The clash between the eternal rivals lived up to its billing as the pick for the EPL game of the opening fixtures just as expected.
Goals, touchline emotions, near-comebacks, it couldn’t have gotten any interesting in the 7-goal thriller.
The last time both sides met, a 3 – 3 scoreline made each team settle for a share of the spoils, and it almost came close to that with Arsenal coming from 4 – 1 down to 4 – 3 in what was a nervy ending for the visitors.
As suspected, Arsenal’s inexperienced stand-in centre back pairing of Rob Holding and Calumn Chambers couldn’t contain Liverpool’s attacking threat, seeing the backline constantly getting broken down, with last season’s golden glove winner, Petr Cech helpless.
Here are few takeaways.
Arsenal’s injuries again point to Wenger’s failure
Going into the game, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista and Jack Wilshere were all on the treatment table after sustaining various degrees of injuries during pre-season proceedings.
That looked set to force Wenger into panic mode in order to land defensive additions before the end of the summer transfers, but he might need to do more than just that after Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey were withdrawn for picking up injuries.
Welbeck is still on the injury sidelines and Santi Cazorla just returned. It’s not just coincidence, but the lack of the right fitness patterns and plans for the players at Arsene Wenger’s disposal.
Once again, his failure at that department was brought to full glare, and another injury-laden season is expected for Arsenal. Simple enough, Wenger can’t keep his squad fit. He sucks at it.
Liverpool must do better defensively
The game looked to have ended the moment Sadio Mane struck the 5th goal of the day.
But Arsenal almost completed a comeback through Chamberlain and Chambers, largely due to Cazorla’s massive contributions, and most noticeably, Liverpool’s porosity at the back.
Both full backs, Moreno and Clyne weren’t able to prove much defensively, with the former guilty of being caught out of position in the buildup to Arsenal’s first goal.
And whilst summer signing, Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren looked solid on a number of occasions, the team generally didn’t do enough defensively.
They are just as much as poor in conceding as they are as great in attacking. Klopp must find a solution asap.
Chamberlain deserves a spot in the starting lineup/Whither Joel Campbell?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was an instant impact off the bench, helping to start what would have been a great comeback after landing the host’s 2nd goal of the game.
The once-very-promising England international forward has seen playing time hard to come by at Arsenal, raising concerns over his future at the north London side, but he proved why he needs to be in Wenger’s starting lineup with a stellar performance against Liverpool.
He will only need a lot of consistency to earn that, but his quality can never been questioned.
However, an obvious exclusion from the lineup is Costa Rican star, Joel Campbell. Despite a great pre-season, he wasn’t included in the match day squad that was without a majority of Arsenal’s first team players. Says only one thing about the youngster’s future at the Emirates – it doesn’t exist.