Why the Liverpool thumping doesn’t mean Arsenal can’t bounce back

Why the 5-1 drubbing doesn’t need to be a predictor of our short-term success by Bryan Gobbett

As the dust settles on the thumping we endured at Anfield on Saturday it bears reminding that such onslaughts don’t necessarily augur poorly for the afflicted party. There are many recent examples of big-six Premier League teams finding themselves on the wrong side of a drubbing only to swiftly rebound to an extent that few rational humans could have predicted.

In 2011 Manchester United lost 1-6 at home to Manchester City. This didn’t cause them to lay down and allow their victors to rape and pillage them for a generation. On the contrary Man Utd dug deep and finished level on points with their cross-city foe that very season, losing out on the Premier League title only on goal difference. That rebound continued into the following season resulting in yet another title for the unbearable Mancunians.

There are many other examples of drubbings being inflicted on big-six teams by their peers. Two other recent ones that spring to mind are Manchester City’s 6-0 whupping of Spurs during the 2013-14 season (although Spurs predictably haven’t rebounded and won anything since then) and Chelsea’s 4-0 thrashing of Man Utd on their way to the 2016-17 Premier League title. Teams at the top of their game will, from time to time, dish out a beating to their closest rivals.

But the most recent drubbing of note that Gooners should be interested in is Manchester City’s 5-0 annihilation of Liverpool last season. What a difference a year makes . . . a season after that thumping Liverpool are looking like serious contenders for multiple trophies and possibly even an ‘Invincibles’ monicker. But obviously it’s not just the time lapse (just one year) that’s significant here. The most obvious change is in the players Liverpool then had defending their goal, versus who they have now.

The Liverpool defense that lay down and suffered that 5-0 humiliation was…

TrentAA– Klavan–Matip–Moreno

Against Arsenal yesterday, that defense was


Liverpool paid more than GBP 150 Million to fix their defensive woes. Certainly this analysis lends serious credence to those Arsenal fans who say we need to spend big in this transfer window. in order to shore up this defense. There are few, if any, Arsenal fans who’d disagree with the assessment that the defense needs fixing, the real question is how to fix it.

I’d strongly contend that between Bellerin and Maitland-Niles on the right (yes, understood that many feel AMN is not a defender, but for me he has every possible chance of being a right-full or wing-back for Arsenal) and Monreal/Kolasinic on the left, we have sufficient resources in the full back positions. Yes, perhaps they’re not world-beaters, but they’re at least adequate. The real problem is in the heart of the defense. Even when fully fit, the crew we currently have to fill those positions is seriously inadequate.

But is there another GBP 75,000,000 Van Dijk out there? I don’t think there is. Perhaps we need to look back to the Invincibles for inspiration. Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell were a brick wall in that 2003-2004 season. And how much did they cost Arsenal? Sol Campbell came in on a free transfer and Toure was bought for GBP 150,000. I’m not saying don’t splash out on a Van Dijk if there’s one available . . . all I am saying is let’s explore all options. I’m certainly not giving up hope. I have a funny feeling that given a little bit of time, Emery can solve these problems, whether it be big-money purchases, obscure purchases, or even youth development. Don’t be put off by the drubbing we received on Saturday. It’s not a true indication of how far we really are from contending.



  1. Dinesh says:

    Agree!!!The gulf between the teams is all too apparent.on the other side results have turned bad since the somewhat settled pair CBs Holding Sokratis/Mustafi were injured/suspended.Also remember now we are done with Liverpool for this season..wish all the other teams the best against the best attacking team currently.Our target is top 4 and we can work that out with 2 good signings the january window ..a CB and a winger

    1. Pajet Gomez says:


      We need to see the tough away games which spurs and Chelsea have. We have just 2 real hard away games. By that time we should get back together our defence. AMN is average can’t even cross the ball or have any idea once he is in the box
      The goal against Liverpool was only thing he has done so far
      We need an winger who can score and assist. May be Cahill will be an short term option as CB. Bottom line is revamp the defence in the summer.

  2. McLovin says:


    Thorgan Hazard, RW/LW/CAM £30-35m
    Rabiot, CM (FREE)
    Rugani/Benatia/Calero, CB £10-30m
    Aarons, RB £10-15 (loan back to Norwich)

    Get rid of:

    Ramsey (swap with Rabiot, WIN/WIN)
    Elneny £10m

    Rabiot would replace Ramsey, Hazard and new CB would replace Welbeck and Holding who both are out for the season. In the summer I would get rid of Özil and Mkhitaryan and take a look at the likes of Isco and Havertz etc.

  3. Grandad says:

    Rabiot is Barcelona bound.If Emery plays the back four which started against Liverpool Fulham could well register their first away win of the season.Despite our injury situation surely to God Lichsteiner will be left out?

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Grandad I agree on Rabiot; he has not re-signed with PSG because Barcelona are calling.

  4. Jeremy says:

    We can bounce back, only if we buy.

    Unless the leak is fixed, we will be in for a long season. The spirit of the defending is basically non-existence.

    And other opponents will do their homework and work on the proven path.

  5. Trudeau says:

    The good news is, unless there are more injuries, the defence will improve with some players coming back (Mavraponas, Bellerin and Monreal and eventually Holding) ) and others getting back into game shape (Koscielny and Mustafi). The bad news is that, unless Holding continues his development and Mavraponas turns into an absolute stud) it still won’t be good enough. If Mavraponas is back soon, I’d rather us limp through until the summer rather than splash out on another mediocre CB during this transfer window. Remember, Kopp was patient before getting VVD and it did, by design or not, give Gomez a chance to get valuable game time.

    1. Me says:

      Klopp has a board that backed him up with money.
      We have nothing.
      Kroenke is not interested in seeing Arsenal successful.
      Cancerous parasite that he is.
      The only way forward is to not bother to turn up for the games.
      But Arsenal fans as they are will ALWAYS turn up.
      Because they are thick…

  6. Red and white says:

    With Emery around, I’m looking forward to some 30+ players joining on a free or 10-15 million.
    Also playing the same boring football from the back, high defense line, speedy counter attacks and lots of goals with this Emeryball, defense oriented midfield, no creativity in the middle and some fluke goals. We were masked by the 22 game run, mostly against minnows and with luck.The only game worth was the Spurs game and that was because they were not to full strength.Emery is continuing Wenger’s senile “tactics” and having issues with Ozil, Laca like he did at PSG. This guy is good for some mid table team which we unfortunately are. Trust me this man will not fix defense, neither will he try some reserves, his exit is near

    1. Xxnofx says:

      While I agree on some of points ,I can assure you emery won’t be going anywhere while the club still makes a good profit .
      I think as fans we need to come to terms that until that grubby pr1ck fck s off out of our club we are always going to be playing for top 6 if we are lucky top 4.
      As fans we don’t know what kind of restrictions emery as got ie transfer funds ,his own players he wants to sign .
      The gulf in class between Liverpool and ourselves was evident the other night but what can we do with an owner like we have got ?

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Does anybody really believe that the present Arsenal could attract a better credentialled coach than Unai Emery?

  7. gunner22 says:

    All the Wenger out fans, note that at the half way mark, we are 16 points of the league leaders.
    Nothing changed, nothing will till we rid ourselves of the current owners

    1. Jeremy says:

      We ain’t looking at miracle.

      But we will know for sure who is directly responsible for the inefficient transfer dealings.

      I’m sure fans will deal with him adequately.

    2. Declan says:

      Yes gunner22 we are still suffering from the sh1tstorm of Wenger’s last 8 years. Emery needs time to sort the mess out hopefully starting with this window but hoping he doesn’t make mistakes like the past it Lichsteiner and wwe wrestler Sokratis.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Unai Emery certainly deserves a chance and it is grossly unfair to write him off after half a season. Hopefully he will be supported by the board in the transfer market.
        The ball is in Kroenke’s court; time will tell. If Emery is driven out by lack of support, who would be likely of any well credentialed coach/manager to take his place.

  8. gunnerpete says:

    I think that if we had been able ( and this is AFC remember ) Mavropanos/Sokratis/Holding for the first 25 matches we would be right up there in second. It has always been about having a good squad in defence and a lot of luck with injuries. I know youngsters will sigh, but in the 50s/60s/70s/ no subs at all. Our players played on ankle deep mud most of the winter months. The ball was hard leather with laces that cut into your forehead. BUT, they played on with strains and nasty knocks against players who were then allowed to two foot tackle every time. SO…why do Arsenal have the worst injury record in the UK very year???

  9. jim wall says:

    Of the current squad.
    I would like to see these players gone by summer….
    Mustafi… Leichs… Elneney… Jenko… Xakai

    Ozil… Offer Ramsey and wellbeck new contracts

  10. Amo says:

    “Emery is continuing Wenger’s senile “tactics” and having issues with Ozil, Laca like he did at PSG. This guy is good for some mid table team which we unfortunately are. Trust me this man will not fix defense, neither will he try some reserves, his exit is near” exactly my sentiments. Is he abig time manager ? With the way he manages big players am not sure. This is going to be an issue with the owners when deciding to finance the club. Why give him cash to buy a.Messi when he has a limitation in managing similar talents?..talk about short term managers..just my opinion…

  11. Leon says:

    I wish I could just lose my interest in football.
    Arsenal are a club that don’t deserve the support it gets – in my opinion.
    How do fans feel when they KNOW that Arsenal are going to screw everything up – you simply know that they will fail whenever opportunity arises.
    No ambition – there is no ambition from the board, a squad of players that are content to just turn up and go through the motions. No effort. No professional pride.
    And the Ramsey situation.
    It just proves my point that there is a terrible apathy at Arsenal – of not being bothered, of not giving a toss about anything.
    Any club would have done something about this.
    But not Arsenal.
    Not Emery.
    Not Kroenke.
    Not Sanllehi.
    Not Mislintat.
    The worst run club in Europe.

  12. jamdownyouth says:

    I am afraid the only way Arsenal will get out of this neutral position is if the board backs the manager and get in 5 or 6 really top players. However, top players cost money and Kronke will NEVER sanction such purchases as his sole priority is the balance sheet and not trophies. He will not sell to someone else because Arsenal is now his cash cow and he will continue to rape the club of its riches in order to finance his other interests. The ONLY way to get our Arsenal back is if the fans stage an even bigger protest than the one against Arsene Wenger to force the mercenary to either provide funds to improve the team or sell and afford someone else the chance to do so.

  13. Petit says:

    Arsenal was a poorly run club for years under Wenger and Gazidis. Our recruitments have been poor, we paid too much for average players, and Wenger held unto chronically poor performing or injury prone/unreliable players for so long, wasting club finances and missing out on superior replacements who went to our rival clubs.

    We got too comfortable with our Fourphy position, we became oblivious of the reality that the likes of spuds and Liverpool coverted our position.
    In life, there is no stability. You are either progressing or retrogressing. Wenger and the board got to comfortable with the illusions of stability fourphy offered Arsenal, they didn’t see the undercurrent retrogression.

    You see, our retrogression wasn’t a sudden event, it was insidious and chronic, and as the day goes by, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there wouldn’t be quick fix for it, especially considering our financial handicap.
    We have to get our recruitment right, we have to learn to be decisive and ruthless in rooting out poorly performing , aging or chronically injured players out, and not habour and pamper them to the detriment of the club, like Wenger did.

    The Good thing about getting Wenger out, is that now, we can focus our attention on Kroenke without the Wenger distraction. Because I remember that at no point did Wenger cry out for lack of investments on players by Kroenke, Wenger was a willing accomplice, who covered up for Kroenke, while selling the BS story of the club being financially handicapped because of stadium debt repayment.
    It was customary those days for Wenger to come out to say that if Arsenal found a suitable player in the transfer, then we would buy. Wenger used the loyalty the Arsenal supporters had for him to shield Kroenke and the board from direct criticism, by selling the story of Arsenal not finding suitable players at the right price at the transfer market rather than giving signs that the board were not financially backing his transfer targets.

    Getting rid of Wenger became necessary, if we must get to Kroenke, as Wenger had constituted himself a shield for the regime against fans direct criticism. So for those Wenger fans who still think getting rid of him was a wrong decision, I understand they are entitled to their own opinions, but I still strongly disagree with their opinion.
    Gettimg rid of Wenger was a step in the right direction. Though it doesn’t necessarily mean that Emery was the right man for the job, but it means that we now have a manager who would be judged by current results and not live off past glories acquired at the club, a decade ago.

    So, yes, Arsenal will bounce back, once we get rid of Kroenke, like we did Wenger. It is a gradual process, but we will surely get there.

    1. jon fox says:

      A TOTALLY ACCURATE AND REALISTIC SUMMATION. WELL SAID! We do need, however, to remove Kroenke before we will again win the title.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        ??I concur!

    2. jon fox says:

      A totally accurate and sensible summation ! Well said!

      1. Admin says:

        Hi Jon, I’m glad you found the missing ‘m’ and i have now approved your other posts. Happy New Year, my young Lord and master!

    3. William says:

      You are so naive. Atimes, it hurts to see how some of you guys think. Clearly you know nothing about what it takes to manage a football club. You want a mourinho type manager who acts like a spoilt brat and moans whenever he is not given the funds to buy players. I don’t blame you. You generation of fans sicken me. So what if we don’t win a trophy in the next decade. There were eras where this great club had no trophies but still we supported. That you guys throw so much disrespect at Wenger just hurts. This guy turned down Madrid on several occasions. With a number of Academy products he kept us competing at the highest levels possible. Look man, football has evolved sadly to just being about short term success. Have you ever wondered what would happen when the sugar daddies die off? Now we have a great young manager who given time would deliver. Ffs just support or take your negative energy elsewhere

Comments are closed