Arsenal fans were hoping that the Championship leaders Bournemouth could do us a favour by giving our next Premier League opponents Liverpool a tough time and more misery in their Capital One cup match tonight. But it did not quuite work out that way at all and the Gunners now face a more confident and rejuvenated Liverpool team at Anfield on Sunday.
The home side did not really make it too hard for Brendan Rodgers and his players, with manager Eddie Howe making six changes and his team not really making Liverpool work too hard for a three goal lead. It could have been so different if Wilson had not fluffed a great chance to stun the EPL side in the opening five minutes. And then Kermogant blazed a golden opportunity for an early leveller over the bar.
As it was, slack defending allowed Sterling a free header into an almost open goal. Another mistake at the back let Markovic make it two before the break and it was just what Liverpool needed. Sterling’s goal drought over he then went on to score again and is likely to be sharp against us, assuming Rodgers keeps him up front.
But they did make Liverpool work and put them under pressure in the last half hour after pulling a goal back. Better finishing would have got them back into it and perhaps Arsenal would have seen the extra time we wanted. Those earlier chances and the late spell should be enough to keep lots of doubt in Liverpool minds.
And the Gunners are back in form and confident ourselves and there was plenty to encourage Arsene Wenger in Liverpool’s performance. Despite Bournemouth not being great they still managed to create chances and score against a shaky looking Reds defence. You would imagine that Cazorla, Giroud, Welbeck, Alexis and all will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of facing them, whether they stick with the new back three or revert to four.
They were not that great going forwards either but we will have to be careful not to concede an early goal and help their self belief any more. I reckon they are still pretty fragile and should be there for the taking. Will this result really make much difference?