Arsenal will come away full of pride after refusing to be beaten at Anfield in their opening leg of the EFL Cup semi-final with Liverpool, and may even be confident of reaching the final now.
The Reds were immediately on the front foot in the match, pressing high and piling pressure on, and while our defence may have seemed a little desperate at times, the goalkeeper wasn’t forced into any saves.
We tried to get a foothold in the game after the initial onslaught, and was enjoying our own spell in position, and our best chance of the opening half came from our own pressing, dispossessing their midfielder in their own half before Alexandre Lacazette attempted to catch the goalkeeper off-guard, but his effort curled just wide of near post.
Our attempt at giving them a taste of their own medicine backfired however, Kieran Tierney pressed too high up the field, before Gabriel was also caught pressing up into the opposition half off the ball, and after two quick movements in possession, it left Granit Xhaka chasing down Robertson’s ball over the top before a late and wreckless challenge on Jota just outside the box saw him see red just inside the opening 30 minutes.
Eddie Nketiah was swiftly replaced by Rob Holding as we opted for the defensive approach to keep ourselves in the two-legged tie, and we made it to the break level.
I have to admit, while I was pleased to have made it through to the half-time whistle level, I could see envisage a 3-0 scoreline come the end of the 90, and was ecstatic to see that it wasn’t the case.
In fact, after the break we didn’t just not lose, but we were the better side for the first 20 minutes after the interval, and could well have taken the lead had Bukayo Saka not been chased down by Allison in the box.
We did have to endure a torrid time in the final 20 minutes however as their one-man advantage finally seemed to take it’s toll on our energy levels, but our focus was immense, and this team deserves a whole raft of credit for their dogged display this evening, and that performance could well make us favourites to reach the final now.
We have been a different animal at the Emirates this term, and I certainly wouldn’t be backing against us next week.
One worry would be that Bukayo Saka had to be replaced, giving us further worries in that area of the team, but fingers crossed he will prove to be fine by the weekend and for the next leg with Liverpool also.
Who was your man of the match this evening?