Wednesday night was an interesting fixture for Mikel Arteta and this young Arsenal team. No doubt about it Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world at the moment. They are also years ahead of us in terms of the fabled process. We’ve failed to overcome them in 19 attempts now and we’ve been on the end of some right tonkings as well. Wednesday was a chance to see how far we’ve come in recent months. To see if we can close the gap.
I thought we played well in the first half, we contained them fairly well whilst not creating much ourselves. Saka caused problems down the right and we held our own on the left. Overall we went in 0-0 and I wasn’t feeling too worried. However, the second half started and Liverpool went through the gears. They cut the route between Partey and Saka which gave us some joy during the first half and they were first to every ball. However we created our best chance of the game after a sloppy back pass which Lacazette was switched on to, he found Odegaard but his shot was blocked by a scrambling Allison.
Then there was a warning sign. Mane put the ball in only to be ruled offside. Minutes later they took the lead. Ramsdale has been incredible for us this season but he of all people will know you can’t get beaten at the near post like that. Again he’s saved us so many points this season so I’m not going to dig him out. But that moment was important as from then on Liverpool took the game to us and were rewarded after we failed to clear our lines properly with a second. No team comes from two down to beat that Liverpool team at the moment, who are an exceptional team.
As the game went into the closing stages there was some excellence from Martinelli down the left to nutmeg Henderson and forge an opportunity. Unfortunately his Henry style curling effort was a whisker wide and that was all she wrote. On Martinelli though who was brilliant all night, he really is starting to become a key player for us. His energy, fight and skill are invaluable in this team. If he can tighten up his final ball and finishing he’ll be a superstar.
The bottom line
For me this match was a free hit. Anything out of it would have been great but it was more of a marker of where we are and where we’re heading. The right direction for sure but we lack that final bit of quality to really say we can close the gap between us and those above us. For the minute we’re still fourth and the table favours us. But we need to get back to winning ways quickly and that starts with a very difficult looking trip to Villa Park on Saturday lunch time. See you there.