Rewind: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
What we predicted
We can hardly pass up the opportunity to point out – somewhat smugly – that we thought Liverpool, with their solid defensive record, would secure a 0-0 draw. And so it was…
The early action made it seem inconceivable that the game might finish scoreless, with both defences under pressure – but Arsenal’s especially, with Calum Chambers floundering somewhat against Christian Benteke and Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho rattled the bar in the third minute, while Benteke and James Milner also went close – although Aaron Ramsey had a goal wrongly chalked of for offside at the other end.
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But it needed a trio of impressive stops from Petr Cech to prevent the Gunners falling behind at half-time and he foiled Benteke and Roberto Firmino before tipping Coutinho’s drive onto the post.
Arsenal looked sharper in the second half and Alexis Sanchez struck the woodwork, while Simon Mignolet was finally called into action to save from Olivier Giroud and Ramsey.
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sparkled with a belated substitute appearance, forcing another stop from Mignolet, but the Gunners were unable to find a way through.
Buy him a pint
Gabriel pretty much held the Arsenal defence together by himself – and you have to wonder why on earth Arsene Wenger left it until the last 10 minutes to send Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
However, there’s no escaping the fact that Wenger’s side would have lost this but for the agility of Cech in the first half – and, after a shaky start to his Arsenal career, the keeper is now showing why the club were so keen to buy him.
Get your coat son
Apart from Gabriel, none of the Gunners’ back four performed all that well – but Chambers had something of a nightmare in the first half.
The England Under-21 player was called up at short notice, yet that can’t excuse the way he repeatedly got caught out of position, turned and gave the ball away in dangerous situations.
Cech’s thin fingertip save to foil Coutinho at full stretch was world class – and vital in the context of the game.