Arsenal put up a fighting performance to earn a point. by Konstantin Mitov
Hello again, lovely Arsenal ladies and gentlemen. We played Liverpool at home and earned a deserved draw, but I was really impressed with the team today. It was a double edged game, that could’ve gone both ways, but what i really enjoyed was the fact we imposed our own style on the game for large periods and played some of the best football I’ve seen someone play against them.
We actually started the game at the right pace and had the first chance when Mikhi’s header failed to enter the empty net. Then we had our usual defensive scares. We allowed quite a few long passes to Salah on the wing and we were lucky to survive a Mane goal that was disallowed. Later we needed Leno to make a great save from Van Dijk to survive goalless at half time.
We started the second period better and conceded when we least deserved, but got punished when we allowed Mane to go past Bellerin and then Leno maybe made a mistake by trying to punch the ball away and Milner found the empty net. This caused a disruption to our game, but we rode the storm and managed to pick ourselves up.
We made offensive subs that gave results when Iwobi’s forward pass found Lacazette who was faster than Alison and scored a beauty in the far corner. Then we had a little impulse but failed to impose enough to get another goal and it ended 1:1.
What made a huge impression on me before the game was Emery’s calmness at the press conference. In recent years, our top 6 record has been so poor that every game like this was the real test as this one was too. But the players seemed to have responded to this as we tried to play our own style and some players were exceptional I thought.
Lucas Torreira is such a gem player. The kind of player we’ve been missing since Gilberto. Next to him Xhaka was sublime. I haven’t been his biggest fan since he arrived, but now that Torreira is next to him it’s such a difference. This was some of the best we’ve seen from him.
I thought the defence was good too. I like many hoped Sokratis would replace Mustafi, but the German was actually pretty good on the day. And Holding next to him is such a treat to see. I must admit that Bellerin is also picking up the gears and it was only Kolasinac who was really struggling for portions of the game.
The poorest performance on the pitch was Mhki though as he misplaced some passes and missed some good chances that fell for him and who knows what it could’ve been had we taken the lead, but all in all we showed character and we were in the game. Last season we would’ve slumped the moment we conceded, but this game was different and hopefully it will be a sign of things to come in the future against the top 6.
Big shout outs should go to Unai Emery for embracing the crowd. The Emirates has too often been a quiet ground, but the boss really engaged the fans and you could feel the response. This is an important point that keeps our unbeaten run going and we must remember that we’re still in the start of our rebuilding process and it won’t be a days job.
Targeting to overtake Liverpool this season is asking for quite something considering where we were last year, the fact that Klopp took 3 years to build this team and he spent our entire summer budget on a keeper alone. We’re in a race with Spurs and United for fourth and sadly they made some ground up, but we must keep working hard.
We can finish our Europa League job on Thursday and we should take confidence from this performance and move on.