Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0
(Cazorla 19, Ramsey 59)

Arsenal opened up a five point gap at the Premiership summit after a ruthlessly efficient win over a lacklustre Liverpool at the Emirates. Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey scored two brilliant goals which more than just gave the Gunners the three points, it sent out a statement of intent to the rest of their Premiership rivals. Arsenal continue their fine unbeaten Premiership form which has produced eight wins out of their last nine matches. On the back of recent home reverses in the Champions League and Carling Cup, many had questioned the Arsenal resolve when faced with tough asks, but as Liverpool will testify, when it mattered, the Gunners duly delivered.

Arsenal took the lead when Cazorla scored for the first time this season. Mesut Özil was instrumental in the move in which Bacary Sagna’s cross fell behind Giroud, but perfectly for Cazorla to head powerfully. With Mignolet beaten at full stretch however, the ball hit the upright, but the alert Cazorla followed up his own effort to give the Gunners the opener. The earlier exchanges may have been a cagey affair with both sides displaying nerves, neither settled well on the ball. The first shot in anger came from Tomas Rosicky whose low effort was parried past his post by Mignolet after six minutes.

Three minutes later and a midfield slip up from Cazorla let in Jordan Henderson. Sagna surged back and was strong in his challenge, doing enough to put the Liverpool man off his shot. Wojciech Szczesny did well to punch away Steven Gerrard’s in swinging free kick, but with the Gunners in combative mood, Rosicky and Cazorla won the ball back for the latter to shoot but Mignolet denied him a second goal of the evening.

Ramsey was next to be denied by the Liverpool stopper and the former Wales captain will feel he should have done better having robbed Lucas Leiva in midfield but lacked any advanced support. Giroud continues his impressive work rate for the team and Cazorla was almost the beneficiary of his labour but hit just wide of the target from the France striker’s lay off before the break.

Soon after the restart, Liverpool saw three quick fire chances to draw level go begging. Arsenal wee sloppy and actually sleepy to the early second half danger as firstly Laurent Koscielny’s alertness blocked Suarez. Clearly the Gunners had not learned from the error of their lethargy, as Henderson fired over the bar from Suarez’s cross from an offside position. Seconds later and both Sagna and Szczesny were called upon the clear the Red’s danger.

Giroud’s effectiveness from attack and in defence shows the team ethic under Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager should have been celebrating his side’s second of the afternoon after Giroud pounced onto former Gunner Kolo Toure’s poor pass.

Having stepped inside his marker however, Giroud was unable to get any venom on his shot placed wide of Mignolet’s upright. The advanced Cazorla may have been better placed to for Giroud to pass to than he perhaps realised.

Arsenal came again after 55 minutes and again Rosicky’s swift dart of mobility and movement found Cazorla. He fed Giroud whose snapshot was gathered by Mignolet. Soon after however, Wenger was celebrating his sides second goal of the afternoon.

Özil controlled Mikel Arteta’s pass and found Ramsey, and with one touch fired in a stunning goal to double the Gunners lead. It was no more that their football deserved, and had the bizarre effect of sparking some latent Liverpool fight.

Sturridge saw Suarez whip the ball off his toe to unleash a shot which flew off the outside of Szczesny’s upright. The Arsenal keeper stayed focused until an aberration almost let in Sturridge, but the Polish keeper redeemed himself by denying Suarez in two late Reds attacks. Özil went close after that, but by then, the points for the Gunners were already sealed.