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Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool: match report

After a dumpster-fire first hour, Arsenal pulled it together for ten minutes and scored twice, but failed to make the rest of their chances count.

that basically sums it up
that basically sums it up
Laurence Griffiths

0-1 Luis Suarez 5'
0-2 Jordan Henderson 60'
1-2 Olivier Giroud 64'
2-2 Theo Walcott 67'

I just got back from Dallas a few days ago, after spending about two weeks visiting my girlfriend. She just moved in so her amenities are limited - no cable or internet yet, so I was mostly marooned without any Hot Sports Takes for the majority of the time. I thought at first that it would be torture - I didn't get to see a bunch of games, and I had no idea what was going on in the sports world, and I'm not used to either - but after about a day I found myself way happier. The stupidity, pettiness, and negativity that surrounds so much of what happens with this team was gone for several days on end, and honestly just not being immersed in it was a huge life improvement.

I was hoping that after that vacation, when I got back Arsenal would have a good game and shut some people up, get the three points, and we could just go from there. If Arsenal had played the whole game like they played the last half hour or so, or if they'd found a third goal, that might have been the case. Instead they came close but failed to convert several late chances, and Arsenal had to settle for a single point. With Chelsea and Spurs also drawing (both against inferior competition, at least in theory, to Liverpool) not a lot changes.

The first hour wasn't a lot of fun. Play was disjointed on both sides, but only Liverpool were able to make anything out of it. Five minutes in Bacary Sagna fell over trying to cover a poor pass from Luis Suarez to Glen Johnson, allowing Johnson to pick up the ball anyway. Johnson played a mediocre cross that Thomas Vermaelen should have had covered, but unfortunately he instead kicked at the ball, missed, and (also) fell over. The ball fell to Daniel Sturridge and Wojciech Szczesny somehow saved his shot, but the rebound fell to Suarez and he scored easily. The defending was awful, and if I think about it anymore I'm going to pass out.

A few chances went both ways, but the other Big Thing of the first half was Kieran Gibbs' injury. He had to be taken off in the 37th minute with a thigh issue, and early reports are that he'll miss the next three weeks. This is bad news, mostly because Andre Santos isn't all that good and he makes me afraid a lot, though it's not like he was any worse than anyone else in the defense for the rest of this game. The chances of him returning early are slim as ever, but that's what I'm going to hope for.

The second half started out much the same as the first - shaky, not a lot of fluidity, and more than a few mistakes. At the hour mark Liverpool extended their lead after another series of defensive mistakes. Jordan Henderson basically rode Santos and Per Mertesacker for about twenty yards, and though Aaron Ramsey tried to slide in to save the goal, the ball came off him back to Henderson and Sagna's similar attempts failed as well.

On the positive side, it seems that the second goal woke Arsenal up or something, because they were significantly better immediately after Henderson scored. And in less than ten minutes, they were level. First Olivier Giroud put one in, on a header from a brilliant free kick by Jack Wilshere at the 64th minute. Then not three minutes later a bit of good play on the right side between Santi Cazorla, Giroud, and Theo Walcott ended with Walcott lashing in a powerful shot from the right side of the box. It was all very sudden, and saved the game.

There were several other chances for both sides, but Liverpool's defense was somehow able to keep from breaking - partially because Walcott, Cazorla, and Giroud all missed on close chances and honestly, one of the three should probably have scored. I have a hard time blaming them too much because they were all three instrumental in the two goals that were scored, but on the other hand, winning is fun.

All in all this wasn't really a bad performance, but it wasn't really a good one either. It wasn't really a bad result, but it wasn't a good one either. But, you know, what I wouldn't give for a third goal.