What did we learn from Arsenal’s 4-0 mauling at Anfield?




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There has been a substantial frenzy among Arsenal’s supporters when the team went to Anfield after the international break. Bookmakers on liontips.ng even fancied Arsenal’s chances of winning.

On liontips.com, the odds for both teams to score were beautiful. And really, Arsenal had some scores to settle against Liverpool.

In their last 15 games against Liverpool, Arsenal had only come on top once. In recent years, Klopp’s Liverpool has been a notorious punisher of Arsenal teams – right from Unai Emery down to Mikel Arteta. 

Arsenal were in a rich vein of form

But then Arsenal fans thought the time for vengeance had finally come. You wouldn’t blame them for such high spirits, either. 

Arsenal had never lost in their last ten games. Mikel Arteta’s men had managed to turn around their woeful start to the season to climb to fifth, within touching distance of Champions League positions. 

More excitingly, Westham just reminded the world about Liverpool’s vulnerability, winning Liverpool in their last match (before the Liverpool-Arsenal match) 3-2.

It finally seemed all the stars had perfectly aligned for Arsenal to get their long-sought pound of flesh from Liverpool.

Arsenal was vibrant at the start

The match started excitingly between both sides. Particularly in the first half, Arsenal’s side, beaming with a blend of youth and confidence, gave Liverpool more than a run for their money.

The otherwise “murderous” likes of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane had far less slaughtering to do as the Arsenal defence largely held them at bay. 

Of course, we shouldn’t forget to mention the heroics of Arsenal’s goalie, Aaron Ramsdale, in the first half. 

It all came crashing…

By the 38th minute, Arsenal’s hopes were still high, with Mikel Arteta further garnishing the emotional tempo of the match with a dramatic bust-up with Jurgen Klopp on the sidelines.

It all came crashing for Arsenal a minute later, with Sadio Mane being inexplicably allowed in at the back of the post to head past Ramsdale into the post. 

A spectacular delivery from Alexander Arnold from the right caught Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhães napping.

What was the Brazilian thinking about? Squid Game?

The second half collapsed into a massacre

For Arsenal fans, it turns out when it rains, it pours. In the second half, we saw a relentless barrage from Liverpool, with three more goals being forced down the throat of Arsenal supporters.

Goals from Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, and Takumi Minamino (who came on as a substitute) gave Arsenal supporters a Sunday to forget.

A million and one things went wrong for Arsenal in the second half. But the primary architect of the catastrophic collapse by Arsenal was the tendency of Arsenal players to give away the ball too cheaply close to their penalty box.

Nuno Tavares was particularly poor

Ferocious waves of Liverpool high presses saw players like Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Takehiro Tomiyasu uncharacteristically give the ball away close to their penalty box. 

You would have to forgive us for using the adjective “uncharacteristic” for Nuno Tavares. The 21-year old was a huge box of errors with major mistakes characteristic of him all evening.

The marauding Liverpool attack couldn’t be more grateful to the “Black Friday discounts” on goals Nuno Tavares was lavishing them with. Yes, he was directly guilty for at least two of the four goals conceded. 

Most notably, in the build-up to the second goal from Diogo Jota, Nuno Tavares benevolently passed straight to Jota, who rounded the full Arsenal backline before scoring. 

What could be behind such benevolence? 

Both Tavares and Jota are Portuguese. Who knows, it could be more of a countryman helping a fellow countryman for the ultimate good of the Fatherland. Haha!

Jokes aside, we abundantly learned from Arsenal’s routing at Anfield that Arsenal have more maturity to learn before playing from the back against the top sides. Building up from the back is beautiful to watch – only when it is working.

When it doesn’t work, as we saw from Arsenal at Anfield, it is arguably the most repugnant football spectacle you can dish out to your fans.