Liverpool 2 - 2 Arsenal

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Post by Jay29 Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:27 pm

For a neutral, that game would have been piss-your-pants funny. Some hilariously bad passing and defending, mainly from Arsenal, and a plethora of missed chances courtesy of Liverpool, culminating in a thrilling finale in which the guy with the head injury popped up and scored the equaliser.

As an Arsenal fan, though, that was utter shite. Liverpool were by far and away the better side and at no point during the game did we ever look like turning the tide. From the first whistle, it was all Liverpool; the intensity of their play was fantastic and they cut us open again and again as we struggled to cope with their system.

Arsenal got it badly wrong tactically. By asking the front three of Welbeck, Alexis and Giroud to press Liverpool's back three, and leaving Markovic and Henderson to Chambers and Gibbs, we were constantly outnumbered in the middle of the pitch. Liverpool had a spare man every time they went forward and we were fortunate we didn't lose the game during that half. Half the team pressed half-heartedly while the other half didn't press at all, our passing was beyond terrible and the players looked confused as to how they should be defending; I counted at least three times when we changed shape.

It was a performance as bad, if not worse, than last year's visit to Anfield, only this time Liverpool didn't have the cutting edge to punish us. 1-0 at half time would have flattered us, so the fact that we somehow scored from a set-piece was a massive piss take.

The second half wasn't much better. We, at least, settled on how we were going to defend, but we had no grip on the game at all and the whole half was stretched. Our ball retention still sucked, and Liverpool kept coming at us with wave after wave of attack. We took the lead - again, somehow - but we still couldn't gain any control of the game. Even when Liverpool went down to ten men, we were penned in our half with no outlet and our shocking transitional play meant we have very little reprieve. The pressure eventually told when Skrtel scored a free header at the end, which is a very Arsenal way to concede late on.

The only positive to take from all that is that we didn't lose the game when we should have been thrashed. The performance was the worst I've seen this season, which is saying something because it's been a shit season, and several players underperformed. Chambers struggled at right back - why he was playing at right back and Debuchy at centre back I've no *bleep* idea - while Flamini and Chamberlain were invisible in midfield, which goes a long way towards explaining why Liverpool had so many attempts on goal from the edge of our area. Alexis and Welbeck were crap, their work off the ball proving fruitless and quality on it being far from the required standard. Giroud was poor, too, despite his goal. Only Szczesny and Cazorla performed well. Who knows what the scoreline would've been without Szczesny today.

And again, the manager comes away from a big game looking tactically inept. Injuries may have limited our options, but that first half was an embarrassment and I had no idea what we were trying to accomplish. Evidently, neither did the players. They looked lost - were they meant to stay in shape and counter? Were they meant to press? There was no clear plan, and if there was, the execution of it was incredibly poor.

The point doesn't help either side, really. We've lost more ground on West Ham, Southampton, Spurs and Man Utd. We have an opportunity, with games at West Ham and Southampton to come next week, to make up some of that lost ground, but terrible performances like today's instill no confidence that we can win those games. Beating poor sides like Galatasaray and Newcastle 4-1 doesn't change the fact that this is a struggling team having a poor season. We're around halfway through the season now and there aren't many signs that this will get better any time soon.

Nonetheless, I hope everyone has a nice Christmas. I'll be with family on Boxing Day, so I won't be able to make a thread for the QPR game, but I'll be back to cover the West Ham game on the 28th.

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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:33 pm

Letting a lead slip against 10 men for a team of our "supposed" calibre should be absolutely unacceptable, but I ain't even buzzed.
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Post by Eman Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:34 pm

Bad tactics, bad performance, and we don't deserve anything if we can't hold onto a 1 goal lead against a 10 man team. We keep blowing our chances to actually move up the table.

Men of the match were Cazorla, Debuchy and Szczesny for me and the flops were Welbeck, Sanchez, and Flamini. Welbeck in particular didn't contribute anything whatsoever today, while Poldi is sitting on the bench as usual :coffee:

We really need some key players back in the next few days.
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Post by Chumlum Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:37 pm

Match rating: :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:

(4/5 facepalms)

On a few positive notes (just because it's too exhausting to focus on the bad ones). I think Cazorla has been an undersung hero in recent weeks, and I thought he had a good match today. Did some good work defensive and looked positive moving forward. I was also surprised at how not-crap Le Coq looked. Flashes of that period a few years back when we all thought he might make a terrific holding midfielder?
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Post by urbaNRoots Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:42 pm

"@Arsenal: Wenger: "Maybe we had some bad memories of last year. Some players were not at their best today" #LFCvAFC"

Oh game preparation. Just when I thought that's the managers job. OK then.

"@Arsenal: Boss: "We had problems today because we did not have enough possession in the game. After we took the lead we let them come at us" #LFCvAFC"

Bringing Coquelin on for an attacker obviously didn't send a message at all...
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Post by mani88 Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:43 pm

We sorely missed the midfield today. No control on the game whatsoever. Had only something like 35-40% possession. Very lucky to have taken a point.
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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:44 pm

Yeah Cazorla was our best player along with Debuchy.

Chamberlain, Alexis and Welbeck were non-existent.

Flamini was Flamini.

Mertesacker is in demise. We need a replacement for him in January.
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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:45 pm

We would have won if we had our midfield available.

But f it. Better than last year.

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Post by Chumlum Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:45 pm

Honestly I don't think bringing Coquelin on was a bad move in itself. If we didn't do that, and Liverpool still scored or looked threatening, Wenger would be attacked for failing to shore up defense. Damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

The point is that either way a goal like Skrtel's shouldn't be conceded in that manner ...
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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:46 pm

urbaNRoots wrote:"@Arsenal: Wenger: "Maybe we had some bad memories of last year. Some players were not at their best today" #LFCvAFC"

Oh game preparation. Just when I thought that's the managers job. OK then.

"@Arsenal: Boss: "We had problems today because we did not have enough possession in the game. After we took the lead we let them come at us" #LFCvAFC"

Bringing Coquelin on for an attacker obviously didn't send a message at all...

Bringing Coquelin on wasn't a bad decision. He actually wasn't that bad when he came on.

We never had control of the game for one minute. And no one other player on the bench could've changed that.
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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:47 pm

Coquelin did alright. But thought taking Giroud off was a mistake.

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Post by Twoism Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:47 pm

I really don't know what would happen if Chambers play in the middle today. Debuchy saved us a lots of times and a good peformance in the center, meanwhile I only noticed Metz when he dodged the ball and Pool scored 2nd goal.

I would seriously consider Debuchy-Kozz partnership if Metz form kept going beyond shit like this.

As for the game, the less talked the better. Jay covered everything but Alexis got my sympathy. He was extremely tired today, he was out of steam for the last 20 minutes or so. He needs that rest badly and of course Wenger took Giroud out 1st who still looked like a bull.
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Post by mani88 Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:48 pm

Bringing Giroud off was a bad idea, he would have been handy in defense. specially in defending setpieces.
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Post by urbaNRoots Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:49 pm

Chumlum wrote:Honestly I don't think bringing Coquelin on was a bad move in itself. If we didn't do that, and Liverpool still scored or looked threatening, Wenger would be attacked for failing to shore up defense. Damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

The point is that either way a goal like Skrtel's shouldn't be conceded in that manner ...


I agree, however Wenger is saying that we let them attack us after leading but bringing a defensive midfielder for an attacker does send that message to the players after all. It is his failure, he shouldn't be looking at the players. They worked hard and almost won a game in which they were set up to lose.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:54 pm

Is Rosicky injured too? Don't think I've seen him play a single second this season hmm

Arteta, Ramsey and Özil back, give Alexis a meaningful rest ffs before he gets an injury in January, and you're back challenging for the treble as I predicted smoking
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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:54 pm

We couldn't hold on to the ball. We had the lowest amount of possession since 2003 lol. That was the reason we played so badly.

EVERY player wanted to get rid of the ball as soon as they got it. We couldn't go past the final third without hoofing. The only time we did? we scored.

No one took responsibility on the ball. We desperately missed the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Ozil. They all try to take charge from midfield. Oxlade does too but he was barely fit.

Majority of the teams gain momentum towards the injury time. What Liverpool did was nothing new. We should have gone for a 3rd after the second. Maybe bring Podolski for Welbeck.

But like chum said, it was a lose-lose situation for wenger either way.
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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 6:58 pm

It's becoming a chore to watch us play. We are playing worse than we did under George Graham. At least then we actually played because it was what the manager wanted. Now we are playing because no idea why.

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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:01 pm

RealGunner wrote:We couldn't hold on to the ball. We had the lowest amount of possession since 2003 lol. That was the reason we played so badly.

EVERY player wanted to get rid of the ball as soon as they got it. We couldn't go past the final third without hoofing. The only time we did? we scored.

No one took responsibility on the ball. We desperately missed the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Ozil. They all try to take charge from midfield. Oxlade does too but he was barely fit.

Majority of the teams gain momentum towards the injury time. What Liverpool did was nothing new. We should have gone for a 3rd after the second. Maybe bring Podolski for Welbeck.

But like chum said, it was a lose-lose situation for wenger either way.

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I mean, like I said we didn't have, or look like, controlling that game for one minute.

Although, we really should have defended the corner better despite Liverpool gaining momentum.
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Post by Jay29 Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:09 pm

I've made the point before about subbing Giroud late on. If we're defending late on, having more height in the team is useful during set-pieces. Alexis and Welbeck weren't contributing anything to the match, so why not take one of them off instead?

But that's not even the worse thing Wenger did today. We bought Chambers to cover our centre backs, and Debuchy to replace our right back, but when both are fit it's Debuchy who's covering our injured centre back and Chambers playing at right back. It's bizarre. Soon enough we're going to rock up at Man City and Man Utd playing Monreal and Debuchy at centre back because why the eff not.

Bad passing is one thing, but the space between our midfielders today was disgraceful. How can you turn up to these games without a compact midfield? Flamini sucks at the best of the times but today he was left alone with acres of space all around him. The best holding players in the world would struggle in that situation.

That doesn't exactly help with keeping the ball, either. Neither does playing three strikers, who all ended up a good twenty yards in front of our midfield. I'm sure Wenger knows players need to be close together for them to retain the ball effectively. As much as the players are culpable for not performing, they're playing in a crap set-up that makes it harder for them.

West Ham are going to ruin us. Sad

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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:14 pm

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B5ZjHn7CEAAh8lK.jpg
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Post by RealGunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:16 pm

GoonerJay29 wrote:I've made the point before about subbing Giroud late on. If we're defending late on, having more height in the team is useful during set-pieces. Alexis and Welbeck weren't contributing anything to the match, so why not take one of them off instead?

But that's not even the worse thing Wenger did today. We bought Chambers to cover our centre backs, and Debuchy to replace our right back, but when both are fit it's Debuchy who's covering our injured centre back and Chambers playing at right back. It's bizarre. Soon enough we're going to rock up at Man City and Man Utd playing Monreal and Debuchy at centre back because why the eff not.

Bad passing is one thing, but the space between our midfielders today was disgraceful. How can you turn up to these games without a compact midfield? Flamini sucks at the best of the times but today he was left alone with acres of space all around him. The best holding players in the world would struggle in that situation.

That doesn't exactly help with keeping the ball, either. Neither does playing three strikers, who all ended up a good twenty yards in front of our midfield. I'm sure Wenger knows players need to be close together for them to retain the ball effectively. As much as the players are culpable for not performing, they're playing in a crap set-up that makes it harder for them.

West Ham are going to ruin us. Sad


I think Chambers-Merte doesn't work at all. Debuchy at CB was probably the right decision as he had a very good game. But Chambers was pretty bad on the other hand. Perhaps Arsene should have gone with Bellerin. Specially as he had a great match against Newcastle.

But Arsene will never do that. Not seen him play a kid over someone experienced available in my life.

Space in midfield lol. Don't want to go there.
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Post by El Gunner Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:18 pm

I don't know we have actually even had a midfield scratch
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Post by Twoism Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:28 pm

It's not a surprise that midfield failed miserably, it's limited and out of position. Santi did well I think, at least he's the only one who held the ball and didn't lose it. Ox kept drifting out the wings so much and when he needs to place simple passes, he over touch it and gave away counter. Flamini got yellow really early in game so he got one hand tied.
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Post by DeletedUser#1 Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:28 pm

No offense, but your lot was by far the worst opposition we've had at Anfield.

All teams who've visited anfield this season before you didn't give us as much as space COMBINED as you did.

It's a massive reflection of how piss poor the league is when THE worst Man Utd side of the last 25 years (yes, they are worse this season than last IMO) is sitting 3rd, and THE worst Arsenal side under Wenger will probably sneak 4th spot in the end.

Shocking league this year.

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Post by Jay29 Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:29 pm

Liverpool 2 - 2 Arsenal B5ZiPm9CQAAeV3a

:facepalm:

I'm one of Mert's biggest fans but even I wonder where his balls have gone this season.

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