A point apiece will probably be acceptable to both clubs, although both clubs could have easily snatched 3 on the day. I will assume the reader knows the highlights of the game, and thus I will not get too specific into the recap. But I would like to touch on a few things.
Joe Cole’s Red: Necessary. I’m sure he had no intent to hurt the player, but a lot of pundits were saying he did not deserve a red considering his reputation as a clean player. Unfortunately, you can’t judge your decisions based on PAST knowledge of the player. You have to look at the action itself. It was an unneccssary tackle, late in the half, that had little benefit. Cole was a little too excited on his Anfield debut and made a poor decision going for a meaningless tackle in an aggressive way. Fortunately, Arsenal was not down a CB for the start of the second.
Almunia’s Performance: Terrible. With so many fans upset about the goalkeeping situation, and Wenger himself suggesting there is competition from within the Arsenal team as well (Fabianski, Wojtech), Almunia did little to please staff nor fans. Flapping at crosses, poor decision making, and a performance generally lacking in confidence has done little to endear me any further to him. Arsenal continues to need a big-game goalkeeper that is up to the standards of a top-tier club. That being said, I don’t feel Almunia had much of a chance on N’Gog’s great goal.
New Boys: Chamakh was “good, not great”. He had little service with poor crosses coming from the wings and on the ground the team looked like they lacked chemistry in the face of a resilient Liverpool defense. He was gritty and earned that Reina “own goal”, which I was impressed with. I don’t think a lot of our players will get gritty like that, so it was refreshing to see. Koscielny also had a “good” afternoon; the red was both unnecessary and unlucky. On his performance, I thought he played well, and should have more to offer the team as he gets acquainted with the league and the rest of the team.
Arshavin: Looked slow, lazy, and disinterested. An exceptional talent, he needs to get his confidence and determination to impress back. He has looked poor in the last few months and seems to lack the hunger he had when he first arrived. He’ll need to get his game back to help Arsenal push for silverware.
I felt Arsenal played alright today. The team was sorely lacking without Cesc and RVP, which we should have expected based on last year. However, we should have taken the game to Liverpool with the man advantage and we were lucky to salvage a draw. The glaring defects of the team were once again apparent at goalkeeper, and to a lesser extent at defense (did anyone else panic when Kos’ was stretchered off?). We also badly need our specific defensive-mid back (Song).
I expect Arsenal to run over Blackpool for 4-6 goals at the Emirates next week, and hopefully that will encourage the team forward in the hunt for the Premiership title.