After losing their opening two games, Arsenal have looked extremely dangerous in all departments as they extended their unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions after drawing 1-1 against Liverpool on Saturday evening in Premier League fixture.
The Unai Era has well and truly begun and the footballing world have finally started to believe that Arsenal are on course for something special. It was the first real big test for the Gunners after they lost to Chelsea in gameweek two, as they hosted an unbeaten Liverpool side on Saturday.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 3, 2018
All eyes watching the game would agree that it was a fair result and both teams deserved something from the game.
Fullbacks Kolasinac and Bellerin returned from injuries for Arsenal with Emery going with an offensive side picking Aubameyang, Lacazette and Ozil for the clash. Mkhitaryan was given the nod ahead of Alex Iwobi. Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka operated in front of the back four for Arsenal.
Bellerin and Kolasinac contained the threat of Mane and Salah for majority of the game denying them pockets to run into, and with Mustafi and Holding, the defense was looking solid for the Gunners.
James Milner opened the scoring with a neat finish after Leno had parried away a cross from Mane, but Alexandre Lacazette rounded the Liverpool keeper as he latched onto Iwobi’s pass and curled in a delightful shot to level it for the North Londoners.
We analyse three major talking points from the Arsenal vs Liverpool clash:
1. Arsenal have finally found their midfield partnership:
Arsenal have found themselves a really good partnership in midfield in Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan recently said that his partnership with Xhaka is good and something that can only get better with time and he is very correct about it.
Granit Xhaka & Lucas Torreira were outstanding vs. Liverpool – a combined 25 ball recoveries
Liverpool could only penetrate Arsenal's area by going wide down the flanks
The first time in a while you can confidently say Arsenal have a midfield capable of controlling big games pic.twitter.com/UBc5c9M25H
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) November 4, 2018
Torreira dropped deep shielding the back four, pressing Liverpool’s midfield and always looking to spring attacks with his slick passing giving Arsenal a solid base to launch their attacks and was awarded with man of the match trophy. This gives Xhaka a free license to roam around and pick key passes in the opposition half, and we all know what Xhaka is capable of when awarded time and space in the middle. The duo were very impressive and Emery would be happy to have finally found the solution.
2. Bernd Leno should still be Arsenal’s first choice:
Bernd Leno has finally got a decent run of games under his belt, and has looked good since then. It can be argued that yesterday was not his best night, but he has shown tremendous potential between the sticks. He produced two good saves, with both coming from Van Dijk.
But the main advantage is that he was very comfortable and composed playing out from the back yesterday against a big team, which is Emery’s main tactic. Leno deserves his place and should continue as Arsenal’s number one at moment.
3. Lethal Lacazette on target again:
Alexandre Lacazette started up top for the home side and looked sharp against Liverpool. He was constantly involved in the link ups and had a couple of shots in the first half, with one flick coming in the opening minutes saved by Allison.
It looks like Lacazette, Ozil and Aubameyang have formed a formidable trio as they were involved in neat one touch passing which released Aubameyang only for his shot getting deflected for a corner. But the major moment for the Arsenal number nine came when he latched onto Iwobi’s through ball and finished delightfully to ensure Arsenal’s unbeaten run did not come to a halt.
It can be said that Arsenal’s attacking department is one to look forward to as their key men are combining delicately as they have scored 25 league goals this season, only two behind Manchester City at top on 27.
This shows the improvement under Emery and now with Arsenal almost sorting all their departments, they should be able to mount a title challenge this season, which is not too much to ask for seeing their agility and desire in the past 15 games.
The platform was set for the home side and they did not disappoint. They are gaining momentum with each passing game, and that big game fear was not seen in this energized Arsenal side.
Arsenal host Sporting on Thursday evening in the Europa league fixture and Wolves on Sunday in the Premier League fixture before going into the November International break. But for now, there is positivity and all is more than well at North London.