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Post Match Review

Three things learned from Liverpool vs Arsenal


Anfield eh? It has not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years. The general theme of being well beaten on Merseyside continued as the gunners were well beaten 4-0 by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool side. Was it the same story as in years gone by or was there more to glean from the match?

Here’s three things learned from Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal.

Inexperience costs dearly

The average age of the defence that started for Arsenal yesterday was 22. There have been plaudits galore for a defence that has won 5 clean sheets in 8 games. Matches like the one that transpired at Anfield is a reminder that the players in question will still be prone to inconsistency of performance.

Gabriel Magalhaes will be a colossus for Arsenal football club and showed that even in fits and burst yesterday, but lost Sadio Mane way too easily for the first goal. Nuno Tavares has become famed for his rampaging runs up and down, inside and outside, but his errant pass for Jota to tuck in the killer second goal demonstrated the exuberance of youth. Albert Sambi Lokonga looked overawed and did not cope well with the Liverpool press, it was no surprise to see his number up in the aftermath of goal number two hitting the net.

The general consensus is that these are the right profile of player that Arsenal targeted in the summer and Arsenal’s form since the first three games of the season would bear that out. However, to be able to go up to a side, who let’s face it, are still one of the top 5 teams in the world on their day and are so assured and certain about what they are doing because of 6 brilliant years with Jurgen Klopp, there needs to be clarity with the decision making. You only had to look across from who lined up opposite the gunners. Trent Alexander Arnold is one of the most creative forces in the Premier league and has had his tough days in the past but is experienced, even at this early stage. Watching Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara in that midfield against Sambi Lokonga was a clinic in effective screening and ball progression, and it will come for Sambi and the others in that team. It is days like this where Arsenal will learn so much about their limitations and avenues for improvement.

Mane shows Arsenal what they are missing again

Sadio Mane has been a nemesis to Arsenal since he became one of the Lynchpins of Klopp’s Rock n roll style. The Senegalese Wideman has seven goals against the gunners making them his second favourite team (only second to Crystal Palace- 13 goals) to play against. We all know that feeling we got when we saw Sadio Mane running at Calum Chambers and Rob Holding or beating Hector Bellerin too easily. However, what impresses the most about the former Southampton forward is his ability to channel his aggression into dominant performances.

Jurgen Klopp uses Mane as his tone setter. There has been a lot of positive press about Aubameyang’s Pressing numbers and Lacazette’s willingness to put himself in the face of extra attention from the opposition to further the team. Neither do it like Mane, dark arts from Lacazette? Mane throws elbows and wins fouls better as well as being a much fitter player, in that he can last longer than 60 minutes in a game, a problem that the former Lyon captain has had since he arrived in the league. 

Talk about pressing from the front? The Liverpool front three are renowned for this, and their co-ordination while doing it is natural. If Mikel Arteta does not want to revert to the low block tactics that he employed early in his managerial stint, which led to good results in big games, then there must be some talk of upgrading the forward line. Mikel Arteta inherited almost 200 million pounds worth of attacking talent and it makes sense to wait and see whether he could have coached some coherence into it, results have been mixed, but to be able to play the way Arsenal want to play (effectively, anyway) there needs to be a change in specification in the forward line. The next couple of transfer windows could be telling.

Post International break performances emblematic of a wider theme

Remember when the coach spoke about the 10-15 days between Man City and Norwich being “one of the best moments” of his burgeoning managerial career? It is evident that the Former Arsenal Captain is first and foremost a training ground coach and thrives of being allowed the time to put things in place that allow his team to thrive during in-game situations. Arsenal have looked well coached throughout since that game against Norwich.

Crystal Palace gave Arsenal a scare, with Lacazette having to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat after the October international break. Palace were well worth the win on that occasion, but it must be said that it is apparent that Arsenal do struggle with the short turnaround on players arriving back from international duty and refocusing for club football. This will become more relevant in years to come as Gabriel, Emile Smith Rowe, and Aaron Ramsdale all either earned their first starts or call ups for their respective countries. It is imperative that the players become used to it because if not, there will be similar struggles when Arsenal inevitably have European football back on the calendar next season.


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