By Ayyaz Malik
Liverpool produced a brilliant away performance against Arsenal – but sadly it wasn’t enough to beat a Gunners side that were largely indebted to their goal keeper Petr Cech for escaping this game with a point after the match finished 0-0. I know what you might be thinking – but this was no boring 0-0 draw, far from it.
The 33 year old Cech who came in for severe criticism after a disappointing debut against West Ham, was back to his best here.
The former Chelsea stopper was in inspired form – and maybe as the season progresses he has earned his side a valuable point tonight. Unfortunately for Cech he was exposed far too often in this game as the centre back pairing for the night Gabriel and Callum Chambers who were deputising for Lauren Koscielny and Per Metersacker, couldn’t live with Liverpool’s forward players.
Christian Benteke who was brought in for £32.5 million over the summer was impressive. The Belgian was brilliant all night with his fantastic hold up play which brought players like Coutinho and Firminho into the game. In fact Coutinho had a great chance to open the scoring in fourth minute – but sadly for the Brazilian the woodwork would deny him.
In what was a very one sided first half Liverpool had further chances through Coutinho and Benteke who was excellently denied by a diving Petr Cech. If that save was good the best was still yet to come from the veteran stopper. Coutinho who was denied by the wood work was to be denied again, this time brilliantly by Petr Cech’s finger tips and the wood work.
It was a surprise how the scores were level at half time, such was Liverpool’s dominance. Having said that though however Arsenal would feel aggrieved they didn’t secure a win against a potential top four rival. The Gunners who were poor in the first half had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. If that goal was to have stood it would have been harsh on Liverpool who were brillaint on the night .
Much has been made about Liverpool this year and how they are playing with a bit more of a negative mentality. The critics could point to the narrow wins over Stoke and Bournemouth respectively. This game was different, in fact Liverpool became the first side to have 11 shots on Arsenal’s goal in the first half.
After being so poor Arsenal needed a lift. The home side in fact came out for the second half earlier than Liverpool. What ever Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said at half time seemed to work. The dominance in the first half that Liverpool had, had now had gone.
Arsenal were on the attack in the second half – and the Liverpool defence of Lovren and Skrtel who was excellent, was finally being asked questions of. The home side were starting to get in behind Liverpool and this was causing some problems.
Alexis Sanchez who was brilliantly shackled by Nathaniel Clyne on the night had a great chance to steal all three points for his side – but just like Coutinho the Chilean could only hit the post. Another great chance fell to Arsenal, this time the chance fell to Olivier Giroud.
Giroud who excelled last year by scoring 20 goals last year has been a bit off the pace this year. The French striker thought he had scored – but out of no where Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet pulled out a hand to save the ball and pull of an unbelievable save to keep the scores level.
Honours even then in this one then . Was it a point lost or a point gained for Arsenal? Well it’s to hard to say at this point – but Liverpool might feel the slightly more disappointed here due to the fact that they hit the wood work twice. This draw also saw their 100% unbeaten start come to an end, Manchester City are now the only side to have won their opening three games this year.
Although tonights game finished 0-0 it was a great advert for the Barclays Premier League. More of the same next week please fellas!