Arsenal keep the top spot after beating Liverpool 2-0 in the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners opened the score via Santi Cazorla's smart finishing after a great team play. Arteta picked Sagna's run down the right, and the Frenchmen sent a beautiful cross to Cazorla who headed the ball to the post, but reacted quickly to rebound the ball, smashed the ball past Mignolet. Liverpool could've equalized had the referee not stopped the play when Sagna fouled Suarez. Arsenal sealed the game when Aaron Ramsey scored a fabulous volley kick, after receiving a nice pass from Mesut Ozil. Liverpool pushed hard to find a goal, and Arsenal were nervous on the later stage of the game. However, Liverpool failed to capitalize Arsenal's few mistake at the back, and Arsenal hang to the result and grabbed an important, deserved 3 points. This result, coupled with Chelsea's unexpected defeat at Newcastle, leaving Arsenal 5 points clear from the second place, unless Tottenham grabs a win later on.
There are few interesting points we can learn from Arsenal - Liverpool game.
1. This team is able to bounce back.
Arsenal were heavily criticized after losing against Dortmund and Chelsea at home. They were saying it is the old same Arsenal, where once they lost a game they will lost the following game. It is never easy to win a game after you lost, especially against your rival. However, Arsenal played well today against Liverpool and showed their quality. Well, it is a bit early to talk about title in these times, while next few games will be tough, but if Arsenal can overcome it, they can prove that they are title challenger.
2. Arteta is as important as Giroud.
Arteta played a very important role today as he kept the ball flowing from the back to the front, and he become the-always-available-to-pass option, as well as taking Liverpool's clearance and kept Arsenal playing the ball. This is one of the reason why Arsenal dominated the game on the first half. Arsenal lost to Chelsea because no one played Arteta role. Ramsey was put there but he was simply not a player to fill this role. He is a box-to-box midfield, and should not be wasted to play in Arteta/Flamini role.
Another thing is the importance of Giroud. Yes, he might be guilty for wasting that chances after he robbed the ball from Kolo Toure, but only chipped it to the post. However, it's not his finishing which is his prime quality, it is his ability to hold up the ball, and link up with the midfield. He plays important role in Wenger's strategy now. A long ball will directed to Giroud and he will be the one challenging for aerial battle. This is complemented with his neat first touch, leaving Giroud as a good supporting central forward instead of being a killer central forward. It would be good, though, if Giroud can sharpen his finishing.
3. Bigger teams can punish Arsenal.
Clean sheet. Looks good? Yes it is, but the fact that Liverpool could easily scored three goals against us, might be worrying. Liverpool even have one goal incorrectly disallowed. Sagna lost possession and Suarez dashed to Arsenal's area before he was brought down by Sagna. The referee might have continued the game, giving Liverpool a huge advantage as it was 3v2 in Liverpool's favor. Lucky, the referee booked Sagna and stopped the play.
This worry might sound so pessimistic because we just won the game, but a bigger, more clinical team, will punish us if we don't minimize the mistake at defending. Szczesny almost gave the ball cheaply to Sturridge but the ball bounced back. The moment later, the defence fell asleep, leaving Suarez a great chance to score one. Fortunately, his luck was not on his side today, as he struck the ball wide. The game against Dortmund two weeks ago showed how Arsenal beaten by a more clinical team. One lack of concentration during counter attack and your team is punished. One lost possession and your team is punished. With all respect to Liverpool, they were not clinical today and Arsenal were able to kept a clean sheet. Had they been more clinical, two goals could've ended in Szczesny's goal.
Well, to end, it's a big week ahead for Arsenal, and hopefully we can go through this one! COYG! VCC!