Arsenal 0 Liverpool 2

If Arsenal are to win their first Premiership game of the 2011/12 season, then at some point the realisation that they must keep eleven players on the pitch has to be understood. For Gervinho at Newcastle last week end, read Emmanuel Frimpong, this. The promising Gunners’ youngster was red carded on his home debut, his game was already on a knife edge after his eight minute yellow card for a lunge on Lucas.

Second yellow

Frimpong’s unfortunate Gunners fate was sealed on 70 minutes when once again a clash with Lucas had referee Martin Atkinson reaching for a second yellow,for a sending off that Arsene Wenger would later describe as ” deserved” But the shocking fact remains that for consecutive Premiership games, Arsenal were reduced to ten men.

Sensed

The bad news continued for Arsene Wenger, with the sight of Laurent Koscielny limping off after only fifteen minutes as Liverpool courtesy of a Aaron Ramsey own goal and substitute Luis Suarez recorded a convincing victory. Up until the 70 minute mark, Arsenal were in the mood to claw at least a point, but you sensed that they needed to be convinced to get more than that.

Nasri staying ?

Supensions to Alex Song and Gervinho, injuries to Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djourou were to rob Wenger of key first team players, but after an impending departure from the Emirates at least he was able select Samir Nasri, and the France midfielder was keen to make up for lost time. Rumours of the collapse of the deal to take him to Manchester City swirled around the Emirates with French television company Canal Plus claiming that Nasri will be remaining in north London. The Gunners’ number eight was full of his usual drive and trickery and this time from a deep central position. Nasri saw a powerful run from his own half result in a shot that just flew past Pepe Reina’s upright, and the Emirates crowd roared their approval. Just before the break once again it was Nasri who almost netted the opener. Frimpong, who minutes earlier had an excellent run and shot from 25 yards parried away by Reina, fed him, and with the goal at his mercy, he chose precision, when power would have benefitted as the shot ballooned over the bar

Frimpong steel

Prior to that, the tenacity and determination that has been lacking in the Gunners midfield since the days of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit was on view courtesy of Frimpong. No doubt the 19 year old has an immense future at Arsenal, but his steely game has to get cuter to the whims of the referee. Time and time again, Frimpong broke up the Liverpool attack, and then his clever distribution defied his tender years. On the other hand, Ramsey must have had his poorest game in an Arsenal shirt and looked lacking in sharpness and fitness. Sadly you could put Andre Arshavin and Theo Walcott in that bracket after further poor showings. Defensively, Thomas Vermaelen had the wits to continually outwit Andy Carroll, who despite a first header which Wojciech Szczesny did well to save, did not really trouble the Gunners’ defence.

Offside strikes

There was noise and lots of it at the Emirates, with the crowd roaring their backing for both Wenger and his players.Robin Van Persie cut a lonely brow in attack, but almost gave the Gunners the lead on 68 minutes. Ramsey cut back to Van Persie, whose first time shot was bundled for a corner by Reina. Liverpool sensed their chances too with Martin Kelly clipping the outside of the post after a right sided break. Suarez came on for Dirk Kuyt with 20 minutes remaining and instantly tested Szczesny. Stewarty Downing did likewise, with then some fortune surrounding the Reds opener. Substitute Raul Meireles combined with Suarez, there was a clear case of offside, but as Ignasi Miquel attempted to clear, the ball found the net via the chest of Ramsey to capitalise the Wales captain’s poor game.

Stunned Wenger

With Arsenal now stretched and Carl Jenskinson cramping up, the experience of Liverpool created a second goal that Suarez tapped in, after some neat build up play, but again, more that a suspicion of offside. Boos at the final whistle, with Wenger stunned. He has known all along that he must strengthen the side, but now the pain is getting even greater as a side with potential but no experience continues to struggle. Unless the Gunners manager acts now, that doomed scenario will only continue.