Liverpool Preview & From The Vaults: November 1952

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The final matchday before Christmas arrives as Arsenal travel to Anfield for a chance to put themselves in contention for a return to the top four as 2015 beckons. Liverpool need the points to lift themselves into the top half and the goals that turn their goal difference positive.

That opening paragraph underlines the depth to which both clubs have underachieved this season. Liverpool’s is perhaps less of a surprise given their summer but Arsenal? Most of us hoped – expected – better than to be sitting sixth behind West Ham and Southampton.

Thank God Fat Sam’s boys are playing better than normal; chasing West Ham in the table normally means you are involved in a relegation battle.

Predicting the outcome this afternoon is a tricky proposition. Despite only conceding two goals in their last two games, Arsenal’s defensive frailties remain, lurking in the darkest recesses waiting to be exposed as they were at Stoke last month. Arsène was quick to point out the attack was far from misfiring from the interval and has continued to work well since.

Liverpool by contrast are struggling for goals. They didn’t replace Suarez effectively and Brendan Rodgers freely admits Daniel Sturridge’s injury has hit the squad hard, scoring just seven in their eight home games so far this season.

Maybe it isn’t that hard to predict after all; 0-0.

Given how horribly the afternoon turned out the last time the two sides met at Anfield, that would represent some improvement but there would definitely be a sense of disappointment. Liverpool are misfiring and victory today is not beyond Arsenal at all but then again I thought the same about the recent visit of Manchester United to The Emirates; it didn’t end well, did it?

Reports this morning suggest that both Ox and Theo Walcott have passed fitness tests and will travel to Anfield. Make do and mend? It’s not a bad solution to have but could be better. It’s hard to see anything other fifteen or so minutes for the latter but the former means the only change to the side which comprehensively beat Newcastle will be the return of Calum Chambers for Hector Bellerin.

Some suggest that it might be a straight swap rather than Debuchy dropping into the right back slot. I can’t see that personally and we have to move away from ‘square pegs into round holes’ solutions when players are fit. Chambers is raw but represents less of a risk than an experienced full back being played out of position.

Wenger spoke at his press conference about his plans this winter; if the right deal for the right price can be found, he will buy. If not, we go through the second half of the season with the same weaknesses in the squad, praying that the injury gods have finished with their hilarity for five months. Frankly, it’s not much of a plan.

Which is why I don’t think Arsène will run with it. Previous talk had been about completing deals this month, ready to be announced early next month and I hope that is still the case. Laurent Koscielny is at least a fortnight away from playing which takes us to the final Premier League game before the FA Cup Third Round tie at home to Hull City.

Despite needing reinforcements in midfield and for me, a specialist defensive midfielder, it would be of little surprise if a fourth centre back is the only signing. Where that player sits in the scheme is hard to determine with injuries but it would free Chambers to develop into a central midfielder.

The talk of that happening is reminiscent of Thomas Vermaelen. Many felt he could fulfil that role but Arsène disagreed. Whether it was something he tried in training and saw it didn’t work is unknown. Perhaps it was nothing more than the manager not having faith or confidence in the Belgian’s ability to fulfil the role.

This afternoon’s line-up picks itself, mainly because there are few alternatives. Podolski for Welbeck? It won’t be Campbell, that’s for sure but beyond that, options are severely limited. Perhaps Monreal for Gibbs? It’s nothing more than tinkering around the edges with the core players in the XI facing little competition thanks to injury.

It’s important to take three points this afternoon. The fixtures this week for others around Arsenal are tough with United meeting Tottenham, Southampton Chelsea and West Ham face both Chelsea and Arsenal. The top four is a realistic target by the time we face Southampton in 2015.

Wenger touched on this,

I think we are getting better but that’s what’s at stake. We have to show that in the final part of the season because we go now in the Premier League where we need to win the games. After we have the FA Cup and the Champions League and without defensive solidity we have no future.

Capitalising on the failings of others has been the ruthless touch we have not seen on a consistent basis this season. There are hints of it at the moment but we’ve been here before. At some point, a run has to be put together to climb the table and stay there.

FROM THE VAULTS

Today’s dip into the archives comes from November 1952. Arsenal arrived at Anfield in seventh place following an inconsistent start. Including the previous week’s victory over Middlesbrough at Highbury, Arsenal only lost 5 of the remaining 26 games to the end of the season and ended as champions.

Enjoy today’s match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.15111952 Liverpool 5-1

253 thoughts on “Liverpool Preview & From The Vaults: November 1952

  1. JonJon says:

    4th place is a trophy…
    its great..
    it gets us in CL every year…..in the hope we play shit teams…

  2. SV says:

    Arsene: we played a little bit with a handbrake in the first half…

    I’m not kidding…

  3. Alex Ice Cream says:

    The apathy on here is (not) amazing. In years gone by this game would have been a big deal. Now we all just accept how rubbish we are with a Gallic shrug.

  4. Wavey says:

    Need to win the next two games to keep in touch with 4th. At least West Ham are away to Chelsea on Boxing Day which means we need a Chelsea win. West Ham away is significant.

  5. Alex Ice Cream says:

    JJ,

    Even we should beat Monaco but you never know with this lot.

  6. Moe says:

    West Ham is our competition..

    West Ham.

    Just take that in for a second.

  7. SV says:

    Arsene: Goalscorer Olivier Giroud was quite sick overnight…

    So, why was he played? It’s not like we have no options up front? It’s just rediculous.

  8. Wavey says:

    Moe

    It still seems likely that West Ham will slide. The competition is Southampton and Tottenham. The Spuds are always likely to screw up, but if Southampton don’t lose too many to injuries they can challenge for 4th all season.

  9. Moe says:

    Wavey

    We keep saying that, but it hasn’t happened yet. Although it will be probably happen, i’ll wait and see, they may surprise people.

    I’m still confident we will make 4th, we have to, we just have to. That’s the only thing we are good at.

  10. JonJon says:

    alex youve missed too many years..
    weve gone through the ‘kick off’ phase…
    now we are at ‘whatever’ phase…is it 2017 yet…

  11. SV says:

    We still have to go to the Tots though, where I expect a handbrake and a last minute genious move to throw away the points.

  12. consolsbob says:

    To be honest, I am pretty apathetic about this side.

    I can’t love them, I can’t really care about them. A collection of players with whom I have little connection who deliver inconsistent, ragged and gutless performances every other week.

    What are we supposed to do? Get worked up every time we fail or get excited every time we ‘turn the corner’?

    Can’t do it, won’t do it.

    We know that this side, under this manager, is not good enough.

    It’s tiring to try and follow.

  13. SV says:

    So, 10 points out of 21 in the last 7 league games.

    The relegation form.

    The crisis fades away and “run” goes on…

  14. Alex Ice Cream says:

    JJ, Bob,

    I could not agree more. I can’t be bothered to invest the time and energy anymore. Why do you think I disappered for so long?

    You post sums it all up Bob. This lot are such an irrelevance that I no longer get excited about games or upset when we lose.

    2017 can’t come soon enough.

  15. JonJon says:

    our next 2 away games are westham and southampton..
    talk about having to beat the teams around you to win your cup..

    yup..weve found our level..

    lets hope we dont take our cardboard cutout first half tactics into these games..or we’ll have to win the CL to stay in it…

    hahahahahah what am i saying…winning the CL? hahaha

    what we all doing on thursdays?

  16. JonJon says:

    i thought yogi had banned you and forgot about you to be honest 🙂

  17. SV says:

    The fact that many fans look forward to the manager’s contract end in 2017 more than to the next game is quite telling…

  18. Wavey says:

    Moe

    It’s me being a doomer then, because I just don’t feel we have a devine right to be 4th. That tends to rely on teams around us fucking up and us putting in our usual late run. Everton had it in their own hands last season and screwed it up, they had kept going there would have been nothing we could do.
    If we do it again that will be great, because that will mean that we have put some consistency together. At the moment we can’t win more than 2 games on the trot and we seem to slip on every single banana skin. The run of games coming up could be the same as we have both Southampton and Man City away in the not so distant future. I’m already looking to the Man Utd game in May as the one that we might need to win to save our season. That’s if we are still in it then.
    I take no joy or satisfaction out of our poor performances, I don’t want us to lose games just as a we of getting rid of Wenger and I don’t believe we need a season out of Europe to teach us a lesson.
    This team is hugely deficient in midfield and defence and if that is not resolved in January we will not be in the CL next season. Scoring 2 goals at Liverpool would normally be regarded as the forwards doing their job and given the conversion rate you could say they have (although Debuchy did score the first). it feels like we usually have either a working defence or a working midfield to ensure that we have enough in us to battle for a CL spot. This season we seem to have neither and Arteta is hugely missed even though his creaky legs are starting to give out on him.

  19. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Hahaha. No I didn’t know about the ban until you told me. I had said everything that I needed to, the next few years were same old just worse so I said nothing. I did see the light during this time however and realised that Wenger had to go.

  20. consolsbob says:

    We are on the same page at last, AIC!

    I remember when you thought I might be Frank in a second identity.

  21. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Bob,

    Yes. Oh how times have changed. I wonder what Frank would say now?

    I never had a problem with Frank per se – he just made things too personal. I just thought that his faith was horribly misplaced…..

  22. SV says:

    Rogers is optimistic about his side’s top four prospects when being 10-th (!) in the table.

    He probably thinks being just 5 points behind Arsenal in December gives him a decent shot.

    I’m not sure I would argue with him…

  23. G4E says:

    4th is a Trophy that might be unattainable this time around.

    On to other more important things…..

    And Merry Christmas to ALL.

  24. Harry says:

    I’m just glad we did not have Theo,
    Ozil, Jack, Aaron, Arteta, Kos,
    or that would have been messy…;)

  25. pux says:

    I keep thinking its the worst performance of the season and then they prove me wrong .Totally dire today unable to defend against ten men no leader a captain who literally ducks responsibility and made me ten minutes late for the carol service. Enjoyed the post about the sixties as a youngster thought them great never won a trophy .l believe we’ll win the league in 3 years up the gunner s

  26. jjgsol says:

    Conlosbob, you are correct, Why would being without your best defender and your 4 best midfielders make any difference to getting a result away to Liverpool?

  27. Yogi's Warrior says:

    jjgsol

    Even with our best defender and four best midfielders, we can’t close out games so their absence makes no difference whatsoever.

  28. JonJon says:

    because they were all in the side last year when we kept on getting twatted last year..
    its not a personel problem..
    that was established some time ago..

    we could buy jesus, aslan, the tooth fairy and the easter bunny and still get our arses handed to us in these types of games because time after time those players get sent out to be ‘mentally cautious’ and ‘with the handbrake on’ and all the rest of the bullshit that stops us from turning up for 45 minutes and in some cases 90….

    injury debates been done to the death there isnt even a crisis…having one injured CB isnt/shouldnt be the end of the world and ox and cazorla are top international quality players… if wenger would have bought a cb and a cm like he should have done theres no issue at CB and we dont have to use flamini in these games..

    there was fuck all wrong with that line up anyway, are you telling me that bfg and debuchy cant deal with 2foot sterling and cazorla cant run a midfield without his mates against henderson??

    lol…

  29. jjgsol says:

    FRom what I saw, and it was only about 25 minutes, Liverpool harried our players so much that their passig was off completely.

    Yet, in the 2nd half we took the lead and almost held on to what would have been a lucky win.

    Let us remember that we did not lose and did better than last year.

  30. Bill says:

    jjgsol

    It’s no secret that Arteta Wilshere and Ramsey all get injured a lot. We also knew that Kos was having issues with his Achilles after the World Cup. If you are going to blame injuries then you need to point the finger at the person who did not left the squad under manned so they could not cope with the injuries. i would not have expected to have 4 midfielders out at the same time but the CB clearly is Arsene’s fault.

  31. PB says:

    As Bob said at 6.36. Can’t get excited. 2017 is a long way off, but what if he gets another contract “to patch things up”. Heh.

  32. SV says:

    Will be interesting if the FA Cup trophy, instead of paving the way for further success, will have strenghtened Arsene’s feeling of self-righteousness and ultimately lead to the loss of the CL status.

    The dropped points against City, Anderlecht, Swansea and the Pool are down to the tactical weaknesses. No plan how to protect a lead, no substitutions with pace and clear tasks ready to releave the pressure from the back four, no ball keeping in the idfield, no leadership at the set plays.

    Even the one man advantage was not used to take the points. It’s like Arsene just refuses to win.

    What happens to our captains is a different story. Mert is suddenly a player avoiding resüonsibiity. What happaned to him?

  33. Harry says:

    Yeah nice try, er, Harry.

    YW’s correct. By all means bemoan the endless injuries, but they can surely no longer be used an excuse.

    Would have liked to have seen Theo come on actually, for the counter-attack, unless Arsene just brought him along so he could get a bit of fresh air like.

    Anyway. Soon be Christmas. Ho ho ho. Miserable sods.

  34. JonJon says:

    i dont think he’ll last until 2017
    by that point the only passion left in the club will be the fans kicking the shit out of eachother..
    if its not that already…

  35. SV says:

    ManU did not deserve the points against us, but they did not complain about being lucky and professionally finished the job. That’s what the classy teams do. They are ruthless in punishing the opposition.

    I wish I knew where Arsene’s winning instinct had gone…

  36. pux says:

    Feeling a bit calmer now I’ve had 50 years of pain and joy wish I didn’t care so much.last two years have been going to dulwich hamlet as well as the arse £4 entry good games and no pain beat Witham town one nil yesterday a lovely goal from Xavier Vidal

  37. consolsbob says:

    Miserable sods. Harry?

    It’s Christmas! We’re going down the pub.

  38. Limestonegunner says:

    Bob @6:36 really captures something frustratingly true about supporting Arsenal right now. Hard to invest in the fate of this team right now. Exhausting.

  39. Wavey says:

    “Let us remember that we did not lose and did better than last year.”

    Is that some attempt to suggest we played better than last year? I guess the fact that we scored an extra goal on last year is down to us, but the fact that Liverpool couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo today was completely down to them. Chezzer did his job well, but I didn’t see much in the way of last ditch tackles or players who would stop at nothing to get in front of the ball. Liverpool dropped points today, because they really should have buried us. That we had the lead at all is incredible given the number of chances Liverpool had, especially in the first half. I’d be interesting to see the possession stats for the period when they were down to 10 men, as I wouldn’t be surprised if it were once again heavily in their favour.

  40. Joseph Wandega says:

    This is among the worst performances.Even a drunkard would easily predict an arsenal win at Liverpool bus alas we are even lucky to have a draw.
    Liverpool last played on Sunday and had a game in mid week on Wednesday. How on earth can they out pace and out play us for 90 minutes yet we had a one week rest. Wenger is a tactical joke and its obvious to passionate arsenal fans that Wenger has nothing left in the tank for arsenal.Rogers simply played some of the fringe players. Wenger decides to play Flamini a red card time bomb for 90 minutes.Its just a miracle that he finished the 90 minutes.Flamini was clueless and an AC Millan reject at 33 plus but Wenger thinks his fellow country man can do the job at a club of arsenals stature.The fans who booed him at the train station are the genuine arsenal fans who love the club.The more pressure is mounted through banners the quicker this guy leaves the club before 2017.The truth is he too old and physically incapable at current late.Its acceptable to loose games but then his decision making and substitutions shock the conscience.Calum chambers was being skinned to death at right back for pace but Bellerin was not even on the bench.Ox had a bad game why not give Podo a chance.

  41. santori says:

    Again plenty of over reaction abound.

    1) We did not settle into our own game. They pressed us well and in truth deserved a win. The percentage game we played inviting them to come at us and sitting too deep would always run the risk of punishment particularly with 9 minutes extra time in mind. Hind sight but I think we got a bit too conservative following the Bornini sending off and did not make numbers count efficiently. Critically :

    a) We should not have taken off a threat like Alexis. Giroud was largely anonymous before and after his (well taken) goal fair enough. But despite a poor game, thought Alexis should have been retained (Maybe Wenger is looking over a bigger picture with fixture congestion and fitness risk)

    b) Thought we introduced too many defensive players in Coquelin AND Monreal. Maybe one but if we had to add a defender, I would have preferred Bellerin on the right to stabilise Chambers who was being fleeced consistently by Markovic and add width/pace at RW which we lacked all game with Alexis electing to stay in field and in congestion.

    c) Campbell I would have thought would be given orders to press higher with Welbeck but ended up like everyone-else simply too deep. In part it was because of our collective inertia. Maybe Podolski could have been a useful alternative on the break instead of the Costa Rican who was IMO ineffective.

    2) Chambers. He is still learning and being English has been given tremendous leeway by press. This is not the first time he has not been positionally sound on a cross challenging which has resulted in a goal conceded. Had he been Flamini of course he would have been spit roasted. Yet many prefer to blame Metersecker, go figure.

    Worth noting as well that Chambers was played at RB which is his natural position and not entrusted with Cback. That position went rightly to the impressive Debuchy.

    Still, thought Chambers should have been given more protection but adding Bellerin too early may have been at expense of Ox, Santi or Alexis, so difficult. I certainly toward the end (after the red card) it was the right thing to do to add Hector given absence of width and threat on our right flank (No Theo)

    3) In the end the press will trumpet a Liverpool victory of wills even if in reality it really is a draw and they are really still close to bottom half. We miss an opportunity to close the gap but the fixtures are thick and fast to January so we may still yet close the gap and into the top 4 with this draw in near term. Liverpool for their part played extremely well but the exhaustive effort on their part could still come back to complicate them further.

  42. Moe says:

    Liverpool DID win, there’s no trumpeting going on. Liverpool were by far the better team, and thats not saying much in a match like this.

    Every point you just made is an observation and not explaining why, i can say the sea is normally blue, thats an observation, the explanation? One of the reasons is because it is relflecting the color of the sky.

    Another example, lets say we just got relegated, thats my observation, then you have to explain why. Once you know why, you fix it.

    It seems to me Santori that your sole purpose is to never once be critical of anything that goes on at Arsenal. I am throughly concinced that if we ever got relegated (obviously unlikely) you would sing the high praises of all.

    Stop saying what happened in the game and ask yourself why it happened, then ask who is responsible.

    And you always post and then dissapear, you just dump your post on here and then scuttle off.

  43. SV says:

    @Santori

    The fact that a draw feels like a victory for Liverpool is entirely down to Arsene. To concede the lead in the last minute against a tired short-handed opposition is quite a feat even by his standards.

    Arsene just does not know how to get his team close a game. And I doubt he’ll ever learn it.

    May be he should ask Van Gaal. ManU did not complain they were missing an important defender when playing us. Because they were missing 3 important defenders. And still won.

    Seriously, we had more than a week to prepare for this one . We delivered a pathetic performance and refused to use our luck and get the points. Now, help me please to be positive.

  44. SV says:

    Arsene: As long as you don’t score a third goal, you are under threat to concede a second goal.

    So, why did you remove your attacking players?

    Why did you not use the substituttions to provide more attacking threat and pace?

    Why did you, as always, have no plan how to keep the ball?

    Where is the character in your team?

    Why is your captain avoiding responsibility? What happened to him? He used to be a player full of passion and love for Arsenal.

  45. SV says:

    Why was Theo on the bench but not used? Was he unfit? So why was he ion the team bus in the first place?

    Why is this team always full of injured passangers when you need fit fighters?

  46. SV says:

    Now, this one is really mind blowing.

    What was the point of Theo being on the bench? Would it make sense to use him when chasing a goal lagainst a deap sitting opposition? Certainly not.

    And he was not used when trying to close the game either.

    So, why was he in the squad?

    Could someone explain the inexplicable?

  47. Limestonegunner says:

    We’re not closing any gaps if we don’t start winning big games like that. If we play like that we will draw or lose to an in form West Ham and away to Southampton.

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