Yes, I know. We lost to Liverpool 3 goals to 1. It sucks! We were on such a high, having won the first two games of the season. We were reaching for the stars. It was a wonderful start. We were getting there; we could do this, and by this, I mean win our matches back to back from the start to the end of the season.
And, why wouldn’t we have such hope? We had just brought in ‘superstar’-level players in our ranks unlike previous seasons under Wenger. Our top scorer last season was hitting the ground running with two goals in two games; our midfield was becoming stronger thanks to the addition of Ceballos, a box-to-box midfielder with Cazorla-like qualities; our defense was seemingly getting stronger with the added expertise of David Luiz.
But, it all came undone last Saturday when we lost 3 goals to 1. It would have been much worse, I’m sure because as you know, this is the LIVERPOOL! The current Champions League and Super Cup holders. The scariest team in the EPL right now because of their pace, defensive prowess, midfield tenacity, and lethal attack!
So, yeah, we did not have much hope going into this game, and I feel sorry for any naive Arsenal fan who thought we could come out of the game with a point, or even three 🙂
I’m just glad we did not lose as badly as the other few times we’ve played against Liverpool. That is my only consolation at the moment.
I am also glad that our loss to this formidable team was not as pathetic as Manchester United’s loss to Crystal Palace. 🙂
That being said, there are some areas that I hope have been improved upon before our game tomorrow with another difficult team, Tottenham.
Here, I’m mainly talking about David Luiz. His performance in this match was a far cry from the leadership quality he exhibited in our match against Burnley.
The second half especially was horrible for the defender, raising a lot of doubt as to whether he has the right mind frame to be a leader at Arsenal’s backline.
Grabbing Salah’s shirt like that in a bid to stop his attack was plain immature and unprofessional. And we paid heavily because of his actions as the referee awarded Salah a penalty…arrrgh!
I think we’ve just caught the first glimpses of why people refer to Luiz as a loose cannon.
For Salah’s second goal, you really cannot blame Luiz for being unable to defend him, because Salah is that good. However, the other defenders should have fallen back to offer additional support for both Luiz and Leno.
One more performance like this from Luiz, to add on to our already super-fragile defense, and we are going to need a miracle to make it even to the top five teams at the end of the season.
- Style of play
Truth be told, we did not choose the right defensive style of play for this particular game.
We chose a high line style of play, which is mainly used against teams that love to possess and pass the ball a lot. It is ineffective against a team that is prolific in fast-break soccer as is the case with Liverpool.
Being caught left-footed by the Liverpool forwards and wing midfielders is probably why Luiz out of frustration for not being able to catch up with Salah, opted to pull at the forward’s shirt instead, in a bid to stop him from moving forward.
It’s probably why he could not intercept the ball during the build-up to Salah’s second goal.
Once Liverpool instituted the fast-break, our high line plus their immense pace made it difficult, if not almost impossible to keep Liverpool’s attack at bay.
- Shooting Accuracy
Maybe if everything behind was working as planned, then the forwards would have much better chances at scoring.
But, that does not negate the fact that Arsenal had 9 shots at goal, 3 on target, but failed to convert most of these, aside from Torreira‘s goal late in the game.
Our shooting accuracy was at 33.3%, not bad when you compare it to Liverpool’s 20%, but they had 3 goals and we had 1. We definitely need to improve on this.
Nicholas Pepe would do well to improve his shooting accuracy. He had the best chances to score in the first half and would have probably saved the match for us if he had converted those chances.
- Indecisive New Signings
Our new signings were not as impressive in this match as they were against our first two opponents.
Ceballos, for instance, shined in the match against Burnley, to the point that he was declared the man of the match. Against Liverpool, though, he was practically mute! How does that even happen?
As mentioned above, Pepe wasted a couple of chances in front of goal, which were, by the way, our best chances at getting at least a draw in this match.
Also mentioned is Luiz’ complete malfunction during this match, the total opposite of how he performed against Burnley.
So, yes! Our new signings might still need a little more time to settle in…sadly, time is a luxury we do not have at the moment.
That’s all I have for now; come back and let’s compare notes after the #ARSTOT game tomorrow.