Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points this evening with a thorough 2-0 win over Liverpool at the Emirates. The Gunners now have 25 points on the season while Chelsea, who lost 2-0 at Newcastle, and Liverpool are still level at 20 points each. However, with Everton (18 pts) playing Spurs (19pts)on Sunday the lead could possibly be cut to three or four points depending on the result.
Midfielders Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey scored the goals today while keeper Wojciech Szczesny kept strikers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez off the score sheet to earn the clean sheet. It was a huge confidence booster for the London side as they head into a Champions League match in Germany against Borussia Dortmund on November 6 after being beaten by them 2-1 at the Emirates two weeks ago.
Liverpool started the match on a good note and could have grabbed the lead if Jordan Henderson didn’t scuff his shot after breaking in alone on Szczesny. Somewhat against the run of play, Cazorla gave the Gunners the lead in the 19th minute when Bacary Sagna crossed the ball in low from the right wing and bounced up in the air for him. His long-range header came crashing off the goalpost and the Spanish international was lucky enough to find the ball bounce right back to his feet. He then deposited it behind a rather helpless Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool net with a fine right-footed half volley. This was the only goal of the first half as chances for each team were hard to come by.
The game was put out of Liverpool’s reach in the 59th minute when Ramsey scored his sixth league goal and 10th in all competitions this season. He hammered home a half volley from about 25 yards that just eluded the hand of the diving Mignolet into the roof of the goal and sealed all three points for Arsene Wenger’s men. Liverpool managed to create a couple of decent chances after that, but Luis Suarez shot wide and Szczesny came off of his line quickly to thwart Sturridge.
The Gunners had to do without the services of midfielder Jack Wilshere, who was scratched from the contest due to a recurring ankle problem. They were also without Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Kieran Gibbs seemed to be hurt when he was replaced by skipper Thomas Vermaelen in the 78th minute.
Wenger was understandably happy with the performance and the three points and stated, “It was a convincing win against a good team, and that’s what we wanted. Of course everybody was waiting to see how we responded today, and we did that in a very positive manner. We got a good goal, and after that I felt we had many opportunities to make the difference and then Ramsey scored a stunning goal, but we had chances before and after. But overall what you want is good focus, great dynamic in the team and overall it was a very convincing performance.”
It was an impressive win indeed for the Gunners and a good response to their 2-0 home loss to Chelsea during the week. They’ll need to be at their best again in Dortmund on Wednesday and then have a trip to Old Trafford coming up in their next Premier League match on November 10 .
Arsenal Player Ratings-Sat. Nov 2
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool-Premier League Match 10
Was always in position when needed. Got away with a bad giveaway in the second half, but other than that he was fine.
Sagna’s cross from the right wing led to the Gunners’ first goal and he played solidly in his own end.
He was also steady all night long and for the most part kept Liverpool at bay very effectively.
Laurent Koscielny -7
The French international marked Suarez as closely as possible and like the rest of the back four was solid on the night.
Gibbs was having a good game, but had to be replaced by Thomas Vermaelen in the 78th minute after suffering an apparent injury.
Ramsey scored another excellent goal, his 10th of the campaign in all victories. He played well in all areas of the pitch and seems to be fully recovered from his broken leg of a couple years ago.
Arteta was quite effective all over the pitch and put in one of his best performances of the season.
The Czech midfielder worked hard and put in a good effort, but was replaced by Nacho Monreal after 72 minutes.
Mesut moved around the pitch well and his touches were effective. His pass to Ramsey led to the Welsh midfielder’s goal.
Cazorla took advantage of a rebound off the post for his wonderful goal, but he created the chance in the first place with his header. He was steady throughout and was replaced by Carl Jenkinson after 84 minutes.
Giroud worked hard as usual, but just didn’t have his finishing boots on today.
Came on for Rosicky after 72 minutes and fit in well.
Came on for Gibbs after 78 minutes and did his job.
Carl Jenkinson NA
Came on for Cazorla after 84 minutes and got booked.