It's a funny thing about these two high-profile stalwarts of the English Premier League. You see, the overwhelming majority of teams in the EPL, and clearly every side in the Championship and all the lower divisions, would give anything that was giveable in exchange for the world-class talent and worldwide cache that these two clubs possess. In all the leagues in all the world, there are perhaps a half dozen football clubs who wouldn't swaps every last brick and ballplayer with either the Gunners or the Merseysiders.
The problem for these two clubs is that they are not measured against the wide swath of teams that would trade lock, stock and barrel with them in a heartbeat. They are measured against the handful of clubs with expectations of domestic triumph and designs on European glory.
And, at least lately, both these clubs don't come off particularly well in comparisons against those clubs.
Having just sold Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and seemingly on the verge of shipping Samir Nasri to Manchester City, Arsenal are being lambasted as little more than a farm team for the big spenders around the world. To make matters worse for Arsenal, they are even going to be missing some of the key players that they didn't sell off through injury and suspension.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are often mocked as being among the most inept of the big spenders. Although there are hopes that the acquisition of dynamic Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will eventually be looked back upon as the first of many wise personnel moves.
Chicken Little is watching this one attentively and will certainly be proclaiming that "the sky is falling" for whomever loses this match.
|@ afootballreport : Anyway, now watching Bayern vs. Hamburg. The quality here is miles better than Arsenal v. Liverpool (until Suarez came into the match).|
For me, and seemingly for most of the Twitterverse, this match changed when Suarez and Meireles were introduced. Obviously, it can't be overlooked that their introduction coincided with the dismissal of Frimpong, but these two changed the tone and texture of the Liverpool attack. For all his power and drive, Carroll is not an overly creative player and seemed to sap the creativity of his teammates as they force fed balls to him in a central positions. On many Saturday afternoons that will probably suffice, but Vermaelen defended him excellently today and Szczesny saved his best effort.
Elsewhere, Enrique looked terrific today. He was confident and dangerous in attack and did a splendid job on Walcott on defense. His was a stellar effort among any solid ones.
|@ OliverKayTimes : Great result for #LFC, winning 2-0 at Arsenal. Underlines Arsenal's problems. Backing Wenger will sort things out, but maybe not this week|
|@ travismclark : I can easily see no Champions League for Arsenal next week and the end of the year.|
This was a debacle for Arsenal as an offside Suarez forces this own goal.
As I wrote in the introduction, the postgame furor here was always going to be about the the losing side. And, certainly, the sky (and the rain) is falling in North London at the Emirates. Since the season began, Arsenal have taken just one point out of six and sold their captain. They've endured several key injuries and had players sent off in both matches. Their longtime manager is under fire and another key player is poised to leave as well. Does that sum it up?
Oh, and that next-big-thing, Juan Mata, who they were going to sign is now going to Chelsea. Ok, that should cover it.
Losing Koscielny early in this one sapped whatever confidence the team had to start the match. It was a tough, unlucky blow that back spasms sent him to the dressing room. Whatever positive vibes the team had from the surprise inclusion of Nasri seemed to dissipate.
But Vermaelen played inspired at the back and the teams went into intermission level and scoreless. Whatever words Wenger chose at the break seemed to infuse the side with some swagger, and they looked more enterprising when they returned. They looked that way right up until Frimpong received his second yellow card and was sent off. Both caution-drawing infractions were unnecessary and halted an otherwise promising performance.
Down to 10 men, the Gunners then had to deal with the entrance of Suarez and Meireles into the match. Not coincidentally, the first Liverpool goal followed shortly. To make matters worse it was own goal that was described on Twitter (see below) as being particularly "Arsenally."
And, it was, terribly so. Miquel kicked a ball away from goal but it was blocked backward into the net off Ramsey's chest. This bumbling own goal surely was the worst way to concede the match, as it brought back the haunting memories of the many ghastly losses and slapstick miscues that likely created the desire to flee in so many of the club's young talents.
By the time that Saurez tapped in the second goal, the air had gone from the 10 players on the field through mental and physical exhaustion. There is blood in the water at the Emirates. And, to make matters worse, there are sharks on the schedule as Udinese and Manchester United loom.
It's official. Liverpool has won at Arsenal for the first time in a long time and look strong in the early goings of the season.
|@ GrantWahl : Meireles saying we're No. 1 with the middle digit. Who was that directed at?|
Injury time is on. But the game is over.
And the man wearing the captain's band spends the key moments of the lay on the ground after Carrigher drops him. He is in no rush at all to get his feet back under him as the ball is turned out.
In a clinical stretch of passing and calm, collected play from Lucas, Meireles and Suarez ends with a ball passed into the net from close range. Done and dusted.
Certainly looking hotheaded, he points a finger in the face of the referee after being whistled for a foul that he believes wasn't.
|@ OptaJoe : 8 - Since the start of 2010/11, Arsenal have picked up more red cards than any other side in the Premier League. Hotheaded.|
But no one is home in the center. They seem unafraid of Arsenal and content to win 1-0.
Is how ESPN's color commentator describes the Gunners' chances as he says that this game may only reinforce Nasri's desire to leave.
The young defender looks to be cramping up. But there are no subs remaining for Arsenal. There is still time for this to become a rout...
Bendtner is on. Walcott is off. Liverpool leads. And Vermaelen is still doing all he can.
|@ edsbs : Meireles listens to new 311 albums. I am certain of this.|
After a pass directed at an offside Suarez, the ball is knocked by Miquel off the chest of an onrushing Ramsey and bounds over the head over Szczesny into the net. Hard by the Gunners but Liverpool are elated. They lead, 1-0.
Vermaelen gets on a ball and comes dribbling up the field and fires wide of goal. Get on his back, boys.
After doing incredibly well against the strong and powerful Carroll, he's now faced with the smaller, wilier Suarez.
With Suarez on and a man advantage, they are flush with confidence. Enrique is given space and nearly sends in Suarez for the first goal of the match.
|@ henrywinter : Frimpong off, huge promise, lot too learn. too hot-headed. Bad challenge on Lucas. Off to standing ovation tho|
Meireles also on for the visitors. Henry Lansbury on for Arshavin. At 20, he's another young gunner.