Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool

An enjoyable and open game saw Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 and move into second place in the Premiership. Arsenal started the game very well and created several good chances in the opening minutes as a result of the pressure they put on the Liverpool defenders and midfielders; they forced mistakes and intercepted passes out of defence well. Mignolet made a couple of good stops to keep the scores level and Liverpool in the game. As time progressed, Liverpool came into the game and started to create chances of their own, notably when a pass from Markovic was slightly too strong and ahead of Sterling for him to roll the ball into an empty net.

With ten minutes of the half to go, there had been lots of chances but no goals; by half time, Arsenal were winning 3-0. Arsenal right back Bellerin scored the first with a curled finish to the far post having been allowed to cut in on his left foot. Ozil scored the second a couple of minutes later with a free kick that went around the wall and past Mignolet, into the same corner that Bellerin had finished in minutes earlier. On the stroke of half time, Sanchez cut inside Toure and hit a fierce shot from 20 yards. Whilst the shot was fierce, it was very close to Mignolet, but somehow flew past him and into the net.

Liverpool brought on Sturridge at half time, taking off Markovic. I thought that this was a surprising substitution because Markovic had quite a good first half and was involved in several good Liverpool moves. Both teams continued to create chances, with Arsenal operating slightly more defensively than they had in the first half. Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute when Bellerin, who had already been booked, brought Sterling down in the penalty area. Henderson scored from the spot, although Ospina looked disappointed at it having gone in after having got his right hand to it.

With Liverpool missing Skrtel and Gerrard through suspension, the last thing that they needed was another suspension, but they finished the match with ten men after Emre Can was sent off with around five minutes to go after picking up his second yellow card. With his name already in the book, a tackle from behind was always likely to lead to a red card, although he claim he slipped; the replay showed his left foot did appear to slip a little, but that still doesn’t explain why his right foot was so high. Giroud completed the scoring in the 90th minute with a fine curling effort into the far post that left Mignolet with no chance.

The result has seen Arsenal move into second place and four points behind leaders Chelsea, although whether they stay there will depend on whether Manchester City win their game at Crystal Palace on Monday. Liverpool remain in 5th, but could drop to 7th if Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur win their games. They are currently five points behind third, but could be eight points behind if both Manchester City and Manchester United win their games this weekend. With seven games left, it is difficult to see how they will now be able to finish in the top four this season.

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