It was our hardest game of the season so far. Liverpool are a very strong team like Arsenal who are hoping to get into the Champions League this year and maybe even have a slight chance of winning the league. It was always going to be a close game.
What made matters worse was that a few hours before kick off we found out that our first choice centre backs Mertesacker and Koscielny were both out with illness and injury respectively. It had to be Arsenal who have the worst injury record by far!
This was a huge blow for us having not one but both of them out and as a result having to be replaced by new centre back pairing Gabriel (who hardly speaks any English) and Chambers.
Chambers is young and was originally a right back so is inexperienced in the centre as well. It was also the first time that they had played together and coming from experience as being a centre back it takes time to form a good partnership as you need to know each other’s weaknesses and strengths along with plenty of other things.
It was basically the worst news to lose two centre backs in general at once but also because Mertesacker and Koscielny are both very used to each other and have formed a very strong partnership as a result. Whereas if you lose two players in other positions then it probably wouldn’t affect the team as much or be as noticeable. Perhaps the only other positions to lose at once with the most effect would be the centre midfielders as they also form a partnership and dictate the game.
So after that bad news before kick off everyone knew it would be even harder now and it definitely showed in the first half.
Liverpool absolutely dominated us in the first half with Chambers really struggling giving the ball away too many times but it wasn’t just him. I think that the whole team needed to adapt to the loss of the centre backs and no one played that well.
I have never seen our passing so bad but you have to give a lot credit to Liverpool for making it hard for us by putting on a lot of pressure which made us make many mistakes. They had plenty of chances and if it wasn’t for Petr Cech making two world class saves then we would have probably lost the game.
Cech definitely made up for his mistakes against West Ham by denying both Benteke and Coutinho. I don’t know how they didn’t score but I also don’t know how we didn’t when Ramsey had a goal wrongly disallowed. It looked like a perfectly normal goal and everyone stood up only to see the linesman with his flag up.
They didn’t show the replays at the time obviously as always to avoid controversy with the fans in the stadium but I found out later that it was onside which shows that technology should also be used for offside calls as it is very easy to make mistakes and they need help to make the right decision.
So half time ended 0-0 amazingly and we had been both very lucky as well as very unlucky. I still thought that we had a enough to win it in the second half though…
In fact, the second half was completely different in that Arsenal dominated the game and had so many chances but just couldn’t take them. Their keeper made a few good saves as well as Sanchez hitting the post from close range. Liverpool also defended very well in numbers and that made it very hard for us.
It somehow ended 0-0 though and I think a draw was probably the right result in the end as both teams could have won.
One thing that I was really annoyed about though again was that Chamberlain still didn’t start and Ramsey had to play out of position. As soon as Chamberlain came on off the bench he added much needed pace and we nearly scored straight away and I really think if he had been on from the start we would have won. We need two wingers and Wenger really has to change to this soon.
Walcott also came on for Giroud but I think that was actually the wrong change. I think Walcott should have come on for someone else like Cazorla because Giroud always looked like he might have scored.
But it did finish as a draw and we have been very average so far but we do have the same points as Chelsea and it is still very early days with many games in the season to go. We definitely have to improve though and start scoring more as well as playing a lot better at home. The statistics are very bad recently at home with us not scoring in 5 of our last 6 games and at the moment I would rather us play away.
Next up is Newcastle away on Saturday and it will be another tight game but I think we will win 3-1 and hopefully start to push on from there.