Impressive Arsenal beat Liverpool to extend lead at the top
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Premier League: Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0
Goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey secured victory as Arsenal moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Smarting from successive home defeats by Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, the Gunners produced an impressive response to see off third-placed Liverpool at the Emirates.
Cazorla put them ahead with his first goal of the season, following up his own header that bounced off the woodwork and Ramsey doubled the lead with a sweet half-volley in the second half.
Tomas Rosicky went close to opening the scoring in the sixth minute as he played a crisp one-two with Mikel Arteta and fired a low drive that Simon Mignolet did well to tip around the post.
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Liverpool’s only real sniff of goal came when Cazorla gave the ball away on the halfway line and Jordan Henderson was allowed to advance to the Gunners’ penalty area, but his shot dribbled harmlessly towards Wojciech Szczesny.
However, Cazorla made amends on 19 minutes, meeting Bacary Sagna’s cross with a header that struck the post and then reacting quickly to hook his right foot around the loose ball and fire it into the net.
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The Spanish playmaker might have made it 2-0 soon afterwards, winning possession from Steven Gerrard and forcing a diving stop from Mignolet.
Ramsey also tested the Liverpool keeper before half-time, exchanging passes with Rosicky and hitting a left-footed drive that Mignolet managed to scramble clear.
But the Reds were incensed when Sagna clumsily brought down Luis Suarez, who quickly got up and restarted play, leading to Lucas tapping the ball into the net – only for referee Martin Atkinson to pull play back for the free-kick.
The visitors brought Philippe Coutinho on in midfield, switching to 4-4-2 at the start of the second half and they resumed strongly, with Henderson screwing a chance over at the far post.
But Arsenal were soon back on the offensive as Olivier Giroud pounced on a stray pass from ex-Gunner Kolo Toure and his chip over Mignolet ruffled the side netting.
And the second goal arrived just before the hour mark when Giroud laid the ball off to Mesut Ozil, who moved it on to Ramsey and the Welshman took a touch before unleashing a pinpoint half-volley that sailed over the helpless Mignolet.
There was a brief scare for the Gunners when Suarez took a pot-shot with the outside of his boot and grazed the far post – and another as Szczesny had to smother Coutinho’s close-range effort.
But it was clearly not to be Liverpool’s day as Suarez broke through the offside trap with two minutes remaining and steered his finish wide with just Szczesny to beat.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs (Vermaelen 78); Ramsey, Arteta; Rosicky (Monreal 72), Ozil, Cazorla (Jenkinson 84); Giroud.