Alexandre Lacazette earned Arsenal a deserved point as the Gunners drew 1-1 against Liverpool in the Premier League, after James Milner had put Jürgen Klopp’s side ahead.
The first big chance of the game fell Arsenal’s way in the 15th minute as Henrikh Mkhitaryan beat Alisson to a header, but could only direct his effort wide of an empty net.
Just two minutes later, Liverpool had the ball in the net after Roberto Firmino’s effort rebounded off the post and into Sadio Mané’s path, who gratefully tapped in. However, the Senegalese attacker was deemed to have been offside.
In the 44th minute, Virgil Van Dijk saw his header bounce agonisingly off the post after Bernd Leno found himself in no man’s land following a Liverpool free kick.
In the 61st minute Liverpool took the lead. Mané’s cross in from the left was palmed out by Leno only into the path of James Milner who hammered a low strike past the Arsenal keeper’s despairing dive.
Liverpool conceded a late equaliser in the 82nd minute as Alexandre Lacazette nipped in ahead of Alisson before cutting back onto his right-foot and unleashing an unstoppable, curling effort into the corner.
Key Talking Point
Arsenal’s poor record against the top six in recent seasons continued at the start of this season, with back-to-back losses against Manchester City and Chelsea. Therefore, despite their impressive unbeaten streak since then, there were question marks over how the Gunners would perform against Liverpool.
Been a while, but Arsenal are looking good again. They actually look hungry again.
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) November 3, 2018
The performance against the Reds highlighted the influence of Unai Emery this season. Arsenal were sturdy at the back and often fluent going forward, earning a deserved point. The Gunners are certainly moving in the right direction and are no longer mere flat-track bullies.
Starting XI: Leno (5), Bellerin (7), Mustafi (7), Holding (7), Kolasinac (6), Torreira (8*), Xhaka (7), Mkhitaryan (7), Özil (5), Aubameyang (7), Lacazette (8)
Substitutes: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey (6), Smith Rowe, Iwobi (7), Welbeck (6)
STAR MAN – Summer signing Lucas Torreira was the stand-out player for Arsenal against Liverpool. The Gunners have been crying out for a combative midfielder for years and they seem to have finally found one in the Uruguayan.
Got to say, Lucas Torreira is a gem of a player, reminds me of shades of Kante 16/17, will run and run and tackle with ease and then start off the attacks.
— Pys (@CFCPys) November 3, 2018
Torreira was constantly biting into challenges and winning his one-on-one battles in the midfield. On top of this, he looked calm and assured in his distribution, allowing Arsenal to orchestrate attacks from all over the pitch.
WORST PLAYER – Mesut Özil seemed to be building up momentum coming into this game, having recently put in a vintage display against Leicester City after receiving the captain’s armband. The added responsibility of this seemed to have finally unleashed the German midfielder.
Ozil Ghosting in a big game as per usual, everyone hypes him up so much, it’s alright doing it vs Leicester but can you do it vs the top teams consistently.
— Pys (@CFCPys) November 3, 2018
However, yet again in a big game, Özil simply went missing and contributed very little. It is in fixtures like these that the former Real Madrid man has to take the game by the scruff of the neck and impose his ability on the opposition.
Key Talking Point
Having come under huge pressure throughout the match by Arsenal’s attack and with Liverpool’s forward line struggling to muster up chances, the question was whether the Reds could grind out a win in a big game.
Liverpool’s defence are SOLID, just a year ago they probably would’ve conceded 2 by now
— mx (@LioMessi10i) November 3, 2018
Whilst the answer was not a resounding yes, it was a game Liverpool may well have lost last season. Where Liverpool’s defence looked shaky at the best of times last season, it stood strong under pressure on Saturday evening. The Reds’ attacking play was the key to their success last season, but it seems the gap in quality between their attack and defence has been bridged this campaign.
Starting XI: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (7), Van Dijk (8*), Robertson (7), Fabinho (6), Milner (7), Wijnaldum (6), Mane (6), Firmino (7), Salah (7)
Substitutes: Mignolet, Matip (6), Moreno, Lallana, Shaqiri (6), Origi, Sturridge
STAR MAN – There is only one word to describe Virgil van Dijk: colossal. The Dutch defender has been a rock in Liverpool’s defence ever since he signed from Southampton last season. This was the case once more against Arsenal.
Virgil van Dijk is the best center half in the Premier League, and it’s not particularly close.
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) November 3, 2018
At times, the Liverpool centre-back seemed to single handedly hold off the Arsenal barrage of attacks. It is often defences which decide titles and Liverpool now seem to have a back line capable of dragging them to a Premier League triumph.
WORST PLAYER – Trent Alexander-Arnold had a brilliant season last campaign, which earned him a spot in England’s 23-man squad in the World Cup. However, the young full-back has struggled for form this season and has been in and out of the starting eleven.
Alexander-Arnold has been laughably bad in this game. But apparently he’s the best RB in the league and as I’m typing this he’s gotten spun by Danny Welbeck of all people
— 420 Glaze It (@Jeff_Glazer) November 3, 2018
The reason for this seemed clear against Arsenal as Alexander-Arnold was constantly caught out in the first half particularly by the runs of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The Englishman improved in the second half but Klopp will expect him to perform from the first minute next time around.
Next up in the league for Liverpool is a home fixture against a struggling Fulham side. With Manchester City set to take on Manchester United next weekend, the Reds’ will be hoping to make up ground on Pep Guardiola’s side in this captivating title race.
Arsenal, meanwhile, face a tricky test away at Wolves next Sunday. The newly promoted side have been a tough side to beat so far this season and the Gunners will have to be patient if they are to get three points.