Arsenal’s makeshift side actually played very well last night, but of course there was the usual sloppiness at times, and they simply could not get the ball in the back of the net at all in the first half against a very poor Liege side.
And then there was little surprise when we went behind to a badly deflected goal, and when the same thing happened ten minutes later it looked like we were going to have yet another depressing evening.
But the lads kept plugging away and with young Saka full of energy down the flanks he managed to set up the first goal for Lacazette and then finally get his name on the scoresheet.
Freddie was understandably pleased after the game, but he admitted to Arsenal.com that he was nervous when we were 2-0 down. “Yeah of course,” he said. “it was a bit difficult because I thought we played really well in our game plan in the first half and created a lot of chances and they didn’t have, I think, any shots on target. We should have made it in one or two goals up at half-time. That’s what it felt like, at least. A bit of bad luck and we then get sucker-punched a bit. They then scored two deflected goals and of course there’s a lot of points to learn from before that, but they’re still two deflected goals that you can’t really smash the players for.
“But then, the reaction we had, we believed in how we played, we kept on playing and we found the pockets and we sliced them open for two fantastic goals. As I said to the players, away from home and – no disrespect – but there was not so much grass on the pitch and at 2-0 down you can be like ‘ugh, I’m not going to bother any more’ and fold and we didn’t. We actually kept going and we came back to the game and then 2-2 and maybe could’ve gone up 3-2 in the end there as well. But at the same time, like I said, I got the information about the other scores and we were trying to not go too much.”
Although Arsenal ultimately didn’t need the point in the end, Freddie was very pleased with the players’ attitude. “Tremendous. Really proud of them.” he said. “That’s what I said to them after the game, it’s a tough place to come and be 2-0 down, like you said, tremendous fans in my opinion, a great atmosphere and they showed that belief in how they can play football and their own quality. That shows good for us in the future, of course they need experience yes, and they need to play, but that heart and that fight and that belief was amazing to see from the sidelines. And maybe I should also mention the energy they do it with. They go and they go and they go and they don’t stop.”
So despite all our worries, the Gunners gave the fans something to cheer about at the end. Hopefully that will give yet another little boost to our confidence ahead of the Man City clash….