Arsenal still remain eight points behind Liverpool as the Gunners drew 1-1 with Liverpool, Emmanuel Adebayor’s red card arguably the turning point. You can see the highlights here.
Pressure and High Line
Robbie Keane started for Liverpool as Rafa Benitez looked to play the pressure game with the front man the focal point in looking to squeeze the space. However Arsenal were the more intense and in turn pressured more effectively. For thirty minutes Liverpool couldn’t really settle.
The long ball tactic seem to happen by chance as the Gunners organisation also denied the space for the Reds to pass the ball to feet. Robbie Keane played on the shoulders of the Arsenal defence and identified an opportunity to exploit. The Gunners playing so high because of pushing back Liverpool with pressure and the passing game also producing the same.
With his great movement it was a matter of time till he took advantage of the high line played by Arsenal. In fact his two best opportunities to beat the offside trap, the first passing back to Gerrard was when Arsenal pushed the Liverpool defence far back and pressured Agger to punt the ball forward. For the goal some may argue that Djourou and Gallas were to apart or they should have been more aware but it was an unexpected ball and the Irishman was coming back from an offside position.
Is this the new Arsenal that has been slowly improving and defensively better organised and balanced. The red card may have helped in shutting the game down as it pushed back the defence but Arsenal where the better team and more threatening with eleven men.
Long balls have added more variety to Arsenal’s game with Van Persie the main benefactor in recent weeks. His movement has been better than Adebayor’s but it was the Togolese man’s contribution that allowed the goal.
The Adebayor sending off changed the game along with the withdrawal of Fabregas through injury. It was a bit harsh but overall for the other decisions Webb had a decent game. Adebayor came in with his studs to shield the ball but the rules and the naked eye deem it as dangerous. It is an area where referees must understand better from a footballing point of view.
Man Of The Match: Robin Van Persie because had a good first half and was tireless in the second without real support. Xabi Alonso was Liverpool’s best player but couldn’t really inspire much.
Goal of the match: Ronnie Keane’s half volley just about beats Van Persie’s opener because of the difficulty of executing it. Great concentration to watch it bounce and he timed the finish to perfection.
Save of the match: Manuel Almunia did well to deny Dirk Kuyt by blocking instinctively with his feet.