Arsenal defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield so that’s another three points for the Gunners. We’re closing that gap on Spurs, who are now just four points ahead of us. They do have a game in hand but they play Manchester United tomorrow at their ground so hopefully United can do the business and get the three points so that the four-point gap can be made official.
Getting back to today’s game, it has to be said that Liverpool were the better of two sides in the opening exchanges. Arsenal looked a bit lost early on and were very sloppy in possession.
The first major piece of action took place in the 8th minute when Theo Walcott’s shot hit the goal post and the rebound was secured by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina. The Merseysiders were fortunate on that occasion and they had more luck heading their way very soon.
In the 18th minute, Suarez went down in the penalty area after making the slightest of contacts with Arsenal goalie Wojciech Szczesny. Referee Mark Halsey gave the penalty even though his view of the incident was blocked by a number of bodies. Again it was just like last weekend. If they don’t see it properly then they shouldn’t give it.
Anyway, the ref gave the penalty but justice was done as Szczesny saved it and then showed his immense athleticism by immediately tipping the rebound around the net. It was just a split second reaction and the only other save better than this one that i can remember would be the one made David Seaman in the 2003 FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, when he managed to hook the ball around the post.
Liverpool opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute when Jordan Henderson’s cross was sliced into the back of the net by Laurent Koscielny for an own goal. Moments later, they could have doubled their lead but Suarez’s shot hit the post and came out.
It didn’t take long for Arsenal to respond as Bacary Sagna’s cross from the right wing was headed in for an equaliser by none other than Robin van Persie. It was the Dutchman’s 125th goal for the Gunners and he is now the ninth-highest goal scorer in the history of Arsenal Football Club.
Liverpool could have taken the lead just before the halftime but Dirk Kuyt’s shot once again hit the post.
Just two minutes into the second half, Mikel Arteta had to be stretchered out of the game due to a heavy challenge by Henderson. In came About Diaby as Arteta’s replacement and he nearly scored with his first touch of the ball. He hit a nice shot but Reina was equal to it and so he denied the Frenchman.
Szczesny then pulled off another miracle save in the 60th minute to keep us on level terms.
Nine minutes later, the home side should have regained their one-goal advantage but their defender Martin Kelly failed to take advantage of Kuyt’s cross and missed a sitter.
Arsene Wenger substituted the ineffective Yossi Benayoun with Gervinho in the 74th minute and six minutes later, Diaby once again picked up an injury and had to be taken off. He was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
In the 93rd minute, just when it seemed that one point is all we’re going to get from this one, Alex Song slipped in a beautiful pass to van Persie, who made no mistake in lifting the ball over Reina and into the back of the net from the most narrowest of the angles.
Moments before the full-time whistle, Wenger’s men could have scored their second of the injury time but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s effort went just over the bar.
In the end, Arsenal won 2-1 but we didn’t deserve all three points because the Reds were the better side. But the Gunners kept fighting and took their opportunities, while Kenny Dalglish’s men lacked the finishing touch and paid the price.
In my opinion, two players were worthy of getting the man of the match award, with the first one obviously being van Persie and the other one being Szczesny, whose incredible saves rescued us from a certain defeat.
Some credit of this win also goes to Alex Song, whose pass to our Captain Marvel provided the winning goal of the match. The Cameroonian midfielder has developed a habit of delivering defence-splitting passes this season and his latest feed was absolutely fantastic as well.
So we have cut Spurs’ lead to just four points now and it would be interesting to see how they feel and what they have to say to us now. Hopefully United would thrash them tomorrow and dent their confidence even more.
Our next match is against Milan on Tuesday and honestly speaking, it will be difficult for us as we trail 4-0 from the first leg. It isn’t an impossible task to overturn that at Emirates Stadium because stranger things have happened in football but it will certainly be difficult and our boys would have to really step up.
Lastly, we wish injured players Arteta and Diaby a speedy recovery and hope that they’ll be back in no time.