5 areas for Arsenal to improve for Liverpool clash

5 relatively specific improvements I would like to see Arsenal make from the Crystal Palace victory before we host Liverpool on Monday, who have won both their games 1-0.

  1. Communication between Cech and the back-four.
    Too many times during the win at Palace the goalkeeper and his defenders did not look on the same wavelength. Instances I can recall are with Monreal when neither he nor the keeper went for a cross during the nail-biting end to the game, a time where Cech was also unhappy with his lack of protection in the box from corners. Perhaps more with the ref than any teammates, but they could have helped to move players pressuring him and blocking him in. It also looked like some back passes took him by surprise. The goal obviously could have been avoided at several points, culminating with Koscielny turning his back. Obviously it will take time for Cech to adjust from Chelsea’s ways to ours.
  2. Pace on the wings and tracking back.
    Liverpool have a lot of pace in attack if they wish, and this could make them dangerous on the counter-attack. We dealt with this relatively well at Palace but Liverpool have pace in their full-backs of Clyne and Gomez, and I don’t think Ramsey or Cazorla on the wings as we have seen so far will be enough to get up and down the pitch with them so I would expect to see Chamberlain/Walcott play on the opposing wing to Sanchez.
  3. Finishing.
    We could have and should have killed the game off, but of course we had to do it the hard way and just hold on for the win. Sanchez was a bit sloppy in front of goal, but we know what he’s capable of and will put it down to lack of match fitness/sharpness.
    However, 18 attempts and only 7 on target says it all. Half of those where frustratingly straight at the keeper as well (from Ramsey and Chamberlain in particular).
  4. Breaking quicker.
    I feel we could have taken advantage of breaks and counter attacks more. We did it a few times but not as many as they gave us the opportunity to do. We struggled at picking out the player making a run off their back line – Ozil did this a few times v Palace  but was never found. Hopefully we can also put this down to early season form and a lack of sharpness from some players.Towards the end when they were throwing everything forward, we could have taken advantage of this better and put the game beyond their reach.
  5. Keeping the ball when under pressure/holding on for a win.
    Or alternatively we could have done this better at the end of the game. Rather than neither, and just returning the ball to them. I was always taught that they can’t score if you have the ball. We pride ourselves on a possession based game, but too often when the other team are looking to get back into a game we allow them far too much of the ball and invite too much pressure onto ourselves. Although we have improved defensively in this respect, it is always an unnecessarily stressful and worrying time.

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

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Our first win of the season, and a great manner to get it. Undeafeted at Anfield in the Premier League for 6 seasons now. We got out the blocks well, and dominated a lot of the early stages of the game. Liverpool didn’t pose too much of a threat except for a few aerial balls (but no Carroll?) and one chance which fell to their 17 year old, Sterling. They also gave a couple of shouts for a penalty, but nether were given. And rightly so! That cheating bastard, Suarez. Does anyone actually remotely like him? I can’t stand him.

A few half chances came our way but nothing solid, Vermaelen made a couple of good runs, but didn’t produce anything at the end of them. Speaking of which he then intercepted a sloppy pass from a sloppy Gerrard, who played poorly all day. Straight to Podolski, who was waiting just inside our halfway line, passed it on to a sharp Cazorla who played very well yet again, before running forward towards the Liverpool CB’s with Giroud to his right and a charging Podolsk to his left. Slotting it through to Podolski who took it equisitely. No one could have taken it better, NO ONE.

Possession was dominated further in the second half, but Liverpool looked to carry more threat. All was dealt with reasonably comfortably with Mannone called upon a couple of times, although mostly from long range shots which he dealt with well. We then added a second, when Cazorla linked up with Podolski again, although this time in reverse roles. Reina should have kept it out, but I’m not complaining.

Special mention for Diaby who had a great game, ran the midfield, box to box, just like Patrick used to. Hopefully he can keep this and we’ll see more great performances. Consistency is key to keeping your place in the midfield. All the midfielders have points to prove with Jack and Tomas coming back. I also thought Vermaelen had a great game again, definitely showing the passion of a Captain. Body on the line, reminiscent of a good Vidic/Terry, but of course, he’s always been this way. Gerrard was an a*** for sending him flying off the grass though with that dodgy tackle. Bad and bitter loser!

Up to 7th place now, although we could slip behind Man United or Newcastle, dependent on their results. Fingers-crossed.
The confidence that should do for them though, a win finally, at Anfield, 2 goals and ANOTHER clean sheet. The only team not to concede in the league this season. The first time in 88 years we’ve done it too. Take a bow Steve Bould, and of course the players themselves. Top Job. I hope their confidence stays SKY HIGH.

Liverpool v Arsenal Preview.

This game will be Arsenal’s first real test defensively, after Stoke and Sunderland focused mainly upon their defensive duties. Having said that, the introduction of Steve Bould as Arsene’s assisstant and the fact that the first two competitive games with Steve involved resulted in two clean sheets, without conceding even a corner let alone a goal, must speak volumes. Also quite notably we are yet to receive a single card, as the last couple of seasons we have been one of the teams with most cards received. Wenger himself has admitted that it’s been an area that has been worked on, and this comes at a great relief to a lot of us Arsenal fans. But has it compromised the goalscoring finese we have always possessed under Wenger?

A man who prides himself on the technical side of the game, a style of play so beautiful it attracts attention from all over the world and has led to many ‘neutrals’ enjoying watching Arsenal. Would these people enjoy watching Tottenham? No. Because Tottenham don’t have the same technical ability or know-how and are generally worse off than ourselves in every area of the pitch. But this season has seen multiple chances scuffed high or wide, and final balls well out of place if even attempted. Something we’re not too familar with. More than 3/4 of the shots against Stoke were outside the box. I can’t recall a time in recent history that has ever been the case. Usually we be-moan that we try to play our way into the goal, it’s often a critiscm of the way we play. I’m all for taking shots from range, but there’s a line where it becomes sheer desperation. And we crossed that line.

Hopefully today we’ll prodcue a better performance in the final third, and hold on to our status of being the only team in the league to have not conceded. The signings have got the perfect opportunity to become fan favourites here, in fact it’s a chance for everyone to step and take the lead. There’s pressure on the team undoubtedly, but the majority of fans, myself included are well behind the team still. Liverpool aren’t exactly short of pressure themselves down there in 17th and not going anywhere up if we beat them, that’s for sure. Perhaps we can return the favour they gave to us last year at the Emirates early on?

It’s a bit of a make or break game, if we win, a lot of faith will be put back in Wenger and Arsenal if removed. But if we lose, there will be huge question marks, and a lot of Monday morning newspaper attention.

SkyBet Odds place Liverpool as favourites at 20/21. Draw 12/5. Arsenal 14/5.
Pretty good odds on Arsenal I’d say?Image