Arsenal opened their Premier League season at home today with a loss to Liverpool, in what was always going to be a challenging first match. A first half goal from Theo Walcott quickly smothered under a blanket of Liverpool goals, a late first half wonder free kick from Coutinho sparking what would be a second half of horror for the Gunners.
Arsenal looked in control for much of the first half, and complaints about the selection of Francis Coquelin ahead of Big Summer Signing Granit Xhaka looked to be quixotic. Arsenal’s possession resulted in a penalty, Theo Walcott besting Alberto Moreno, only to miss from the spot.
He atoned quickly, though. Alex Iwobi fed him up the right channel, and the Englishman dispatched his effort at the far post cleanly. 1-0 to the Gunners, and things looked to be sailing smoothly towards halftime, but newcomer and teen Rob Holding committed a soft foul 20 yards from goal, and Philippe Coutinho stepped up to curl a superb free kick home to draw level.
The start of the 2nd half saw Liverpool much more in control of themselves, and within four minutes, they’d pulled ahead. Coquelin failed to track runners from midfield, and Adam Lallana stroked home past Petr Cech. Arsenal were crumbling, and five minutes later, Coutinho poked home his second from a Sadio Mane cross. Arsenal’s wide players were leaving fullbacks exposed, and Mane took advantage again for Liverpool’s fourth, cutting inside and scoring well at Cech’s far post.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on and almost immediately pulled one back for Arsenal, and finally Xhaka made his appearance. Arsenal sort of regained composure, and ten minutes later got their third from a Santi Cazorla free kick which Calum Chambers deftly flicked home with his haircut.
In the midst of all this, Aaron Ramsey pulled up with a thigh injury, possibly a hamstring, which is perhaps the biggest worry resulting from the day.
Arsenal worked for an equalizer well into the five minutes of injury time, but the last action saw Cazorla hit Nacho Monreal in the rear end with a cross. A fitting microcosm of the match. Arsenal will surely look forward to the return of Laurent Koscielny; whether Coquelin rides the pine anytime soon will have to be seen.