I feel like I should write this recap the same way the game played out, but I also don’t think I can write that frantically, and I don’t think “all over the map” is a text format supported by the CMS we use to write TSF stuff, so I guess I’ll just settle for a bunch of bullet points, about a game that was, dare I say it, a lot of fun to watch:
- Mesut Özil did Mesut Özil things
- Lucas Torreira did Lucas Torreira things (generally, winning the ball and being a pest) as well as getting forward a fair bit, which is a bonus from a defensive midfield type person
- Gabriel Martinelli looks like he could score in bunches if he wanted
- Some of the goals for both sides (Willock’s and Ox’s particularly) were fantastic
- Rob Holding did not have a good game, at all
The Carabao Cup doesn’t mean anything, and the team sheets for both sides demonstrated that. Arsenal’s, at least, had a handful of starters-if-not-really-regulars, and one should-be starter, in it, while Liverpool’s leaned very heavily on the kids. Given that, I’m not going to do a lot of projecting about what Arsenal losing this game means, or a lot of dissection of all the defensive (or should I say “defensive”) failings of Arsenal today. This game was all about throwing bodies forward and scoring in bunches, while hoping that Liverpool scored in, um, smaller bunches?
The one off note for me was the substitution of Mesut Özil in the 65th minute. This isn’t a hill I’m willing to even sprain my ankle on, much less die on, but I can see why Emery did that. In a sentence that is both a very weak defense of Emery and a condemnation of him, it’s entirely possible that a) Özil wasn’t 90 minutes fit and b) 65 minutes was the plan all along.
I will say this, and it will probably make a lot of you roll your eyes, but I promise you I mean it as a compliment. This was a very MLS game. The dirty little secret about MLS, for those of you who don’t watch it, is that the quality of it isn’t very good (compared to the elite leagues, anyway), but despite that, MLS games can be fun as all hell to watch.
And that’s exactly what this game was - not the best quality, not something you’d show someone you’re trying to convince that either of these teams are actually good, but a whole lot of fun to watch and something I will completely forget even happened in like two days.