With Arsenal gearing up for a second trip to Liverpool in four days The Dover Marksman reflects on the 3-1 defeat earlier this week.
I’m not going to get out of my pram over Arsenal losing to Liverpool on Monday evening, though I could do without the idea that the home side were so brilliant.
If the referee had done his job they’d have been down to 10 men after two minutes, and Alexander-Arnold would also have gone straight after half-time for a stamp on Tierney.
Maybe the Bhoy is a marked man already. Take Mane (who I believe was awarded man of the match, just about summing up the nonsense of punditry) out of the game for 88 minutes and things would have been very different.
At the same time as not losing any sleep over things I do think Arsenal got a lot wrong last night, especially in the first-half. We were timid, too often out of position (I’m talking about you Bellerin) and failed to work hard enough (I’m talking about you Aubameyang and Willian) and failed to get on to Liverpool.
The other thing we got badly wrong, especially against the team which is the absolute best at the pressing game, was the constant playing out of defence.
I’ve no problem with it in general – we’ve done it well and scored goals against good sides, as we did last night.
But surely it has to be mixed up?
It also has to be done more quickly. Bernd Leno slows things down, is hesitant in moving the ball and frankly isn’t very good at it. We saw it all the time before Christmas last year until Unai was given his marching orders.
Arteta pretty much abandoned it as a tactic when he arrived and up until the season was suspended. Only when Martinez came in to the side in the summer did it really look like something Arsenal could do and do well. Therein lies the problem.
In his book David Seaman makes reference to the phrase “good shot stopper” and effectively says it’s a bit of an insult to a goalkeeper to be labelled as one because it shows that he’s probably not very good at the rest of the job.
The fact is that all goalkeepers, especially at the top level, are going to be good at stopping shots and, in Leno’s defence, he’s had a lot of it to do playing behind Arsenal’s defenders and has stopped a good many. The problem with Leno is that shot stopping is all he’s got.
Emiliano Martinez is gone so it’s probably not worth dwelling on that, but we certainly need to bring in someone who is an all round goalkeeper if we are going to challenge.
We already know we’re short in midfield, our new centre-backs are an unknown quantity right now and Lacazette and Aubameyang haven’t really got any quality cover, hard worker though Nketiah might be.
Arsenal are four or five players away from challenging at the very top and that will take time.
A decent goalkeeper who inspires confidence in his defence, dominates his area, can use his feet well and is big and commanding is a must. I wonder where we could have got one of them…