BPL Season 2015/2016: Liverpool 3 - 3 Arsenal
Match review & rants by a Malaysian Gooner
Man, I'm glad I stayed up to catch this match. What an absolute thriller it was and 'tis a pity we didn't manage to hang on to the lead in the final added minutes. Of course, we've missed a huge opportunity to clear away on top of the table but on the bright side, at least we didn't get demolished within the first 20 minutes where we were shockingly all over the place.
We simply couldn't keep up with Liverpool's high tempo and determination at the beginning of the game. Heck, we couldn't even keep possession for more than like three passes. Mesut Ozil was practically invisible in the entirety of the first half but thankfully Joel Campbell stepped up to take on that role, playing the playmaker, surprisingly, and did his defensive duties as well. Mathieu Flamini has been getting a lot of stick from the fans but I liked his spirit and how vocal he was in this game, being like a conductor for our team defence. Unfortunately that didn't stop Liverpool from scoring. In the 10th minute, Firmino scored drew first blood off the rebound which I thought Petr Cech should've parried the shot wider. I thought, oh dear, here we go again but hey, there comes a quick twist — we equalised just minutes later thanks to Campbell's fantastic touch, vision and pass to the always-running Aaron Ramsey.
After Firmino scored the stunning second goal, we equalised again, this time from a corner scored by Olivier Giroud who managed to muscle his way into position and get his leg to the incoming ball. Before this, he actually had an even easier chance to score but he missed time his tap-in attempt from a beautiful set-up play by Campbell who penetrated into the box, kept his composure with the ball and waited for Theo Walcott to make the run outside to receive the pass and cross the ball to the empty far post. The pace of the game slowed down after all that action but maintained its suspense. We had no right to still be in the game after that intense pressure, but we did, and that's another sign of improvement from previous seasons, and sign of potential champions.
Giroud scored again in the second half with a wonderful quick flick, turn and shot to put us in front for the first time. It was a bit lucky as Campbell's attempted pass to Ramsey was deflected right to Giroud's feet in the box. Le boss Arsene Wenger decided to make defensive changes (Gibbs, Arteta and Oxlade-Chamberlain in for Ozil, Campbell and Walcott) but none of them did much to prevent history from prevailing as Liverpool managed to get the injury time equaliser, almost as dramatic as that match years ago where Andrei Arshavin scored all 4 of our goals. Hopefully our new singing from Basel, Mohamed Elneny, could potentially help bring balance to our defence, which could mean bye-bye Flamini and Mikel Arteta for good.
Missed the match?, watch the highlights here:
Posted by Arsenal Videos on Wednesday, 13 January 2016
However, it wasn't that bad to have dropped these two points. It was the first away game since our horrible loss to Southampton back in December last year. Liverpool had key players injured, but so did we. Our players showed that they could weather the storm in others' turf, playmake and score even without the help of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Even though now we may have to win this Sunday against Stoke City away (which almost never happens in the past 8 years), Arsenal have certainly displayed some positives in this game that 2 mid-season points can't buy.
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