Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool: Five things we learned
Posted by John Smith | Published on August 15, 2016
Yesterday, Arsenal faced Liverpool in was was arguably an early contender for the game of the season. The game was billed as the biggest game of the opening day of the season and the match certainly did not disappoint. Despite fielding a much weaker side as a result of vacation and injuries, Arsenal looked strong and confident for part of the game. After everything, Liverpool were clearly the far better team and beat the Gunners in convincing fashion. Here are five things that we learned from the fixture:
1) Arsene Wenger is to blame (again)
Regardless of how harsh it is to spread hatred and grief in regards to Arsenal’s greatest ever manager, Arsene Wenger’s managerial work has once again proved why he has received so much deserved criticism over the years. At the beginning of the summer, fans and pundits alike saw the opportunity for Arsenal to sign three-to-four key players to look a genuine threat to the title going into the new season. However, after two months in the transfer window, Wenger has only signed one of these key players in Granit Xhaka alongside an interesting prospect in Rob Holding and two academy players in Takuma Asano and Kelechi Nwakali.
Going into today’s game against Liverpool, it was obvious that both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding were not ready as well as experienced enough to start a Premier League game against a team like Liverpool on the opening day of the season. Although one of them had to play, the Arsenal manager made the decision to start the duo together (for the first time ever nonetheless) in favour of Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy who were both far more experienced in the role. Throughout the match, it was obvious that Holding, in particular, was not ready to be played in such a high-intensity game and struggled for a majority of it.
If Wenger made the smarter decision of actually signing the players we’ve longer for, or, starting someone far more experienced ahead of either youngster, we would have likely not conceded four goals at home on the opening day of the season.
2) Arsenal NEED to spend to save their season
To follow on from the previous point, Arsenal are now in a situation where they MUST start to spend the money in the attempt of preventing another season of mediocrity at North London. Players including: Alexandre Lacazette, Shkodran Mustafi, Riyad Mahrez and many others have all been linked with moves to Arsenal in recent weeks and it’s time for Arsenal to finally spend the right money to bring the right players to the club. Evident consistently across the game, Arsenal lacked depth and experience in both defence as well as in attack which clearly cost the Gunners the game.
To expand on a previous point made, Arsenal have only made one first team signing across the entirety of the summer window which is, once again, clearly not good enough. For years, Arsenal fans have begged both the manager and the board to ‘splash the cash’ to bring the right players to the club, and they have failed to do so once again. With 15 days left of the current transfer window, Arsenal must splash the club to bring the right players to the club to prevent another year of mediocrity.
3) Liverpool need a left-back ASAP
Away from Arsenal, Liverpool were most certainly the better team and put on a dominant display for a vast majority of the game. Nonetheless, Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno was once again seen as the weak link in the side once again. After having a lacklustre season at Merseyside along with putting up a poor display in Liverpool’s loss to Sevilla in the Europa League Final, it would be a smart idea for Liverpool to splash the cash to bring in a better left back to the club. Jurgen Klopp was keen on bringing in a new fullback earlier in the summer after inquiring on the availability of talented left-back Jonas Hector, but after signing a new deal with FC Koln, it seems highly likely that a deal will not be happening anymore.
With just over two weeks remaining in the transfer window, it would be useful for Jurgen Klopp to spend a reasonable sum of money to bring in a better left back to the club. Although most clubs would not be open to selling their best fullback so late on, should Liverpool spend the right cash, they could easily bring in a suitable candidate to the club. There are a variety of different players on the market who could join Liverpool in the next two weeks including the likes of: Kieran Gibbs, Juan Bernat, Ricardo Rodriguez and many others. Time is running out in the transfer window and Klopp needs to make sure he brings in a new left back in the club to replace the weak link in Alberto Moreno.
4) Walcott needs to stay on the right
Outside of the embarrassing defeat to Liverpool, Theo Walcott was one of the few bright sparks in the Arsenal lineup who put up a positive display for a majority of the game. Despite playing a majority of pre-season as a striker, Walcott was called up to the first team to play on the right flank with Alexis replacing him in the role. Regardless of who the club brings in during the remaining days of the transfer window – if any transfers even happen – Theo Walcott must continue to play football on the right side to save his Arsenal career.
Throughout pre-season, Walcott put up consistently poor performances when chosen as a striker and did not look a threat on goal whatsoever. However, after being switched to his preferred right wing position in the final preseason game against Manchester City, and starting there against Liverpool, Walcott had a much better game and looked a much better threat on the opposition. In recent years, many Arsenal fans have called for the Englishman to be sold as a result of his inconsistency along with his incapability of playing as a striker. If Walcott seriously wants to make a significant impact on the Arsenal first team and become a mainstay for years to come, he must cement his position on the right flank to save his Arsenal career.
5) Mignolet has one more chance of being Liverpool’s No.1
Similarly to Alberto Moreno, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is another character within the squad that consistently receives abuse from a large portion of his supporters. Klopp looked to improve the goalkeeping woes at the club by signing talented goalkeeper Loris Karius earlier in the summer, but a broken hand has ruled him out of action for the next two months. Although a disaster to fans, this is definitely good news for Mignolet as he fights to remain the number one goalkeeper of Liverpool
As a result of the injury to Karius, Mignolet was given his 107th Premier League appearance for Liverpool and put up a good display overall. Although conceding 3 goals, Mignolet was still able to put up a decent performance and was brilliant in saving Theo Walcott’s penalty. With Karius out for the next two months, Mignolet has limited time remaining to prove his worth to Klopp and cement his position as Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper. Although his performance against Arsenal was positive, it still wasn’t the type of performance that a top goalkeeper should be making. Mignolet must assure that he uses the remaining time left to improve on his performances to remain as the number one goalkeeper for Liverpool.