Arsenal suffered their first loss of the season against Liverpool.
Heading into this match, I felt a strange feeling of confidence. As an Arsenal fan, this is a feeling that has eluded me in the last number of years, especially in big away games. But under Mikel Arteta, things just feel different. They feel good.
However, it simply wasn’t to be. It’s not like Arsenal were whitewashed either, as the way that Liverpool setup to attack, the score line could have easily been a lot worse. As with any new philosophy, it takes time to perfect. In this sense, losses aren’t losses if the coaching staff treat them right and for motivation, which I’m certain Arteta will.
One lesson that Arteta can learn from this performance is that when setting up cautiously, this is still cautious. What I mean by this is that I feel like Arsenal’s defensive setup is what resulted in them being dominated by Liverpool. In many ways, the midfield were asking for pressure.
Mohamed Elneny is a great player and I would never want to scapegoat him, however, it was always a risk playing him in a game like this. He did not offer much to the team going forward and frankly, until Dani Ceballos was used as a substitute, I can’t name a midfielder that did.
This deprived the performance of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who thrives in the final third. He looks best when he is receiving creative aid from the midfield, which he was not getting in Elneny. In fact, Elneny’s performance was limited to a multitude of sideways and backwards passes, which let’s face it, is never ideal against the resilient Liverpool attack.
Going forward, Arsenal can use this loss to their advantage. They know what to do now, and it has not hindered their progress.
What did you make of Arsenal’s performance?