118 Comments

Arsenal v Liverpool. An Acid Test.

Arsenal Opus Book Launch

Football – Arsenal Opus Book Launch – Emirates Stadium – 13/9/07 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (L) with Chairman Peter Hill Wood Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic

Top of the Premier League table with 51 out of a possible 57 points, second most goals scored, most clean sheets and yet to lose a game this campaign… safe to say the Reds haven’t a foot wrong thus far innit?

Good day one and all.

Arsenal are up north this afternoon to take on Liverpool in what is the headline fixture of this matchday weekend. Anfield has been an arduous place for visitors in recent seasons and this one is no different – P9, W8, D1. So the Gunners will need to do a lot better than lately if they don’t want to become another notch on the belt.

The Reds are undoubtedly a formidable force this campaign; not only did they smash a few teams, they also grinded out results when they needed to and are navigating the tricky waters of December with relative calm and fluidity. Questions are being asked whether they can go all way in pursuit of a first PL title in 29 years going into the second half of the season having opened up a six point lead, to put the pressure firmly on Jurgen Klopp as few of his players already said there’s no reason they cannot as well as maintaining their unbeaten run.

Going through a campaign unbeaten is something Arsenal knows about but fortunes has changed as we are now fighting to dodge a third successive season in the Europa League.

Since the North London derby at the beginning of month – a result that saw us move ahead of Spurs – we have gone off the boil a bit by dropping 7 points in our last five league outings. With the 22 game unbeaten run (in all competitions) now a distant memory, old problems returned as injuries at the back has become an obstacle for coach Unai Emery to circumvent as it got us playing on the back foot more than we would have liked. This Wednesday we had a few hairy moments, but luckily the Seagulls’ attack aren’t exactly the quality of the Reds.

I’m sure this is something the gaf’ will be mindful of; do you go into the game sitting deep and inviting pressure or do you take the game to the opposition with attacking players just as good as theirs?

Aubameyang and Lacazette have scored 19 and assisted another 8 goals between them this PL campaign, and should they both start they will need the support from all areas of the the pitch. Being up against the PL’s best defense we would also need to make the most of the few chances that no doubt will come our way if we want to take home the points.

Obviously wanting to round out 2018 on a high note will require hard work in front of the Anfield faithful in a fixture that usually brings goals but it’s hard to measure how much fatigue will play it’s part after such a long December, though, don’t the Reds players look rather fresh?

I’m not suggesting anything, not at all [insert mega toothy yellow blob]

On behalf of the Positively Arsenal family I want to say thanks to everybody being part of the year that was 2018, be it just reading or contributing in writing blogs or commenting. It’s been quite a rollercoaster that saw us wave farewell to our greatest manager and legend and the ushering in of a new era. Best wishes for the New Year and may it be better than the last.

@LaboGoon

118 comments on “Arsenal v Liverpool. An Acid Test.

  1. Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Torreira all Emery signings, and all poor on the goals today

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Koscielny is on for Mustafi

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave, in theory yes, doesn’t UE report to Raul and Co as a modern day head coach rather than a Wenger/fergie style manager?
    We don’t know what UEs targets are, nor perhaps limitations/mitigation’s to these targets, but I doubt Laurel and Hardy defending comes into it
    Hairdryer or not, I suspect UE will be told to sort this and quickly

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 11 teams in the BPL have conceded less than us

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mandy we do know Emery’s targets, its a CL place, we’ve been told that over and over so far this season,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As for Wenger, the team certainly had issues with defending at the end of his stay, but he certainly cannot be held accountable for this.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Have certainly read that Eduardo, if true, looks like he needs to up his game at the back a little bit then!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. and we are still wasteful up front

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yuk….

    Like

  10. Oh well, can see why our players were so reluctant to put a tackle in for the first half goals.
    We will keep our umpteenth negative penalty balance in mike Riley’s era

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Again, this is bad Arsenal not great Liverpool. Why push him in the back when the ball is not even going to him?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I thought Unai had sorted our defence, wasn’t that the narrative during our unbeaten run?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Did look a pen tho

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Another joke penalty.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The pens are soft but the defending is poor.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Orbinho
    ‏ @Orbinho
    4m4 minutes ago

    Michael Oliver has awarded seven penalties against Arsenal in the last 10 Premier League games he has officiated.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. On a positive note, Iwobi has impressed the heck out of me today, he has played well and continues to try to make something happen despite the score line. Respect to the young man.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Orbinho
    ‏ @Orbinho
    7m7 minutes ago

    The last time Arsenal conceded 30 goals or more after 20 league games was in 1966 (39)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. we are now looking at an awful run of results over 11 BPL games, 4 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats.
    most goals let in after 20 games for over 50 years,

    but we have progressed cos we have 1pt more than we had at this time last season. but it is 3pts less than the season before.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Below the mark performance by the new players could also be cuz they are used to being on a break at this time of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. No yellow for Robertson.Why?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Foul on Laca. No pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. No pen for Lacca.Why?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Shame our players don’t get penalties, but we all know what happens there, not that it would have made much difference

    Liked by 1 person

  25. well oliver was never going to give us a penalty no matter how clear it was

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Copious quantities of excrement….

    Liked by 1 person

  27. We have regressed…..

    Liked by 1 person

  28. FT: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

    we actually took the lead, but there after we lay down to have our belly tickled, and Oliver gave his sixth and seventh penalties against AFC in his last 10 games, just to make sure.

    we are now 1pts better off than at same stage last season, but are on a run of 11 games where we have only 4 wins, 5 draws and 2 defeats. Its not top 4 form. We have also conceded more goals after 20 games than we have since 1966. We are just he 16pts off top spot, we are 6 ahead of Man Utd, 2 behind CFC but both have a game in hand.

    but thankfully for Emery he has great PR and the media is on his side, we had in fact Lee Dixon say this evening that Arsenal have massively improved this season and that Emery was doing a fantastic job. Dixon also thinks that piss down his back is warm rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. only 7 teams have conceded more goals than us so far this BPL season, we are conceding at a rate of 1.5 goals a game, meaning at this stage we are looking at 57 goals for the season.

    3 clean sheets so far, the big thing about this and all the goals we are letting in is that it really gives all our opponents real hope, even when we are ahead, even if they are not getting much of the play, they have the knowledge we let in goals, its an extra incentive to stick at it, to hang in there. I really don’t know how we change our defending, that side today had a new GK, new CB, new RB, new DM, and yet the defending was as comical or as woeful as anything any of us has ever seen from an AFC team in all our years watching them.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Shambolic, and quite sad to see , we are rapidly falling behind some clubs we used to dominate not so many years ago.
    It is rumoured that Emery stepped in where other managers feared to tread, with finances being an issue for some. It is going to take smart management to catch up, we are not going to get investment from the owner, and we have no players who will bring in mega bucks.
    But we can help ourselves a little more by shoring up this appalling defending rather than spending energy picking fights with midfielders. Ok, maybe there is no fight with Ozil, or maybe if there is, there is good reason. Ramsey, who knows.
    The media will love today, suspect the PGMOL will be quite satisfied, but again, we know what happens there.
    Emery and those who run, and play for the club clearly have some work cut out, because that level of defending, and not for the first time this season should not be unacceptable for this club at this level.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Fair enough we got beat by a team better than us, but the officiating was an absolute disgrace. So one sided it’s just sad. Liverpool got all decisions going their way; non called offsides, fouls, cards.
    Michael Oliver has awarded a penalty against us in all the games he has officiated involving Arsenal. With that kind of record I knew we stood no chance whatsoever, especially with our defense being as broken as it is.
    We take this loss on the chin, pick ourselves up and go again. There is still a lot to play for and the season is just heating up. #UTA

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Well that could have been worse. After 45 minutes it had 10-1 written all over it.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Having trouble finding data, but Arsenal, I believe now sit joint top of the pens conceded in this league, with five, believe we have only received one, nice negative pen balance .
    I know poor defending doesn’t help, but !

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Atleast people should be agreeing to

    1) Emery is no upgrade on Wenger.
    2) The Pigmob agenda against Arsenal is visible to everyone

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Right, who’s feeling optimistic/positive now?

    I handled it alright by my standards. Though the test is always if it rankles through the evening/night/next morning.

    We have a defence problem, Houston. Can’t ignore they are obviously a good team at present and have a devastating front three; which we are less well-suited to coping with, stylistically, than rest of top six, and even most of the rest of the league.

    We can’t do sit and defend; they are tremendously difficult to stop on breakways or at edge of your box unless you have a lot of numbers back.

    But still, stylistically R Madrid are not that different, and play in a way that means there will be times their centre backs are left with lots of space to patrol by themselves. So it’s then a matter of: how much attacking threat you pose yourself; how much fear you can put into opposition about committing numbers forward; how often you give ball away; and, most of all, quality, in all positions.

    Well, we know we are way off triple fricking CL winning quality, and so the hope all lies in gradual improvement.

    Liverppol in isolation are probably not the best way to judge our defence, but today did fit with the rest, and with many games against them in recent years.

    The game has changed a lot in last twenty years, but i’d love to have that option of going there, concentrating very hard on defence, trying to give nothing away easily, and giving ourselves a shout of a result that way.

    Is that realistic? Today, for instance, there was a fair amount of decent play from us- nice passes and moves here and there- but ultimately it barely felt connected to the real issue of win, draw or lose. That all came down to whether we could defend well enough to give ourselves a shot, and it didn’t look close.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Lichtsteiner is an interesting example ,by the way, of how much styles, systems, tactics and teammates matter.

    I don’t think he’s been the horror show many are making out, though it has been hard going for him of late.

    But the main point is: he may well have still been able to do the job he did for Juventus last year, and presumably did for many years as the main right back in a very successful defensive team.

    At 34 he is no doubt being asked to play in a much less defensive team than in all those years at Juventus.

    No better example really than Terry of how it can go. Looked finished when Chelsea were trying to play a more expansive game, with less shielding of cb’s and more space behind him. They revert to their defensive style and he played all the time and looked the part again in a title-winning team.

    I don’t see us becoming that more defensive team to help Stefan out, so we have to try over next few years to get better at this type of game presumably, with fingers crossed a few additions who can excel at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I’m trying to think of a goal they scored where we did not make a horrendous mistake…I can’t think of any. Liverpool did not cut Arsenal to pieces as the score would suggest, they did take advantage of every mistake though.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Rich I don’t think anyone is judging us on just the LFC game, our defending today was just more of what we see too often, even in games we have won this season, we let in soft goals, very avoidable goals, or as I often call them self inflicted. Mistakes and wrong choices not by just one player but often several, no urgency from fullbacks or midfield to track back. I said it last season, we have a team full of optimists, they keep expecting everything to be ok, that someone else will make the block, or the tackle, or the ball will bounce our way. For me defenders need to be pessimists by nature, always expecting the worse, and by so doing they can get in positions to save the day.

    by the way I think after today a move for Gary Cahill on loan for rest of the season would be viewed by many in the fan base as a good idea, even if he has to get his £150K a week.

    our BPL games in January are

    Fulham (H)

    West Ham (A)

    Chelsea (H)

    Cardiff (H)

    we really have to get on a winning run or we could find our season resting on winning the EL

    Liked by 2 people

  39. so Rich if Lichtsteiner is not suitable to playing the sort of football we want our FB to play, then it begs the question why was he signed. I’ve seen nothing from him that makes me think we would not be better off picking Jenkinson or even AMN at RB

    Liked by 1 person

  40. We are indeed equal top of the PL penalties conceded this season with Brighton and Cardiff Mandy.

    Clearly we are the victims of something or other.

    I’m not sure what though.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Rich, I think we need to change for now because we don’t have our first choice defence. The defence is all over the place trying to play some type of high line and it just not working. I think we should put numbers behind the ball and play on the counter until we get players back.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Emery after game comments

    On the result

    We started well. After our goal they pushed and when they push it here they play with great determination. They scored three goals and it was a difficult moment for us. The second half we stood up and kept our position. The two penalties was a lot for us.

    We have a lot of work to do. Defensively we need to get better.

    On the performance

    Ainsley played right wing and scored. Iwobi, after some matches not playing well, he played 90 minutes. Defensively we need to be stronger. We need to keep the balance in the middle. We need to show our supporters to stand up after the result.

    On Ozil

    He’s injured. It’s his knee.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Think maybe we need to add Paul Cooper to our GK coaching team

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Get your optimism point Ed, it’s warranted.

    Still, though, in case of Licht, Granit, Sokratis and, maybe most of all, Torreira with Uruguay, they’ll have all played plenty in teams who aren’t like that, and played in line with the rest of the team.

    So what’s going on if they don’t do same with us? Has to be about a lot more than players taking it upon themselves to play in a different mode, or switch off etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Don’t especially approve of Sergio Ramos, but almost wish the Spaniard on Salah at some point in the CL, he might give him a real reason to hit the deck.
    Or is that terribly wrong of me?

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Just catching up with the results after a slog through some work.

    Tottenham lost!

    Liked by 1 person

  47. optimistic before this match which is a bit of a strange feeling. For decades I pretty much always thought we could win any given match. At this point I hope for the best.

    It was never going to be easy facing possibly the best “team” in Europe. I stress team because in my mind they are so much more than the sum of their parts…having said that we do have a special ability to shoot ourselves in the foot. I don’t know if when defending they expect that all we be ok, (theory of Ed!) they really should expect the worse. What other team tries to clear a ball, ball hits a teammate in the ass and falls perfectly to an opponent and an open net like their first goal? On the second goal, how firmino was not chopped down by Mustafi nor papa is tough to take. On the third I take my hat off to Salah for the control and pass to mane, whom unlike Auba a bit later, finished it well. That Auba miss was incorrectly ruled offside.

    On the penalties, I think they were soft but easy for Oliver to call. With papa being behind Saha, any touch was going to make him fall and by clipping his leg (s) that was it. As for the other, Lovren made the most of it but was clearly pushed by Kolo…being honest I think Lacazette tried to sell one for us to get but I did not see any contact.

    Hopefully we will pick up our play, we have winnable games in January and we will see soon if there are any player movement, I think we need help…

    Liked by 1 person

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