Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal: Gunners Exact Reds Revenge

I don’t know about you but I could get used to this.

Successive wins in massive games for Arsenal – coming from behind in both matches no less, have seen us consolidate the position in the top four that we’ve worked really hard for. Due to Chelsea’s defeat to West Brom (haha) yesterday we now sit some three points clear in the Champions League places and although there’s a lot of football to be played we’ve got more than a little chance of finishing above Chelsea for what would be the first time in eight years.

Not only that but the pressure now sits firmly on the shoulders of Tottenham Hotspur who today face a Manchester United team who badly need a win to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table. Four points is now the gap between us and the potato-faced saviour of English football. It is, as Alex Ferguson once put it, squeaky bum time for Spurs. Traditionally, not that’s not something they do well with.

Last year we watched Arsenal capitulate in the league after successive cup disappointments. This time around, much as we’d rather not have had the disappointment the response has been perfect. Two displays of real character have seen this team not only retain their league standing but improve it as well.

To give Liverpool their due, it was a real tough game yesterday, and the home side had the better of things for long periods of time particularly during the first half I felt. Liverpool’s problem, not just yesterday but in general is that they just don’t score enough. That’s the reason they haven’t been closer to the top four this season and ultimately it’s why their chances of getting close to it in what remains of this season are now pretty remote.

Despite Liverpool’s general command of the game early on the first good chance fell to Arsenal with Theo Walcott drawing a smart save from Pepe Reina after a long ball found him in the box at the Kop end. Swiftly, Liverpool responded with Wojciech Szczesny, who was as instrumental in us leaving Anfield with the points yesterday as anyone, having to race out of his box and twice clear with headers.

After sustained pressure from Liverpool came the matches first talking point as Luis Suarez, the monstrous buck-toothed tosser, won Liverpool a penalty with a clever dive under pressure from Szczesny. The referee’s decision to award the spot kick has to be scrutinised as his view of the incident appeared to be compromised at best. The fact that he failed to show Szczesny any sort of card merely backs up the view that he wasn’t quite sure that he’d made the right decision in which case he should never have given the kick in the first place.

Twice in two massive games Arsenal have seen penalties given against them in such circumstances. Gareth Bale last week and Luis Suarez this week, both very suspect decisions made by referees who were clearly gambling on making the right decision. Not good enough at all, and both incidents can be added to the ever growing list of referee failings this season, not just to Arsenal’s detriment but to every team in the league.

However, unlike last week, justice was done from the resulting spot kick. The fact that Wojciech Szczesny might be slightly taller than the Empire State Building allowed him to reach what I thought was a pretty well struck penalty from Kuyt down to the keeper’s right. Having seen his shot saved though, Kuyt seemed certain to score from the rebound, but he made a real mess of his finish and Szczesny seized the opportunity to race across his goal line and make a superb save.

It was a moment we could have stood to build from in the match but instead we found ourselves behind not long afterwards. Jordan Henderson was released as Liverpool found a wealth of space on the counter. Henderson charged forward and drilled in a dangerous cross, Koscielny was first to it for us but unfortunately he sliced his clearance straight past Szczesny at the near post and into the back of the net. 

Liverpool were value for the lead at that point, and it could have been 2-0 soon afterwards. Again, Szczesny made an excellent save, this time from Henderson and then Suarez hit the post from the rebound. Liverpool were soon to regret their profligacy. As it turned out, I was saying to my boss as we watched the match (one of the few perks of working in a bookies) that I didn’t think I’d even seen Robin Van Persie. Literally within five seconds, Bacary Sagna placed a sublime cross directly onto the head of the Dutchman who drove the ball into the back of the net to equalise.

There was time for more drama before half time as Liverpool hit the post amidst madness, but nonetheless the score remained 1-1 (not 5-0 as Alan Hansen tried to insist it should have been). All to play for then in the second half when I felt Arsenal were much more of a force in the game. 

The first incident of the second half though was a serious looking injury to Mikel Arteta following a collision with Jordan Henderson. Arteta went off with what is believed to be a serious concussion on a stretcher wearing an oxygen mask. But don’t worry, it’s ok because Henderson went over to pat the nearly unconscious Arteta on the shoulder as he was carried off. Like Scott Parker’s careless scything down of Thomas Vermaelen last week, it’s not the injury that matters these days, its that you make some paltry show of sportsmanship after you’ve endangered your fellow professional that matters. It was an incident that earned the sum total of no attention after the match, and no doubt Henderson will face no further scrutiny, the clumsy twat.

Anyway, the second half wore on, chances materialised for both sides, we were unlucky particularly with a deflected shot that Reina did well to save but as we closed in on full time a creditable draw looked the most likely outcome.

However, that was reckoning without Alex Song and Robin Van Persie. In added time, Song found the captain with an incisive long ball into the Liverpool penalty area. Such is RvP’s form at the moment that even with a very difficult finish to accomplish he just couldn’t miss, and the best striker in the world slammed home a winner for Arsenal at Pepe Reina’s near post.

A crucial win for us, one that we didn’t necessarily deserve but that’s the way it goes. How many matches have we lost down the years that we deserved to win? Arsene Wenger was pleased after the match, saying

“Overall it was not one of our best games, but we refused to give in and we played as well as we could. Our goalkeeper and centre forward made the difference.” 

And that’s a pretty fair assessment. The captain apparently handed Szczesny the man of the match champagne in his post-match interview which was both classy and fitting. Szczesny has come up trumps for us many times this season but he’s never been more vital than he was yesterday.

Before I wrap things up for today, a quick word for Sky’s Jamie Redknapp and the BBC’s Alan Hansen. That word is cunts. Neither could restrain their bitterness at the result in their “analysis” post-match yesterday. To be honest, Redknapp was hilarious, he just so obviously couldn’t stand it. Bleating away about how Robin Van Persie was going to leave, and the rest of our team was going to leave afterwards (which to listen to him most weeks you’d think would do us no real harm). He almost seemed to be squirming to say things to try to take some shine off of a fine result for us.

As for Hansen, well, if there was ever a bitter man it’s him. 26th May 1989 has obviously left a very ugly stain on him because it’s not the first time he’s run Arsenal down. Should have been 5-0 at half time? But it wasn’t was it though Al? His refusal to credit Arsenal at all, and his bitter insistence that Van Persie is going to leave as he held back the tears show what a petty little man he is.

To be honest, the actions of those two rancid little cunts just heightens my appreciation of an excellent result. We now go forward firstly to our second leg with AC Milan and then a week from tomorrow it’s another tough game at home to Newcastle.

For now, that’s all from me. Take it easy and I’ll be back soon.

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  • shrek2be  On 04/03/2012 at 8:26 am


  • jamrockrover  On 04/03/2012 at 10:38 am

    The last 2 games have been a magnificent reaction to the 2 cup exits(well almost in the CL) and maybe the players are finally showing us the mental strength that Wenger keeps telling us they have.

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