Arsenal’s troubles mount

Liverpool had to wait until 12 minutes from time to break the deadlock against an understrength Arsenal side at the Emirates yesterday, but stand-in skipper Jamie Carragher believed their two late goals were no more than they deserved.

With Cesc Fabregas leaving for Barcelona, Johan Djourou and Jack Wilshere injured and Alex Song and new signing Gervinho banned, it was a starting XI that may have been unfamiliar to the home fans. And Arsenal were further depleted by an early injury to Laurent Koscielny and the sending-off of Emmanuel Frimpong.

While Arsene Wenger’s side held out for the bulk of the game and probably deserved a point, an unfortunate Aaron Ramsey own goal, followed by a last-minute tap-in from substitute Luis Suarez, was enough for Liverpool to take a slightly fortuitous three points.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, Carragher, Liverpool captain in the absence of Steven Gerrard, said: “They are such a great side and have been for a long time and it is a difficult place to come but we deserved the win.

“To be fair to them they have a lot of injuries and when you have that many it is going to be awkward but I think (Thomas) Vermaelen was outstanding, especially in the first half.”

It was Liverpool’s first away win over Arsenal since 2000, although Samir Nasri impressed for the home side, despite being expected to join Manchester City. Nasri, though, did not applaud the crowd as the teams came out of the tunnel, and was then jeered by some sections of the Emirates Stadium faithful when his name was announced.

Wenger – who now has half his first-choice team out because of suspension or injury – must regroup his squad for next week’s crucial Champions League play-off second leg in Udinese and the small matter of a trip to Manchester United.

Liverpool’s Charlie Adam came close in the first half with an audacious chip from the halfway line, which had Szczesny backpedalling, but flew over the bar.

Nasri then showed what Arsenal would be missing when he picked up the ball in his own half, dashed forwards and turned Liverpool inside out before unleashing a 25-yard strike which curled past the post. The skies opened in the second half as the stalemate continued, but with 20 minutes left Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Frimpong was shown a second yellow card when he left his foot up in a challenge with Lucas, right in front of the referee.

Liverpool snatched a fortunate lead on 78 minutes when, as Suarez darted into the six-yard box, Miquel’s clearance cannoned off Ramsey’s chest and back over the keeper into the net. The home side’s woe was compounded in the final minute when Suarez tapped in from close range following a quick counter-attack.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was happy to see how quickly his new signings – Jose Enrique, Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing – have bedded in following a disappointing draw at home to Sunderland the previous weekend. He said: “I thought it was a fantastic game of football – we are delighted to have won, we probably just about deserved it. We never lost a goal which is good for a start. I think you have seen the difference to the boys with an extra week.”