There isn’t much to say about Arsenal’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool that anybody who watches the Premier League won’t have seen themselves. Liverpool are better than Arsenal. Put differently: one of the best teams in the league, playing at home, beat the youngest team in the league. Not a surprising result, right?
The Gunners’ second half collapse is a bit disappointing, but it was mostly down to individual mistakes made by young players. Liverpool’s quality had something to do with it, too. More disappointing was the no-show performances by Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alexandre Lacazette. The senior players on the pitch were anonymous.
I don’t know if Thomas Partey wasn’t actually fully fit, was doing most of his work off the ball, or just had a bad game. Regardless, the Gunners need more from him if they are going to be successful. The same can be said for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It’s often not entirely a striker’s fault when they don’t have a good game — their teammates have to get them the ball in good positions. But Aubameyang struggled to stay onside and scuffed the one good chance he did have. And we know what Alexandre Lacazette — he can do some useful things but is limited as a footballer. The Gunners need more.
The first half was pretty good. Arsenal didn’t muster much going forward, but they defended well. The handful of times they did get forward it seemed like Bukayo Saka was a bit indecisive on the ball and picked the wrong option. It was not his best game today.
Poor decisions on the ball was a theme for Arsenal. Both Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga had multiple shockingly poor giveaways in the second half. They’re young players. They’re going to make mistakes. All that really matters is they learn from them and bounce back from a tough match. Although I do think Kieran Tierney should get his spot back.
Two additional notes. Sadio Mane was lucky to still be on the pitch in the first half. His late challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu was bookable. He should have seen yellow for his elbow / forearm to Tomiyasu’s head a few minutes later. And the challenge that he did get cautioned for could have been red. It was dirty — from behind, ball out of play, opponent unsuspecting. It’s a shame that he’s that kind of player. He does great things on the ball, but I cannot enjoy his play because he runs around the pitch either trying to injure opponents or not caring whether he does.
Mane’s aerial challenge on Tomiyasu created the flashpoint that is my second note. I like that Mikel Arteta was standing up for his player. That passion and engagement is good. But I think it backfired. Jurgen Klopp was able to use that point to fire up his team and the crowd from a somnolent opening to the match. Both managers ended up with a yellow card, but Liverpool came off better. I think Klopp should have been sent off — he left his technical area to confront the opposing coach, crossed midfield at one point, and bumped into the fourth official. It’s difficult to see how the different levels of misconduct from the coaches merited the same punishment.
Michael Oliver’s decisions were far from the reason that Arsenal lost. Liverpool were just better. But if Mane gets sent off, if Klopp is sent off, maybe the match plays out differently. Oh well. Absolutely nothing we (or Arsenal) can do about that.
It’s a bit of an odd thing to say after a 4-0 defeat, but I think Ben White and Gabriel had pretty good games. Tomiyasu played his usual, defensively solid game. Even Nuno Tavares, who made a bunch of mistakes, had some impressive 1-v-1 defensive moments, especially in the first half. As I said, Liverpool’s goals came from individual errors. Those can be fixed. It’s much more difficult to overcome the other guys just being better, and the Arsenal defenders held their own isolated against Mo Salah and Sadio Mane time and again.
And Aaron Ramsdale was magnificent today. It might have been his best performance in an Arsenal shirt so far. We’ve got a real one in goal, y’all.
Be a goldfish. This result is not going to define the season, and it isn’t worth getting bent out of shape over.