Top of the League to you!!
Felt it was necessary to greet you that way just to remind you where we sit despite the result last night. If the league ended today, we would be winners and we wouldn’t be the first to win it based on goal difference either. That however is the big picture and the league is not ending today, despite the pain from not taking full advantage of the position we found ourselves yesterday with about 5 mins to go.
Like life, your reaction to a football match and its result sometimes are dependent on the angle you tend to look at it from. Going away to Liverpool was never going to be an easy trip and taking a point there could be seen as a good result. However, given Liverpool’s injury worries, a problem we also are not immune from, their current league form via a vis ours, it was not out-of-place to expect Arsenal to pick up three points at Anfield.
Nonetheless, it still depends on how you compartmentalized it. Klopp, Liverpool’s new manager, came in with reputation of doing great things while at Dortmund. During the period he won league titles, German Cups and also took his team to the final of the Champions League. He comes with a big reputation as a top manager and whilst the effect of his signing can only be measured at the earliest next season, he seems to be able to use big games this season to send a message to the league. Against the big teams this season, Liverpool have always found a way to perform, 4-1 win against Man City and 3-1 win over Chelsea. Is a point against them really that bad then?
I expected us to win, but when we were 2-1 down last night with Liverpool still pressing us, if I was offered a draw I would have taken it. In the end we took the lead and lost it with minutes to spare and it was a terrible feeling. I tweeted last night that it felt like a loss to me and considering how close Leicester and Man City are running us, it really was two points dropped. Trying to go bed however, I asked myself the question, would my reaction be different if the reverse was the case? i.e we were maybe 3-1 down and came back to 3-3 against Liverpool?
The prism by which you choose to see the final result of any game especially against top teams to a large extent really depends on what your expectations are pre and during the game. Yesterday, Liverpool really took the game to us and it took a while before we could react to the intensity of the game. To be honest, I think we never really adjusted to it especially from the 70th minute. Every time Liverpool had the ball, it ended up right in front of our box. It seemed to me like we had a non-existent midfield. I think yesterday was really the day we missed having Coquelin and Cazorla in our team. Their tackling and passing combination is unrivalled by any partnership we have tried to form their since their departure due to injury.
I am a big fan of Aaron Ramsey and if I had to pick the Arsenal starting eleven he certainly would always make the team. However, his gung-ho approach to football games left us really exposed yesterday. I think he is a classic case of you can’t eat your cake and have it. You cannot appreciate gung-ho when he comes in against Sunderland last weekend, instantly dominates the game and scores the all-important second goal that gave us the lift to win the game, and does the same thing to get us to bring us back in the game yesterday and then dismiss all his attributes due to his seemingly defensive fragilities.
I think managing Ramsey comes down to the Wenger and it’s his realization of these deficiencies that makes Ramsey play on the right and not down the middle when everyone is fit. A position where he can still contribute going forward but with less defensive responsibilities down the middle where it is easier to hurt us.
With Cazorla and Coquelin still a long way from returning to team, our hopes lie in what potential new signing Mohammed Elneny can bring to our midfield as we cannot afford to keep being exposed like we were yesterday.
Just before I close this as work starts in a few minutes, whatever you do today can as Arsenal fans, I urge to tweet at Joel Campbell (@joel_campbell12) to show him support. What a player he has become this season. I was one of his biggest critics and I never thought he could do well in Arsenal shirt but my goodness, the shift this lad has put in, in recent weeks is simply amazing. From a 7th choice right winger, Campbell has helped the team with his crisp passing, assisting, scoring and making key defensive contributions. I’m sure no one appreciates Campbell more than the defenders he plays in front of and it was telling that when he left the pitch yesterday, we really did lose a lot of energy that helped to keep the result in our favour.
That’s the much I can get in. Interact with us on the comments section below or on Twitter @canoncrested. Would love to read from you.