Arsenal vs Liverpool, 0-2: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on August 20, 2011 21:15
Despite a solid defensive performance at the Emirates, Arsenal conceded their first goals of the season as they went down against Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool and will next week face Manchester United without Alex Song and Emmanuel Frimpong in midfield.
I wanted to start by saying that the attitude of the lads was brilliant as they fought from the first until the very last minute of the game but I’m afraid heart and fighting spirit alone are not enough. What is funny and frustrating at the same time is that it seems we solved our defensive problems but we are now facing problems in midfield and in the final third.
After today’s game, many are saying and will say that we need new signings as we struggle way too much in the final third, we struggle way too much when we are to deliver the final ball but my reply is that Dennis Bergkamp, in April 2010, was already pointing this out when he said:
“Arsenal always have more possession of the ball than the opponent. You don’t see often a bad pass in the midfield. But in the final third, often it’s a bad decision. That’s so strange. They just need to be able to finish it off. You have to shoot, to want to score goals no matter how. Just score that goal! You can’t be afraid to miss.”
That was more than four months ago. How many top-class crosses did Carl Jenkinson deliver this afternoon? Three, four, I lost count at one stage, and who was there to meet them in the penalty box or on the edge? Nobody.
As they say, you just don’t see a man drowning and wait until the very last second to bring him ashore. But unfortunately this is just what Arsene Wenger and his team have done, problems that we saw way back in April are yet to be addressed and with ten days to go for the summer transfer window to shut down, I find it hard to believe that they will find the “quality” they have been talking about over the last few weeks.
In all honesty, I am bewildered by Arsene’s optimism when he says that we have a big squad, that “we have not lost so many players” and that “number-wise we should be capable to do well”.
Today we went out there with Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson and Ignasi Miquel, later on joined by Henri Lansbury, who have no or very little Premier League experience. Make no mistake, I’m not saying they didn’t do well, far from that, I’m just saying that it is hard to believe the “big squad” statement when these four players are enjoying their first taste of top-level football.
As for Emmanuel, to quote one of our forum members, his situation was poorly managed. A young steely player who gets a yellow card early in the game, who is still making tough challenges shouldn’t be on the pitch at the 70-minute mark. He played well, but should have been substituted shortly after the half.
I would go on and also question Arsene Wenger’s half-time team talk. In less than a week, THREE players were sent off(or charged after the game) as a clear demonstration that nothing, absolutely nothing is being done to turn these kids into men, to help them understand that you will not get away with nasty tackles and that you cannot point your finger, insult or shout at the referee or fourth official and expect the officials not to take action.
Maybe he’s just telling them, “It’s OK son, you’re just a victim of your inexperience”. In the meantime we will face Manchester United, away from home, without our regular defensive midfielders.
What comes next is a long and painful week of football for Arsenal Football Club. With Udinese coming up and Manchester United waiting at Old Trafford we could find ourselves out of two competitions after only two weeks of football. Or maybe not, maybe we will bounce back, reach the Group Stage of Europe’s most prestigious competition and add an unexpected win against Alex Ferguson’s men in the weekend. As it is, only time will tell.
As always, whether you agree with my ratings or not, submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and make sure to share them on Twitter and Facebook.
Match Video Highlights
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Szczesny: 8 – Good save in the 19th minute of the game to deny Andrew Carroll, made a brilliant save in the 73rd minute of the game to keep the score goalless and again made a top class save, this time to deny Stewart Downing to again keep a clean sheet. Unfortunately he was unlucky to concede in the last part of the game.
Vermaelen: 9,5 – According to my notes he cleared the danger – many times with his head – in the following minutes: 33, 40, 52, 65, 76 and 78, no wonder Andrew Carroll had a “quiet” game. Had he scored in the 76th minute after that brilliant run I would have purchased his jersey without hesitation. Phenomenal.
Koscielny: No Vote – For obvious reasons.
Sagna: 7,5 – Considering he was playing out of position, I must say that Bacary did well with his only mistake coming in the 61st minute when he gifted the ball to Dirk Kuyt who went on to win a corner.
Jenkinson: 6,5 – Gave away possession in the early stages of the game but bounced back well as he was solid at the back and as said delivered a number of very good crosses when we pushed forward.
Frimpong: 7 – Top class performance overshadowed by his eagerness to impress and the red card as a result. I love Emmanuel but his red made Liverpool’s task easier and in fact they went on to win the game. As said in the introduction, someone is to speak to this young man and help him mature this aspect of his game.
Ramsey: 4,5 – Slow, way too slow. I repeat, it hurts as I so much wanted Aaron to feature two years ago but I have to admit that he’s way too slow and his vision cannot, at least for now, be compared to that of the one and only Cesc.
Nasri: 6,5 – The only one who went close to score. Fantastic run in the 34th minute of the game with his effort just wide and more good work in the 46th as he beat his man with his shot flying high.
Arshavin: 4 – Started his game by completely mishitting a half chance as he went on to make at least six schoolboy errors in the match.
Walcott: 4 – Search for “Theo”, search for “Walcott”, no results. That’s right, I have nothing on his game and I’m not surprised at all, it seems he’s back to square one in terms of running with the ball and forgetting what his destination is. Shame.
van Persie: 5,5 – As we spent most of the time defending the game, it’s no surprise that Robin made very little impact on the game and should have done better in the 67th minute when Andrey assisted. I personally feel that it would have been wise to take him off and put Nicklas who is much better in using his body to shield the ball and allow the midfielders to come forward.
Miquel: 7 – Considering it was his first game of the official season, Ignasi did well. Maybe, just maybe, he should have done better with the clearance when we conceded the first.
Lansbury and Bendtner: No Vote – Not much from these two as they came on in the 72nd and 80th minute of the game respectively.