last night in a solid performance, a win ground out against an obdurate and unadventurous opponent who really only came to life once Abou Diaby had broken the deadlock. With United and Chelsea dropping points, the nine point gap was reduced to six, offering proof that the title race is not a procession, offering hope that the gap can be overhauled. Whether that hope is real or forlorn will be known by mid-April as remaining fixtures run down and the pair encounter the remainder of the top six teams.

Wenger reshuffled before kick-off, Emmanuel Eboue taking the right back slot and Nicklas Bendtner leading the line, ensuring that Andrey Arshavin returned to his most effective, deeper-lying role. The Dane put in a decent performance, for someone with reportedly limited mobility, he appeared to have a full range of movement, including crashing to the ground without concern for his own well-being. The official was suitably unimpressed, a yellow card followed.

The Dane had a few opportunities, skying a couple of shots, denied by Reina in both halves as he sought to make up for lost time, his season being given the opportunity to start now. His general link-up play was good and he was busy making a nuisance of himself to the Liverpool defence, keeping the pressure across the front line, not really allowing the visitors to settle.

There was understandable edginess in the display, partly through a concern for not being caught on the counter-attack, a lot through the nullifying tactics of Liverpool. Chances were at a premium, few clear cut in the first half, some more in the second as confidence grew and the win sought. Almunia intervened from Gerrard’s deflected effort whilst Gallas should perhaps have made Reina work with a header from Cesc’s cross.

Early on Nasri added to injury concerns, eventually succumbing and replaced as half-time approached by Rosicky. The Czech would have a lasting impact, although prior to that his touch betrayed him as he bore down on goal, leaden footed as Reina closed the angle of the near post in the second half.

An unsurprisingly goalless first half transformed when the second commenced. Arshavin and Lucas traded chances, neither troubling the opposition custodians. Ngog though threatened with his pace, Gallas’ tackle reminiscent of Bobby Moore on Pele in the 1970 World Cup. Gallas was excellent last night, his tackles generally well-timed but positionally, he snuffed out a lot of the danger before it really emerged.

With the final quarter of the game in progress, the Arsenal breakthrough came. Bendtner bundled, huffed, puffed and eventually found Rosicky whose pacy cross was met by the marauding Diaby; an absolutely cracking header which was close to being unstoppable. In fact it was since Reina failed to get anywhere near it. Patrick Vieira may have made his return to English football but [Thwack! We will have none of those comparisons here thank you – ed.]

Liverpool picked up a bit after that, although in truth the main threat was from Gerrard conning the referee with his diving abilities. Quite why he did not pick up a yellow card for his tumble as the final whistle loomed when Bendtner received one for a less obvious effort is something that the referee should explain. The EPLs PR department need to look once more at why the officials do not have some sort of limited interview afterwards although the media would not be too happy as it would rob them of the chance to create controvesy.

Almunia has looked under pressure recently. A criticism of him is that he cannot ‘win’ matches for Arsenal. He certainly did his best to dispel that misapprehension with an outstanding save from Babel, tipping the Dutchman’s ferocious drive onto the crossbar late on.

It was not a vintage performance; it did not have to be, a winning one sufficed. There is a long way to go to overhaul the gap at the top and last night should not be taken as a sign that it will be quickly recovered. To the chagrin of those who wrote Arsenal off, the possibility of a title remains, the desire will be the key.

Crucially, patience was shown in the performance, the passes not too hurried on a consistent basis as the points were chased. That will be a key trait that needs to be repeated as opponents seek to stifle Arsenal. Testing times still remain; whilst United and Chelsea have tough fixtures against teams at the top, those at the bottom have points they need for differing reasons. The title race though is not as clear cut as some would have you believe.

’til Tomorrow.

241 thoughts on “Abou-t Time We Beat Liverpool At Home

  1. no7 says:

    i cant believe it, but apparently no one at soccernet.com has covered the midweek games????????

    you know, you always expect to see articles praising chelsea, liverpool and man u, and saying same old weaknesses from arsenal again.

    yesterday was such a big day, and you are telling me none of the reporters were down at the stadiums to write their specials??????

    leck mich doch!

  2. KansasGooner says:

    now if Landon can just put a similar tackle on ManU’s #10 this weekend…

  3. ZimPaul says:

    Arsenal!!!
    ps Cesc is not leaving, AW is honest to say ‘you cannot know’- there are so many variables. It is highly unlikely anyway.

  4. California Gooner says:

    Finsbury, I agree with your comments. i don’t get to games very often and almost exclusively watch them on TV. But when I do, I’m always excited to be able to see what players are doing away from the ball, ‘off camera’ as it were. When somebody makes a run the TV is unlikely to pick it up unless a pass is made. Obviously, TV is better for tight shots — and of course there are no ‘bad’ seats — but not as good for watching overall movement in the stadium.

  5. Luke says:

    Hi

    Would anyone remember to whom Vermaelen owe his black eye to? Which Chelsea player?

    Looks pretty bad.

    Thanks.

  6. Bergkamp Ghoulfest says:

    @ Fungunner, others

    I’m sorry but the “public forum” argument is BS. Some of you (I exclude FunGunner, who articulated his point well) sound like the Chinese government, honestly. It is not a fan’s job to withhold his own opinions for fear of jeopardising the morale of the team, not on an internet blog, for goodness sake. Booing at the stadium is sin but if even here we’re supposed to wax lyrical about Denilson’s defensive virtues and stats or shut up completely, then football has become just another silly religion.

  7. Firstlady says:

    Luke if i remember correctly it’s Malouda whom by the way I think got away with plenty of stuff in that game without being booked.

  8. Frank says:

    You dont read very carefully do you, Bergkamp Ghoulfest?

  9. Luke says:

    Thanks Firstlady. It was a tough game to follow on TV. To have been down so early, I credit myself for staying switched on throughout. But I must admit not noticing when TV got hurt. Malouda is normally not known for roughhouse tactics. Probably the worst offenders are Terry, Carvalho, Jon Obi Mikel, Essien (didn’t play that game).

  10. goonerandy says:

    Frank – You seem like an intelligent bloke; are you honestly saying that if somebody makes a well thought out point regarding the team or a player which is not blowing smoke up whoever’s arse is out of order?

    I do agree that some of the hysterical reactions are just plain stupid, but it seems as though people who make reasoned points get lumped in with the idiots in some people’s view. If that is the case some very good and relevant points will go unheard.

  11. Frank says:

    Well actually the point I was making is that FunGunner is a woman.

  12. Frank says:

    She has bottle too. Although Passenal’s bottle is very much to my taste.

  13. ZimPaul says:

    BG your argument is ridiculous when placed in context, ie reality and with some perspective.

    Arsenal’s position is overwhelmingly positive, and Denilson in particular is an exciting young talent (nobody said he was the finished article) so why would you choose to be overly critical? Against what yardstick are you analysing? Why?

    You should see some of the footage of ‘early Vieira’ where he might be described as dodgy at best, and certainly inconsistent.

    Most current young Arsenal talents except Cesc have been pilloried by their own fans in the same way as Denilson, and yet one by one they are becoming recognised by most fans as good to excellent – Song, Diaby, Traore, Bendtner etc. All the evidence, and it is extensive, says that Denilson will be, or is now, the same.

    What makes you think Wenger would keep a player who is not good enough?

  14. goonerandy says:

    Stepanovs?
    Jeffers?
    Wright?
    Wreh?

    Wenger makes mistakes (the same as all a mangers) but I would not swap him for anybody. Your point about being overly critical is a fair one. But it seems that any level of critical is over critical on here.

  15. goonerandy says:

    And nobody has answered my question. I am not trying to start an argument either, I am honestly interested in people’s thoughts.

  16. ZimPaul says:

    GAndy, your argument is just as facile. It is not about mistakes or non-mistakes, it is about strategy. Is the strategy effective or not? Are the results there to prove a good strategy in place?

    I hardly think the players mentioned will ever be held up by anybody as typical of Wenger strategy.

  17. Frank says:

    Most ‘Arsenal’ blogsites, lead by leGrove and Online Gooner are beacon’s of negativity. People who have become quite disabled by a life of pessimism flock to these sites in the vain hope that they can be saved. No chance.

    ACLF on the other hand has taken a different path. Lead by a site owner that had the bottle to stand up publicly to the BBC over the Beveren Affair. The site has drawn real Arsenal supporters who have become utterly disillusioned with whinging nonesense promulgated by the pessimists and the press and media. We recognise that as far as football is concerned we don’t really know our arses from our elbow, but then neither does anyone else.

    We are all different and many of us may not like each other but we do share one belief and that is that Arsenal is the finest club in the world of football and we are not going to run down its manager and players. Why as a supporter would you want to dis your own manager and players in public just for the sake of expressing an opinion which is probably wrong?

  18. ZimPaul says:

    It is very easy to criticise a player or a manager in a game, and equally meaningless, because football is played over a season by a team, in a context (financial, competitive, objectives etc).

    Most critical posts are, in this way, not reasoned but actually meaningless.

  19. ZimPaul says:

    A healthy view by a supporter might be as follows: “I enjoy every match my team plays, not just for the outcome but for the game. I like every player in an Arsenal shirt, including most the ex-players because they play in my team”.

    Why?

    “I am an Arsenal supporter. I enjoy it. Every neutral commentator says they play the best football in the world, alongside Barcelona, that makes me happy”.

  20. Frank says:

    Laura Harvey has a dream job I reckon. She is now the Ladies first team manager. Good luck to her and to the squad.

  21. Frank says:

    29 years old and manager of Arsenal Ladies…that is a fantastic achievement.

  22. Luke says:

    Frank

    I agree with you. We have to be unashamedly biased for Arsenal FC to be called an Arsenal supporter.

  23. ZimPaul says:

    I wonder who next, after Eastmond, will get a first team jersey or a little run out there, whether by injury or design? Who knows out there? Who’s the ‘talked about’ lightie coming on fast?

  24. Bergkamp Ghoulfest says:

    ZP, what is so “ridiculous” about my argument? I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. I reserve my right to enjoy my team’s performances and to talk rationally about tactics and management like an adult. Simple as.

  25. goonerandy says:

    Well, I take your points but don’t nessasary agree.

    Possitive/Negative view points are not black and white. Just because I voice a concner in a particualr area doe not make me a negative supporter. It is funny really, because I am quite the opposite. I am 100% comitted and 100% behind each player. Some I rate more than others.

    I don’t think highlighting area’s of concern is a bad thing provided it is done constructively. It is a shame (from my point of view) there are not more here with the same opinion as I enjoy a good debate about something with somebody who shares the same passion I do for the club.

    We have a great club, which is heading in the right direction. But all is not perfect (the same as every club) and it is folly to just ignore the bad areas’s just as it is stupid to not take delight in the good area’s (of which there are much more).

  26. Stringfellow Hawke says:

    Well done, goonerandy.

    What you have posted and debated ( with applomb ) this morning about having the right to a “balanced” view of the Arsenal is without doubt the normal, intelligent, reasoned individuals viewpoint.

    Unfortunately, you have the likes of le moan.. who very quickly ban you ( think i lasted 2 days ) if you praise the meritocracy of the grand way in which our club is set up to be a monsterous super club for decades to come with the infrastructure and conveyor belt of talent our current legendary manager has instilled.

    When we lose or draw, the piece of shit blog owners like to call the greatest manager that ever lived ” a french bleep” or tell him to “fuck off back to france” …. it was after these type of expletives that i fell out with them … they are not normal people, they are disturbed, gormless, dreamers. They have a merry band of brain dead followers who go down with cherry blossom poisioing daily. Brain dead, boot licking chat suits them to a tee.

    However, there is another extreme displayed on this very blog, as you highlighted andy.
    No matter how positive you come across about the club.. one minor dissenting voice about a certain player not being up to the task yet.. and the code of the cult is broken…

    you are suddenly a chameleon, a shapeshifter, a doomer etc etc

    its possibly more ridiculous than the other mob at the other extreme, they are very clear.. we hate arsenal and the manager and we will ridicule them at every opportunity.. and tinge it with so called love of the club 😆

    this mob here, are meant to be the real fans of the club, who understand where we are going following the build of the stadium, youth project etc

    but a real fan, a real blogging atmosphere of intelligent, reasoned gooners.. will have the overriding feeling of mass positivity, as we are set up wonderfully for the future, with the allowable feelings of raising good debate on the virtues of certain players at certain times.

    otherwise.. what’s the point?

    nobody that ever lived… or will ever live…. will be perfect.

    wenger can and had made mistakes in the past, he never does them purposely to the detriment of the club, and the morons who boo at the stadium need shooting… but if you feel denilson is not quite up to the task.. why not voice it on here with reason?

  27. goonerandy says:

    And I am sure my keyboard is making me look dyslexic.

  28. goonerandy says:

    That is exactly my point S Hawke.

  29. Firstlady says:

    where is our dose of stone cold Friday?

  30. ZimPaul says:

    The most interesting issue with the younger players is not the usual infantile – they are good, they are bad – but how they are developing in terms of the overall strategy and team. My own view is that Denilson and Song were the players of the season last year, and in all probability, the main reason we are playing Porto next week. I am sure Denilson hasn’t reached his standard this season, but he’s shown why he is there. In all likelihood, he will become a very good player.

    Hawke’s nonsensical ‘call to reason’ is the usual “I am Wenger’s biggest supporter but being the snob I am, I reserve the right to call him a twat because all “human beings are fallible”‘.

    But surely you realise that Wenger’s biggest critic by far is himself. Le Grove doesn’t even come close. It’s not about his mistakes, which are many, but how the strategy is panning out.

    You’re late Hawke, we’ve heard the ‘fairweather fan’ report before, in all its variables and it still stinks the same way. GAndy is more humble and sincere.

  31. OneOfUs says:

    “I wonder who next, after Eastmond, will get a first team jersey or a little run out there, whether by injury or design? Who knows out there? Who’s the ‘talked about’ lightie coming on fast?”

    We’ve got 14 players out on loan at the moment, which shows that “Project Youth” is on the right track.

    Despite all these temporary moves, and all the injuries, the first team’s pretty well covered anywhere on the pitch. Still, I like the look of Luke Freeman and Chuks Aneke – winger/striker and attacking midfielder respectively.

    They both offer something we don’t really have. Of course I doubt we’ll see them for a while, but I think they’ve got a good chance of breaking through purely because there aren’t equivalent players in front of them.

    Freeman’s very direct – a lighting-quick Paul Dickov with more skill and finishing ability. Chuks Aneke’s – whisper it – comparable to Vieira, but plays further forward.

  32. jbh says:

    I just cannot understand why supposed fans/supporters would come to an Arsenal supporting blog and spout forth with the same drivel that the fans of other teams (including the paid biased pundits) dish out against the Arsenal Manager/Players week in and week out? Its the easiest thing in the world to criticise a young player (young players should never make a mistake, right).

    Either they really support the other teams (trolls), want to give arguments to the pundits, journos, etc, or they are naive, and a bit thick.

  33. goonerandy says:

    jbh – You are wrong mate. It is that exact attitude which causes the problems and arguments as well. Trolling is not the same as airing a reasoned opinion.

  34. no7 says:

    Frank,

    any idea if kelly smith and alex scott are coming back on loan?

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