Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal won for the first time this season, but the manner of the 2-0 victory told us more about the poor plight of the once successful Liverpool, who seem to be stuck in a spiralling decline. The Gunners will worry little about that however, and given their own recent transfer plight, who will blame them. It was left to two of the new transfers, summer signings brought in early and bedded in well for an arduous season ahead. Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla are the finished articles, and at Anfield on Sunday, both found the target against a resilient opponent, as Arsenal came away with another clean sheet.

Everybody understood very quickly that Cazorla would not take six months to settle and Podolski is deadly when there is a chance, you see that in training. He showed good team work as well today, and I am pleased for them” – Wenger

Wenger reflects on Anfield win - Listen

 

Think about it for a while. Your team loses two more key players for the second consecutive season, but still given Arsene Wenger’s faith and vision in his players, Arsenal continue to challenge. Here we can point to Abou Diaby, remember him? The France midfielder was immense against Liverpool and having sat out all of last season, not many of us thought that he would be such a key player for Arsenal again.

Podolski and Cazorla will grab all the headlines, but the midfield dynamism and creativity of Diaby was not only long overdue, but served as a reminder to us all of why Wenger continues to have such faith in the midfielder.

The Gunners broke the deadlock just past the half hour mark. Steve Gerrard misplaced his pass and out sprung the Gunners. Podolski fed Cazorla from deep and then hared away for a return from the Spain midfielder before striking sweetly with his left foot. Liverpool were stunned. But in Raheem Sterling there was always a threat. He hit the outside of the upright and could have earned a penalty under a challenge from Per Mertersacker. The giant German almost repeated the feat with his strength against Luiz Suarez later on, but both incident were deemed to be legal challenges by referee Howard Webb.

Further passages of neat free flowing football were to follow with Diaby and Cazorla prominent. The one concern most Arsenal fans will have continue to surround Olivier Giroud and his unfortunate knack of completely missing the target from gilt edged chances. When Diaby raced forward and fed Giroud, the France striker swept his effort wide when it seemed easier to score. Oh and how badly was that felt by his team mates? Well just take a look at Kieran Gibbs’ body language and his reaction when he screamed for the ball to be left to him as he surged forward. Even a defender knows how much of a wretched moment Giroud is currently in.

Arsenal duly got a second when Podoslki and Cazorla combined on 68 minutes, the latter let fly with a low drive that Pepe Reina allowed to deflect under his body. As the Gunners deservedly doubled their lead, and held on for the victory, Wenger happily reflected on Arsenal’s first win and what will be the first of many goals from his summer signings.

” Everybody understood very quickly that Cazorla would not take six months to settle and Podolski is deadly when there is a chance, you see that in training. He showed good team work as well today, and I am pleased for them. Just Giroud needs a goal, but as long as the team wins we know that will come,” said Wenger who also wanted to praise Diaby’s efforts.

” You can see it is massive for us because he is a tremendous football player. He has absolutely everything you want in midfield. He hasn’t played for a year but he had a good pre-season where we had him 45 minutes every three days and now he looks in good shape. There is more to come from him but what he has shown today is very good. Look at our midfield; you have Arteta, Cazorla, Diaby, Wilshere, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ramsey. There is a fight for places and there is quality. ”

Another untimely International break comes between Arsenal and their next Premiership fixture at home to Southampton on September 15th. The Saints will be no pushovers as witnessed by their spirited performances against both Manchester sides. On this form however, the Gunners will look to win at the Emirates for the first time this season.