So the dust is starting to settle after the Liverpool game and minds are starting to turn to future fixtures which is understandable, but the thing is, I find myself troubled and not quite ready to move on just yet. Apparently, if I believe what I read, we passed a stern test and for that we should all be grateful. Or that seems to be the thrust of the view pushed upon us throughout the “non partisan” media and even more by many of the faithful in Arsenal Blog World.
Well you know what, I don’t feel grateful, I don’t think we passed a “stern test” and I was not happy that we drew. We could have won, we should have won and here is the bit that all the media have been afraid to say and that is – We were the better team.
Klopp mockingly said after the game that Arsenal sent on so many attackers that he was half expecting Bergkamp and Van Persie to make an appearance. The thing is again that we had the option to do that; Emery was able to send on Welbeck and Iwobi and even Ramsey is one of the most attacking midfielders in the league. But what has Klopp got? … ok, it can be argued that Shakiri is on a par with Ramsey but then what? They have no more strikers.
If you go through the teams, player for player, I think that you take far more Arsenal players than Liverpool.
Keepers: I am quite happy with Leno; there certainly was not a huge difference between them. The back line, bear in mind when you think about this, Liverpool had no injuries and were able to field their best 11. I wouldn’t swap our wing backs: Bellerin and Monreal for theirs, would you? I don’t think that Gomez is better than Koscielny and when the media take Van Dyke’s appendage out of their mouths they might see that Holding was every bit as good as the Dutchman on the day.
I don’t believe that anyone would swap any part of our midfield, (Torreira and Xhaka) for theirs, so that is over quickly and then we get to the attack. Mane for Ozil, err no, as good as Mane is, that is not a good swap. Firmino for Lacazette? No. And so we get to what is the one change anyone would make: Salah for Mkhitaryan. So that is just one change and we should remember that one blow to Salah at the wrong time and they could find themselves losing a very important game, oh wait, that already happened last season, shame.
So where did this idea come from that we were the underdogs at the start of that game and we should be grateful for our draw? I suppose fools like Merson fuelled this idea by predicting that Arsenal could get whooped 3-0 if Liverpool were on their game. The thing is, Paul, some of us had been watching Arsenal’s recent games and had seen with our own eyes how we have steadily improved and just how far we have risen since our unlucky loss against Chelsea.
Liverpool have been lauded by so many as the only true rivals to Man City and by that count above they only have one better player than we do and it is that fact which finds me taking issue with the idea that we should be both grateful for and content with the draw. Well, I am not grateful and I am not content, I am damn right furious that we, The Arsenal, the better team, did not win.