The shock of the 11th Premier League Day kept all its promises. Defeated by the other two Premier League cadors in the first two days (0-2 versus Manchester City and 2-3 against Chelsea), the Gunners showed Saturday against Liverpool all the progress made in three months. Which allowed us to witness a pretty amazing game.
Undefeated since the defeat against the Blues in the league, they had not faced any more candidates for the title. From the first minutes, they put in a huge intensity, a high pressing to prevent the Reds from setting their game and speed in the transmissions.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Trent Alexander-Arnold on his buttocks twice, for two centers captured by Alison. Jürgen Klopp quickly corrected and put Joe Gomez in single on the Gabonese to contain it. He came to counter him in the 14th minute on a sublime, deep pass from Mkhitaryan. The Armenian nearly opened the scoring two minutes later: he beat Alisson’s exit, without framing his head.
But Liverpool are not Premier League leaders without reason. The Reds have found the answer to the Gunners ‘ problem. After doing the back round, they also pressed very high and managed to put the ball down. And should have opened the scoring on their first chance, but it was denied-wrongly-for an offside.
A first turning point in this game. As a result of this action, the Reds set fire to Arsenal’s defense. On two climbs, Virgil Van Dijk got two opportunities : he was first checked by Leno (23rd), released in the style of a handball goalkeeper, before seeing a head finish on the post at the 45th (he had beat the exit of the German goalkeeper).
On the way back from the dressing rooms, the Gunners regained control of the game. But, as was the case in the first period, their dominance was sterile. James Milner’s teammates skated, without panic, and eventually opened the scoring, by their captain (61′). This goal cut the legs of Londoners. The exits of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang also.
The score could have been heavier : Mané missed the goal of the break with a rien (69′) and Leno had to work to get a Van Dijk head (74′). Reds can eat their fingers off. Because Alexandre Lacazette, particularly discreet since the beginning of the second period, equalized (82’). Not very focused, they almost got a goal right away (Mané got knocked out). They pushed but failed to force the decision. A draw worth a win for them : the Gunners have proved that they will have to be counted on this season in the Premier League.
The player : Virgil van Dijk, what a rock
The Dutch international delivered a rather exceptional performance. Dominating in the aerial game, powerful, quick and quick, he put his opponents under his muzzle as they approached his zone. His reading of the game also allowed him to cut off the trajectory of many centers. Offensively, he also regaled and got three huge chances.
The fact: Mané’s goal was worthwhile
Liverpool should have opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Sadio Mané was denied a goal for an offside position. If the Senegalese is indeed at the start of the action that leads to the goal, he does not touch the ball and leaves it to Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian finds the bar. The ball goes back to Mané, who is no longer in the illegal position according to law 11, and scores in the empty net. Mr. Marriner’s assistant should not have raised his flag.