Sunday, 15 August 2010

Reina hands Arsenal a point

Sports - Football - Premier League - Liverpool 1:1 Arsenal

I think both sides will be glad and disappointed with the result, feeling they could have/should have got more out of the match, but it could have been worse, too.

For Liverpool, debutant Joe Cole and star keeper Pepe Reina both had moments of horror: The prior saw red for a reckless and dangerous tackle on new Arsenal full-back Laurent Koscielny just before the end of a quite uneventful and all-evens first half. The latter saw Arsenal new-boy Marouane Chamakh's shot deflect off the post, onto him, into the back of the net, to give the Gunners a lucky late goal and point.

Moments after that late equaliser, Arsenal were down to the men themselves after Koscielny turned from victim into offender, conceding two quick consecutive bookings, first for a fowl, second and off for a handball. Both looked harsh in hindsight, compared to similar offenses of David Ngog earlier in the match.

The young Frenchman had a mixed match, off(side) most of the time but on (target) at the start of the second half, after Arsenal lost possession clumsily just outside the box for Inter-bound Javier Mascherano to connect and cross to Ngog, who put it into the top right-hand corner, over and past a very insecure and fragile looking Manuel Almunia.

The early lead in the second half made Liverpool look stronger, safer and more confident even though they were down to ten men. Arsenal enjoyed more possession and kept Liverpool back. But the Reds defended well, their man-to-man marking system paying off with Arsenal more and more frustrated and Jamie Carragher not earning the MOTM award for nothing.

The late twists and turns made the match much juicier than the first half led to believe. In the end, both teams got away with a point down to ten men, so, should not have anything to complain about really.

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger; Kuyt, Gerrard (booked 72.), Cole (s.o. 46.), Mascherano (Lucas, 79.), Jovanovic (Rodriguez 66.); Ngog (Torres, 74.). 4-5-1
Subs not used: Cavalier, Aurelio, Babel, Kelly.

Arsenal: Almunia; Sagna, Koscielny (booked 92., s.o. 95.), Vermaelen, Clichy; Eboue (Walcott, 59.), Diaby (van Persie, 76.), Nasri, Wilshere (booked 41.; Rosicky 59. booked 85.), Arshavin; Chamakh. 4-5-1
Subs not used: Fabianski, Vela, Song, Gibbs.

1st half Stats
Attempts: 3-3
On target: 1-1
Offsides: 4-1
Corners: 2-4
Free kicks: 6-9
Possession: 43%-57%

2nd half Stats:
Attempts: 4-7
On target: 2-2
Offsides: 0-0
Corners: 5-8
Free kicks: 9-5
Possession: 36%-64%

Sky Stats:
Passing Success: 73.8%-85.8%
Tackles/Success: 33/69.7%-20/70%
Territorial Advantage: 37.2%-62.8%

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Jamie Carragher

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