Becoming Big Boys: Arsenal 2 – 0 Liverpool – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 2 – 0 Liverpool

With the Carling Cup out of sight, Arsenal turned their attention to the Premier League. A win against Liverpool at home would put Arsenal five points clear at the top. Liverpool though, were enjoying the best form of their recent history.[quote_right]”Arteta & Ramsey were doing a stellar job of keeping Sturridge and Suarez quiet by cutting off their supply…”[/quote_right]

Arsenal’s performance in the first half was exquisite. Ozil, Cazorla and Rosicky in particular were working tirelessly to keep hold of the ball, whilst Giroud was winning pretty much every ball that came near him.

Liverpool wee prodding and poking at times, but Arteta & Ramsey were doing a stellar job of keeping Sturridge and Suarez quiet by cutting off their supply.

In the nineteenth minute, Cazorla put Arsenal one up. Bacary Sagna put in a decent cross, which was met by Santi’s header. The ball rattled back off the post, but Cazorla made sure he met it once more with a brilliant strike from a tough angle. It was a deserved, well taken goal.

For the remainder of the half, Arsenal were keeping possession beautifully. The entire midfield, plus Giroud, were playing some excellent one touch football, keeping the ball away from Liverpool’s prying hands. Or feet.

The half time whistle soon blew, and Arsenal walked down the tunnel in high spirits, but perhaps with not as many goals as they would have liked.

Liverpool began the second half with confidence. They introduced Coutinho, and were moving about the pitch with more fluidity. However, their spell of good play was short-lived.[quote_left]”The Gunners were two goals to the good, and were doing a highly professional job of seeing the game out.”[/quote_left]

In the fifty-ninth minute, Mesut Ozil played a classy ball to Ramsey on the edge of the box. The in-form Welshman paused, looked up and laced the ball into the far corner. Both the assist and the shot were electric.

For once, Arsenal looked calm and steady going into the final third of the game. The Gunners were two goals to the good, and were doing a highly professional job of seeing the game out.

Liverpool mounted a few late attacks on goal as the final whistle drew closer, but a confident Szczesney pulled off a string off good stops to deny The Reds.

The the end, it was a surprisingly comfortable win for The Gunners. They had come across a “Big Team” and they hadn’t flinched – this time.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesney: [8/10]
Didn’t have much to do in the first half, but did a great job later on in the game to deny Liverpool their chances. Looking good.

Sagna: [7/10]
Bacary had a fairly comfortable game, but showed some nervous play at times when caught short at the back. Put in a good cross for Cazorla’s goal.

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]
Per did a solid job of reading the game well, and looking surprisingly at ease in the face of Sturridge and Suarez.

Koscielny: [8.5/10]
Laurent got himself stuck into some fantastic defending. He kept Suarez quiet for most of the game, won headers, and got in front of his man to win the ball on a regular basis.

Gibbs: [8/10]
Kieran was exceptional. He did well against Liverpool’s attacks defensively, and did a splendid job of going forward too. He provided width and pace, and managed to cause issues for Liverpool’s defence throughout the game.

Ramsey: [8/10]
Aaron wasn’t at his very best in the first half, but came alive in the second. He helped Arsenal get the ball forward, and pulled off a spectacular long-range effort.

Arteta: [8.5/10] – MOTM
Mikel had to do a solid defensive job today, and that’sexactly what he did. He filled in for Flamini well, breaking up play and putting in tackles around Arsenal’s box. His passing game, as usual was spot on. Arteta was definitely the cement holding Arsenal’s team together tonight.

Cazorla: [8/10]
Santi did extremely well to open the scoring with both a good header, and an excellent half-volley. His goal was the most important, and helped Arsenal get a hold on the game. Cazorla’s passing was also great all game, although he did lose possession once or twice trying to dribble out of trouble. Subbed.

Rosicky: [7.5/10]
Tomas battled hard tonight. He threw himself into tackles well, chased players and made good runs of the ball. However, some of his passing was a little off, and he looked tired just before being subbed off in the later stages of the game.

Ozil: [6.5/10]
Not a great game from Mesut. No seriously. He looked tired from start to finish, his passing wasn’t as crisp and he just didn’t impact the game much at all. Apart from when he assisted Ramsey with a tasty pass of course.

Giroud: [7/10]
Didn’t put a foot wrong in the first half. He showed some elegant touches as usual, and won an array of aerial battles. All of his link up play was great up until he missed a one-on-one, chipping his chance just inches to the wrong side of the post. Started the game better than he ended it for sure.

Subs:

Monreal, Jenkinson, Vermaelen: [N/A]

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[title]Becoming Big Boys[/title]

Arsenal were facing some criticism before tonight match. Their two biggest games, against Chelsea and Dortmund, had resulted in two losses. It was hard for pundits to class us as title contenders until we changed that. And tonight, we did just that. We became big boys.

Liverpool possessed one of the best strike-forces in the league tonight, yet are defences held,whilst our midfielders weaved their magic further up the pitch. Some of our key players looked tired, whilst players like Wilshere, Walcott, Flamini and Podolski weren’t even in the squad. Not bad at all.

These three points have done wonders for our league position, and will hopefully do wonders for our confidence, as we travel to both Dortmund and Manchester in the space of just a few days, very soon. Bring it on.

What do you think of the Arsenal vs Liverpool match? Share your views in the comments section below!

Image: Arsenal

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