29 October 2007

Liverpool 1 - 1 Arsenal

Francesc Fabregas (80)

Coming off our 7 - 0 rout of a 'shell shocked' Slavia Prague and given Liverpool's current form ( a 2 - 1 loss to Besiktas on the 24th, 1 - 2 win against Everton on the 20th, 2 - 2 draw with Tottenham on the 7th and 0 - 1 loss to Marseille at home) I was rather confident The Arsenal would be able to clinch all 3 pts up for grabs in this fixture. Forget that our away record at Anfield is not the best; the last time we had a victory at Anfield in the PL was October '03 and our most recent defeat (4 - 1) was in March of this year ( I can still hear my friend all the way from Nigeria enthusiastically screaming down the phone ... ) I was encouraged by our current form. The lads seemed to finally be getting the hang of playing great football and (most importantly) getting the results. Its not one or the other.

No internet streaming for me today, FSC showed the game live. Yippee! 5 mins to kickoff and I noticed that Lehman made the sub list. After all that smack he has been talking? Theo 'Okada' Walcott was on the bench as where Bendtner, Gilberto and Diarra AW decided to play Adebayor upfront with Cesc, Flamini, Hleb and Rosicky in the middle and Clichy, Eboue, Gallas, Sagna and Toure in the defence. The 'Nordic' Spaniard was in goal. Why play Adebayor alone upfront? I wondered. It soon became clear. Rafa had Alonso, Gerrard and Cesc's Shadow Mascherano in the midfield all of whom are quite adept at breaking up attacks hence no room for our usual 50 passes en route to scoring. With those 3 behind Kuyt, Torres and Voronin, I see Rafa planned to keep us occupied at the wrong end of the field. 7 mins into the match, Fabregas fouled Alonso at the edge of the box and a free-kick was awarded. Captain 'G' delivered a blistering volley, so hot it cleared a space in the wall (Flamini! Irregardless, though contract renewal please) just large enough for the ball to pass through and end up in the net. We where a goal down, (there goes my 3 pts for this match on FaceBook, of course I called a win with a clean sheet) My friend with whom I was watching the match had to comment on how calm I was, all cross legged on the couch (see he had previously observed me watching an Arsenal game, the Fulham game I believe it was, I was on my feet in front of the tv the whole time and by the end of the first half I was in need of Tylenol) "This is what the 2007/08 Arsenal side has elevated me to" I replied. "We have consistently been able to come from behind to win our fixtures this season" I inform him, "I am not worried see I am as confident as a turkey that the 3 pts are in the bag". Yeye boy just had to throw sand in my garri, "Not against the rest of the 'Big 4', you have no such record against them." [Picture me sulking for like 30 secs] This is our first 'Big' game in the PL this season true, and the outcome of this game is oh so crucial yeah we need to maintain our unbeaten record but also irregardless of the advantage of a game in hand, Man U are snipping at our heels and they are next up for a trip to the Emirates, next weekend to be precise. The high of a win coupled with the advantage of our home turf (fans and all) is really much needed. Its early yet, I believed the lads would come through and get the result. I had to wait 63 mins before The Arsenal drew level. Hleb's pass on the left arrived just in time in Cesc' path and he tucked it away in the net behind Reina to make the scores 1 - 1. The win eluded us with Cesc finding the lower post and Bendtner blazing the ricochet over the bar. Sigh. I was a little disappointed when the referee blew the final whistle. I believe we could and should have taken all 3 pts from the game. I have seen the team as a whole play much better and although they still managed to dominate the game (especially in the 2nd half) this fact worries me, are we peaking a whole month ahead of the Christmas break? I don't think so. Anyway you look at it that was some quality footy at Anfield on Sunday. Eboue was up to his apparently usual 'gamesmanship' (word of he day) antics. I am thinking perhaps AW should have started Walcott instead of Rosicky ... the Professor knows best, and Cesc was quite quiet, I guess its not easy lugging around such a 'heavy' shadow. Anyways, the 1 point was sufficient to put us back on top of the table ahead of Man U, that and a better goals scored tally. We face Sheffield on Wednesday in the Carling Cup at Bramall Lane and then Man U on Saturday at The Emirates. I expect to see a really confident side against Man U on Saturday, and I hope the lads will make a better job of capitalising on their chances, we won't have the luxury of squandering them. I am sipping on my Coke, no ice ...

No comments: