Two things Mikel Arteta got wrong as Anfield hoodoo sees Arsenal slip at Liverpool


At Anfield, Arsenal allowed a two-goal advantage to slip as Liverpool rallied for a 2-2 draw.

The Gunners had not triumphed on the red side of Merseyside prior to the match since 2012. Any initial jitters were allayed, though, when Gabriel Martinelli took advantage of Virgil van Dijk’s sloppy clearing and stabbed the ball past the advancing Alisson. After recovering from an injury, Gabriel Jesus then maintained his scorching form by slipping past Van Dijk and using his head to guide Martinelli’s cross into the back post.

Liverpool improved right away after a collision between Granit Xhaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold roused the Anfield crowd. At the back post, Mohamed Salah headed the ball in to cut the lead in half. Rob Holding collided with Diogo Jota in the penalty area, giving the Egyptian King a wonderful opportunity to equalize, but the Egyptian missed the goal with his penalty attempt.

In the last exchanges of normal time, Roberto Firmino scored to tie the game. When Salah bent a shot into the top corner with the game on the line, Aaron Ramsdale rushed across his goal and deftly deflected it with his finger tips.

Darwin Nunez nodded a floating cross into the path of Konate one yard from the goal line, just as everyone else thought the game was done. The Frenchman knelt down and attempted to use his chest to deflect the ball past the goal line. Ramsdale rushed across his goal and managed to paw the ball off the line from a dead-shot to save a point for the Gunners despite the fact that it appeared impossible to miss.

1. Cooler heads needed

Arsenal got off to a great start. The normally boisterous Anfield crowd was utterly quieted by two goals in the first half. However, once Granit Xhaka and Alexander-Arnold battled, the ambiance changed.

After a collision in the centre of the pitch between the Englishman and the Switzerland international, the latter became enraged. A brief period of pushing and shoving ensued between the two sides as a result. In a crucial way, this incident raised the stakes at Anfield and provided the struggling Liverpool players with a long list of targets.

A hitherto ineffective Liverpool assault eventually produced opportunities, and their pressure culminated with Salah’s clumsy goal just before halftime. If you want to leave Anfield with points, you need to maintain your composure and cool heads. That momentary emotional slip-up might have cost you.

2. Wrong substitutions

Because Liverpool played so sluggishly for the opening thirty minutes, the Reds were destined to come roaring back in the second half. The continual barrage of Liverpool attackers presented a challenge for Arsenal for a significant portion of the second half.

The Reds were outnumbering the North Londoners in the centre of the pitch when Alexander-Arnold walked into the middle. Arteta’s team does not enjoy chucking the ball down the pitch, especially when Jesus is up against Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, two titans.

Occasionally, Liverpool had them confined inside their own 18-yard box, which is the exact opposite of where you want to be when you are trying to hang onto a one-goal advantage. But Arteta didn’t turn to his bench until the 70th minute, when he oddly substituted Jesus and Odegaard for Trossard and January acquisition Jakub Kiwior.


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