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20/21 First Team General Match Reports Premier League

Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool: Premier League – 05/04/2021

Arsenal’s record against Liverpool after Mikel Arteta’s appointment have been remarkably enviable. Though the team failed to win at Anfield earlier in the season, the form of the erstwhile champions would have likely given Mikel Arteta and his side renewed vigour for Saturday’s match.

The absences of David Luiz, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were unlikely to aid Arsenal though, especially as this required some rather more fringe players to step into the breach.

The first half of the match pretty much dictated the way the game went throughout. Arsenal were utterly woeful in pretty much all areas of the pitch. But for a brief three minute spell when they seemed to display some encouraging attacking football, the rest of the match was played totally at Liverpool’s ease.

Though Liverpool didn’t score in the first-half, it was more of an insult to the visitors than a compliment to the hosts. Arsenal’s press was practically non-existent and the desire to win the ball back wasn’t even present.

Thomas Partey battles with James Milner.

To add insult to injury (literally), Kieran Tierney hobbled off at the close of the first-half with a suspected muscle injury, meaning that Cédric Soares was asked to fill in at left-back.

The second-half picked up where the first left off, with Arsenal only marginally better than they had been in the first-half. The visitors kept plugging and plugging and soon enough they found their opening as Diogo Jota leaped highest out of himself, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding to head home the game’s opener.

Liverpool did not stop there as they continued to put Arsenal to the sword and soon enough the mesmeric Mohamed Salah squeezed in Liverpool’s second at the near-post, with Diogo Jota once again adding to the misery with the team’s third soon after.

It would be fair to say that it was possibly the worst performance Arsenal have given under Mikel Arteta and possibly the worst of the past three years, including the Europa League final in Baku.

While Arteta may have soothed some troubled waters with his post-match apology to the fans, it seems as though Arsenal are staring down the barrel of no European football at all next season.

The team seemed totally at odds with what Arteta wanted and what he had planned. Dani Ceballos was the main culprit in midfield and barring a remarkably small, single-figure price-tag in the summer, it’s tough to see Arsenal keeping the Spaniard given his recent performances.

Diogo Jota out jumps both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding to score the game’s opener.

While players like David Luiz and Granit Xhaka have long been the players that Arsenal fans love to hate, both players’ absences were felt throughout the team. While it likely would not have made too much of a difference to the overall result, David Luiz would likely have handled Jota’s opener better than Holding and Chambers and Xhaka would surely have performed better than Ceballos, who looked totally lost in midfield.

The absences of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were both felt and worrying. A teamthat is relying on two players barely a year out of the Hale End Academy, while boasting one of the most expensive forward lines in Europe is worrying. Though the absences should not be seen as excuses for Arsenal’s abysmal performance, it should at least give fans a perspective of the mountain there is still to climb.

Arsenal’s next match is a Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague and if their performance on Saturday is anything to go by, then the Gunners will have their work cut out for them. They will need to improve if they want to progress and given that a potential semi-final against former coach and Europa League specialist Unai Emery awaits them if they progress, Arsenal really do not look confident of securing another European spot.

Arsenal team: 
  1.) Bernd Leno
21.) Calum Chambers
16.) Rob Holding
  6.) Gabriel Magalhães
  3.) Kieran Tierney (Cédric Soares 46’)
18.) Thomas Partey
  8.) Dani Ceballos (Elneny 58’)
19.) Nicolas Pépé
11.) Martin Ødegaard
14.) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c) (Martinelli 77’)
  9.) Alexandre Lacazette

Arsenal subs:
33.) Maty Ryan
22.) Pablo Marí
  2.) Héctor Bellerín
17.) Cédric Soares
25.) Mohamed Elneny
12.) Willian
24.) Reiss Nelson
35.) Gabriel Martinelli
30.) Eddie Nketiah

Liverpool team:
  1.) Alisson 
66.) Trent Alexander-Arnold
47.) Nathaniel Phillips
19.) Ozan Kabak (Williams 84’)
36.) Andy Robertson (Jota 61’)
  3.) Fabinho
  6.) Thiago Alcântara
  7.) James Milner (c)
11.) Mohamed Salah
  9.) Roberto Firmino (Wijnaldum 78’)
10.) Sadio Mané

Liverpool subs:
13.) Adrián
46.) Rhys Williams
21.) Konstantinos Tsimikas
17.) Curtis Jones
  5.) Georginio Wijnaldum
15.) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  8.) Naby Keïta
23.) Xherdan Shaqiri
20.) Diogo Jota

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