Today, we saw yet another weakened Arsenal side, but a side which looked like it might manage to get all three points right up until the 70th minute. With an understrength defence which handed a full debut to youngster Carl Jenkinson and played Bacary Sagna at left back, and a midfield containing only one player with any real experience and another player making his full debut - Emmanuel Frimpong - few expected the Gunners to mount much of a challenge. For Arsenal supporters the subject of defeat and what would come next was being discussed before the game had even kicked off. Transfers too, were again a topic of conversation especially about Samir Nasri, a man about to start a match which many think will be his last in an Arsenal shirt.
Despite their much hyped problems, Arsenal began well, playing the ball around better than they have for a long time, they looked more assured than recently, their passing was slicker and they grew in confidence as the game went on. Emmanuel Frimpong slotted in nicely, he looked as good as suspended Alex Song, but was naive, not yet experienced enough to know what he can get away with and what he can't. This naivety resulted in two silly bookings, reducing Arsenal to 10 men, and (in my opinion) costing Arsenal the game. An injury to Laurent Koscielny early on resulted another youngster, Ignasi Miquel, being introduced into the Arsenal defence. Liverpool were wise to his inexperience, and striker Andy Carroll immediately started to play on him, putting him under pressure, but on his league debut Miquel coped fantastically, looking solid throughout, impressive enough, I think, to call into question Arsenal's need for another centre back. Samir Nasri too, showed why Arsenal are so desperate to keep hold of him, putting in a very good performance in midfield, the best he's played for a while too. A man who looked under pressure before kick off, squatting - seemingly praying - in the centre circle, something I've never seen the Frenchman do before. Despite this his performance was more than one would expect from a player who apparently wants out, creating his fair share of chances, nearly back to his tricky, lively best.
Minutes later, Suarez compounded Arsenal's misery. Arsenal had been throwing everything forward in search of an elusive equaliser - even throwing Nicklas Bendtner on, in what could be his final Arsenal appearance - leaving themselves stretched at the back. Carl Jenkinson now struggling with what appeared to be cramp making things even more difficult. Liverpool capitalised, breaking down the Arsenal left with Miereles (the only player to step on the pitch with a worse haircut than Frimpong) arriving in the box, and cutting back to an unmarked Luis Suarez, who made no mistake, sweeping the ball home, sending the away fans into raptures, the Arsenal fans to the exits.
Liverpool sit second, Arsenal 15th. Arsenal failed to score in their opening two league games for the first time in 42 years. With a squad which looks paper thin in August, Wenger is under ever increasing pressure to strengthen - even if only to add depth.
The Good: Frimpong, Jenkinson & Miquel. All looked comfortable and composed on their (full) Premiership debuts.
The Bad: Naivety. The younger players don't yet know what they can and can't get away with - both in terms of discipline and positioning.
The Ugly: Frimpong. Haircut aside, getting a red card on your full debut isn't ideal, and leaves Arsenal with problems ahead of next week's visit to Old Trafford. I expect Henri Lansbury to be the 3rd player to try the holding role in three Premiership games.
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