Honours even as Arsenal and Liverpool fight out Emirates stalemate
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Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0
Arsenal are still searching for their first home goal of the campaign after they fought out a lively scoreless draw with Liverpool.
The Gunners – who fielded a makeshift back four after Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were both ruled out – were fortunate not to be behind in the first half as Liverpool hit the woodwork twice.
But the home side looked stronger after the break and, although Alexis Sanchez hit the post as well, the Merseysiders did enough to return home with a point.
Liverpool were quickest out of the blocks, with Christian Benteke stabbing an early chance wide before setting up another for Philippe Coutinho, whose drive rattled the crossbar.
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The Gunners seemed to find their feet, piercing their visitors’ defence with regularity and Sanchez headed over, while Aaron Ramsey was mistakenly adjudged offside as he dispatched Santi Cazorla’s pass into the net.
But Arsenal’s patched-up rearguard gave cause for concern and a couple of glaring errors from Calum Chambers almost resulted in goals for Reds skipper James Milner.
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The hapless Chambers was left floundering again by another Liverpool break as Coutinho scampered clear, but Gabriel came to the rescue with a timely challenge.
And the home side were indebted to a trio of excellent Petr Cech saves to keep the scoresheet blank at half-time – denying Benteke and Roberto Firmino from close range before diving to apply a wafer-thin touch that diverted Coutinho’s curling strike onto the post.
Although Liverpool still looked the better side at the start of the second half, it was the Gunners who appeared more likely to open the scoring.
Sanchez came close to doing that on the hour mark, smacking a left-foot shot against the post after Mesut Ozil, Cazorla and Olivier Giroud had linked to set him up.
And Giroud was also unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet, digging out a shot on the turn that was clawed away by Simon Mignolet – the goalkeeper’s first save of the game.
The second soon followed as he leapt to field Ramsey’s effort but, with time ebbing away, the Gunners sent on Theo Walcott and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in search of a breakthrough.
Oxlade-Chamberlain went close with a low effort that Mignolet dived to tip behind while, at the other end, Cech was called into action to foil the dangerous Coutinho.
Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Monreal; Cazorla, Coquelin (Oxlade-Chamberlain 82); Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud (Walcott 73).