Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the new Premier League season as they went down 3-1 to defending champions Liverpool at Anfield. Here are our talking points from this Round 3 fixture.
Crucial Lacazette second half miss: In the 63rd minute of the game, with Liverpool leading 2-1, Alexandre Lacazette, playing his 100th Premier League game for Arsenal, found himself in a one on one with Alisson after a great pass from Dani Ceballos. The Liverpool keeper was in a poor position, and Lacazette attempted to take it around him but only ended up shooting straight at the Brazilian.
Given the limited chances Arsenal had in this game, this was a golden opportunity- certainly one you’d expect your £50m signing to put away. Unfortunately he didn’t, and with that went Arsenal’s chances of taking something from this game.
Lacazette had an ordinary evening- he did score the first goal (after Andy Robertson’s error), but the nature of that finish didn’t really inspire confidence. In the 59th minute of the game, he was again in a great 1v1 situation (albeit offside), and attempted to chip Alisson, only to fail. Did it influence his thinking for the big chance mentioned above four minutes later? We’ll never know, but Arsenal need their star French forward to do better if they are to pick up points from big games like this one. At 2-2, the game could’ve finished differently.
Pepe’s poor corners: Liverpool, as you’d expect, dominated the game. Arsenal however didn’t help their own cause- substitute Nicolas Pepe, for example, took two corners in the second half, but failed to clear the first man on both occasions. Given the way he took both set pieces, one could only feel this was a training ground routine that didn’t quite go to plan. Again a player fans would expect better from given the price the Gunners shelled out for him.
Liverpool are a very, very good side: Mikel Arteta had got the better of Jurgen Klopp in their last league meeting as well as in the Community Shield, but Liverpool were determined not to let it happen again.
Their forwards- Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in particular, were excellent, and Arsenal found it difficult to play out of the back. Arteta opted for a slightly defensive lineup, with Elneny and Xhaka in the middle and Ainsley-Maitland Niles preferred to Bukayo Saka at LWB.
Even Diogo Jota, who came off the bench for his league debut, slotted in seamlessly as if he’d been playing for them for a while now. Like the player he replaced (Mane), the Portuguese forward also scored his first league goal against Arsenal.
Virgil van Dijk’s excellent long passing caused all sorts of trouble for the Gunners, with Liverpool constantly working to exploit the space between Kieran Tierney and Maitland-Niles.
Andy Robertson effectively gifted Arsenal an opener, but he didn’t let it affect him, and he made amends with a goal at the other end.
However to their credit, Arsenal were in the game for 85 minutes, and that would’ve definitely pleased Mikel Arteta. There is no shame in losing to this Liverpool side- they’re a well oiled machine, and have only got stronger with the additions of Thiago and Jota.
Bellerin’s foul throws: Hector Bellerin had not one, but TWO foul throws in this game. Even attempted to argue with the officials saying that was the way he had been doing them all his life!
The Gunners however do have a chance for quick revenge, with the two sides also clashing in the EFL Cup later this week. Their 19/20 meeting in that very competition was a classic (5-5), and we could be in for another tasty fixture come Thursday.
Liverpool 3 (Mane, Robertson, Jota) beat Arsenal 1 (Lacazette)