What a way to start the Christmas weekend! As we all know, games against Liverpool are never dull and yesterday’s 3-3 draw didn’t disappoint.
From somehow going in 1-0 down at half time to conceding again but scoring three in a matter of minutes and then conceding again, it all seemed set up for a 4-3 finish like the first day of the season against Leicester, but it wasn’t to be.
Over the course of the game we saw a few very different sides of Arsenal which for neutrals probably gave them a great watch, but as Arsenal fans, may have seen us jumping off our chairs.
The Mr. Hyde of our performance was our terrible defending. From our most experienced defender constantly being caught out, Coutinho being allowed a free run through our box and Petr Cech not dealing with a relatively easy shot, that was the monster of our performance.
However, the Dr. Jekyll of our performance was our great attack, especially in that four-minute spell, which made for a really open, entertaining, end-to-end game.
Someone who benefitted from the openness of the game was Jack Wilshere. Making his third straight start in the Premier League the midfielder looked very comfortable last night.
We saw Jack driving past players with ease in a game which saw an England rival Jordan Henderson leave early through injury. He also displayed some good passing as we looked to get into the match.
A player that changed the game for the second week running though, was Mesut Ozil. Throughout the game, the German was picking up spaces to try and hurt the Liverpool defence, whether that was deeper or in the number 10 position.
Although his passing couldn’t quite get us back into the game by itself, a great passing move helped put us ahead in the second half.
Similar to his goal against Huddersfield a few weeks ago, he drove at the Liverpool defence before playing a sublime one-two with Alexandre Lacazette before hitting the ball into the ground and over Simon Mignolet who had a terrible time in goal.
Ozil almost won the match in the dying seconds too with a cross-come-shot which was tipped over by Mignolet, but overall a great performance.
However, despite Ozil taking the roof off The Emirates yesterday, it’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles who will pick up my man of the match today.
Playing at left back again, the 20-year-old looks to have solidified his place in the first team over Sead Kolasinac who has to settle for League Cup appearances.
Last night he put in yet another impressive display as he went toe-to-toe with the man of the moment, Mohamed Salah.
The battle between the two would end in a draw but it was well thought. Salah may have got his goal in the second half, but Maitland-Niles was all over him for most of the match.
From simple one-on-ones to making blocks and interceptions and tracking back with recovery runs, Ainsley performance was very disciplined and encouraging.
Even though he is a midfielder by trade, Maitland-Niles didn’t look too out of place against the league’s most dangerous player at the moment and for that he is my man of the match.