Sunday, 15 August 2010

Liverpool match report (Anfield)

Liverpool 1 - Arsenal 1
At Anfield

Arsenal XI: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy, Nasri, Diaby [Van Persie - 76], Wilshere [Rosicky - 59], Eboue [Walcott - 59], Chamakh, Arshavin
Goals: Reina o.g
Conceded: Ngog
Other: Cole red card; Arsene Wenger interview

A last minute goalkeeping howler allowed Arsenal to snatch a point at Anfield this afternoon.

Pepe Reina's own goal at the death - maybe karma played a part - gave us a point from a game where we struggled to put more than a handful of strikes on target.

The game wasn't devoid of incident. Two sendings off and a Gael Clichy goal line clearance were all part of the mix.

Arsenal has the lions share of possession, as you would of expected of an Arsene Wenger side.

The first half we pressed well and harried Roy Hodgeson's side. The only goal line opportunity for the Gunmers saw a Thomas Vermaelen free kick test the Liverpool goalkeeper.

And then it moved into the final moments of the half when everything seemed to burst into life.

First Glen Johnson had a shot tipped over by Manuel Almunia and David Ngog then had a header cleared off the line from the resulting corner by Clichy.

As first half stoppage time approached, Joe Cole was sent off for a lunging challenge on Laurent Koscielny.

It was a reckless challenge. It could have left our new signing out of action. Luckily for us the player is made of sterner stuff and appeared again for the second half.

There were the usual cries of "he's not that type of player" from the Sky team.

If he fouls Koscielny like that, he is that type of player. He had no need to go in like that, in that part of the field. There was absolutely no need. It was right that he was sent off.

So we went into the second half against a team with 10 men, but an Anfield crowd riled but what they believed was an wrongly awarded red card.

It wasn't long before a goalkeeping error put one side in front. And it was Almunia who failed to protect his near post from a David Ngog shot.

Their move was created after a sloppy pass from Jack Wilshere.
The 18-year-old was making his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

His first half performance was decent but he faded on the second half prior to him being substituted.

Liverpool pushed for a second, but it was Arsenal who stepped up the tempo late on and
Tomas Rosicky showed great control with a slaloming run into the area before seeing his shot touched over by Reina.

Rosicky was the creator of our goal. It was his cross which Chamakh jumped for in front of Reina. The goalkeeper failed to grasp the cross and Chamakh's effort hit the post.

The Spanish goalkeeper turned to see the ball coming back off the post and managed to fumble it into his own luck.

Very, very lucky for Arsenal.

Arsenal ended the game with ten players as well after Koscielny was dismissed after picking up a second booking for a handball.

All in all, it was certainly a case of a point gained. We were better in the first half when we were playing against 11 players.

But our second half performance was woeful. When we needed to keep a high tempo, for whatever reason Abou Diaby slowed play down and squandered possession.

Nasri had a good game but Arshavin was anonymous. For an international player to put a display like that was shocking. He didn't seem to be interested.

With Koscielny out for the Blackpool game, we need to bring in another centre back. Let's hope Arsene has a busy week in the transfer market.

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