Sunday, 4 March 2012

Superb Szczesny saves Arsenal as thieving van Persie robs the Scousers

Morning Gooners.

What an amazing game. After everything we all called for from this team, we delivered a performance which just about kept us in the game and then stole the points at the end. How many times have we done that this season?

Liverpool were the better side, there is no doubt about that. They were quicker in their passing, their movement was better and they had a host of chances in the first half which they will be kicking themselves they didn't take.

We on the other hand were pedestrian in our game, in Walcott and Benayoun had two players who were anonymous in the first half and a midfield which was getting over run. But we managed to stay in the game, largely down to the heroics of Wojciech Szczesny.

In my eyes, he turned in a man of the match performance yesterday - winning the team the three points. Had it not been for his numerous saves in the first half - including a fantastic reaction save after stopping Kuyt's penalty - van Persie's injury time goal would have only been a consolation.

I believe that Suarez dived for the penalty. The TV replays clearly show there was no contact. How the referee could give it - especially from the position he was in is anyone's guess. It's the second time within a week we've had a penalty decision go against us and both times the referee hasn't been in a position where he could have seen the incident clearly.

The own goal was unfortunate. Koscienly needed to do something about the cross because of the danger in the box but was never in control of where the ball was going. It was just back luck that it ended up inside Szczesny's post rather than outside it.

But we rallied and Sanga's cross for van Persie's first goal was superb. Walcott came inside dragging Enrique with him. It left massive space for the Frenchman who whipped in a fantastic cross for the Dutchman who had forced his way in front of Carragher to head home.

All square at half time - the score flattered us. Wenger needed to make some changes at half time because we were getting overrun. But he stuck with the same 11 at the start of the second half.

What happened though was that Liverpool didn't create the same amount of chances in the second half. Van Persie was isolated all game. He wasn't getting a kick. But come injury time, that's when he found his range.
Song - playing another Songinho pass from midfield - found his captain in space after the Dutchman peeled off his markers. Robin watched the ball come onto his foot and smashed home inside the near post from a ridiculous angle.

Oxlade-Chamberlain on for the unfortunate Diaby (who picked up a hamstring strain) could have sealed the win with a cracking drive at the end. But his shot was just wide.

Afterwards, Arsene Wenger said:
"It was vital for us to win the game. Liverpool had a very good first half and we were not in the game - what was flattering for us was to be 1-1 at half time.  
"The second half was much more level. We had some good chances as well, they had maybe one from Martin Kelly. But they had no clear-cut chances in the second half.  
"They had to win the game, and we know that we have Van Persie who can deliver something special. 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."
A fantastic result for us. And the day went from good to great as Chelsea lost at West Brom. All we need now is for Spurs to lose to Manchester United. Then they really will feel our breath on their shoulders.

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