It was like the Gunners had just finished an all-night bar-hopping binge minutes before the game and had managed to tie 20 pound stones to each of their feet just to make things ‘interesting’ against Liverpool. Maybe it was the confidence of already having beaten Liverpool three times this season that they decided that a dismal sloppy effort would be enough to get them through or maybe it was that comfy feeling that finishing third or fourth in the league doesn’t really matter, so why exert more thought and effort if you don’t really have to.
It was unbelievable watching so many Arsenal players simply just fall down on the pitch. It was like they were shot in the head by a phantom sniper just as they were about to receive a pass or about to make one. Alexander Hleb being guilty on multiple occasions of this perplexing behavior. All this would have counted for nothing if only they weren’t three steps too slow in every facet of the game, Peter Crouch capitalized early by getting his foot on a low cross after some clever Liverpool heel-passing on the right ended in a great cross for Crouch. Lehmann had little chance and dove to his right as a formality but you can’t really blame him since his defense chose to get confused with stuff you might see on your middle-school playground.
Liverpool had all the chances in the first half and whenever Arsenal did manage to break forward, Hleb, Fabregas and Diaby were trying to craft designs that were as intricate as hand-made Persian carpets. Of course, nothing of substance came of it and an early cross might have been a good choice as it might have at least somewhat threatened the Liverpool defense. Speaking of Arsenal chances, there was a legitimate one. Down only 1-0, Adebayor came in from the left and set it up for Baptista who had plenty of time and only an out-of-position Reina to beat from about 15 yards out. You don’t need me to tell you what happened next, but I’ll say it anyways: he shot it 20 yards wide of the goal. This guy needs to be burned at the stake before we send him back to Madrid where he’ll be buried so deep on the bench, he’ll dream of Carling Cup minutes.
After Crouch made it 2-0 before the half, apparently Jens Lehmann was yellow carded for spitting water on a fan. Just great, he’s the only goalie who’s actually managed to get suspended through yellow cards this season. Gerrard almost made it 3-0 in the second but Lehmann was up to it, on the counter-attack Adebayor smashed the inside of the post and the ball went to Baptista who should’ve just offered a shot and instead tried to pass it off to somebody only he could see, obviously the ball was intercepted bringing the Arsenal threat to a convenient end.
Arsenal’s defensive efforts were laborious at best and the third goal was only a matter of time. When poor Clichy was incorrectly deemed guilty of a foul, the free kick ended in Danier Agger sneaking one past Lehmann officially closing the book on this match. It’s not like Liverpool did anything great in this game, Arsenal were sloppy and lacked pace, and when you lack pace you’ll always be behind the play which is a death sentence in any football match.
Rosicky and Ljunberg were brought in midway through the second and it had a positive effect and we finally managed to string together some 1-2 passes and were finally rewarded with a Gallas goal off a free kick. It didn’t matter and any hope that might have been restored was quickly extinguished by Peter Crouch’s third of the game.
When somebody passes you the ball, you have two options: 1) to wait for it and risk somebody else intercepting it or 2) to step towards it and challenge any threat. If you consistently get beat while doing 1, wouldn’t it make sense to at some point try doing 2 and see if it makes a difference? Almost every midfielder and forward were guilty of this today and it’s not surprising that our passing game sucked. This was one to forget. Thanks to Arsenal Clips for the highlights.