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"It was the winter holiday and I was back in Togo having a kickabout with friends when my phone rang.One of the boys answered it and said, 'Manu, it's Arsene for you'. 'Arsene who?' I said. 'Arsene Wenger', he said. 'Get out of it', I said, and grabbed the phone off him. But then I heard the voice. 'Allo'. F*****g hell. It is Arsene Wenger!"
-Emmanuel Adebayor

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool... Why Not To Play Negative Football

How do you play counter-attacking football against the fastest team in the premiership? That should be the question everyone puts in their christmas card when they mail it to Rafa Benitez because this result has to me, secured 2nd place for The Red Devils.

First off, I have to talk about Liverpools formation. They played 4-4-1-1, with Crouch as the only striker. Thats the main mistake, Crouch is horrible! Yeah, I know he went on a scoring run for a short period but look at him now. He was brought to give Liverpool strength in the air. He cant even head a ball straight let alone lay it on for another person. Thats my next point, hows he gonna lay it on to another player when he is the only striker!? In conclusion, playing Crouch as a lone striker is like playing 4-6-0! I dont understand why they couldnt play Fowler, with his great record against Arsenal and all.

Next, Rafa is starting to BS during interviews like Jose Mourinho. This is what he said after the Arsenal match:
"It was clear, we were controlling the game, going forward and creating chances, then to play with ten players is difficult against a good team."

Just to make it clear, Arsenal dominated not only the first half, but also the second half, Arsenal could have scored 4 more goals in the second half. Liverpool had one chance and scored, I dont consider that dominating a game.

Now, finally, on to the game. Arsenal were attacking from the start, when Rafa realised the mistake in formation he decided to change things around and move Garcia to the left, useless in the end. 21st minute, Fabregas gives a fantastic through ball to Henry on the left, the french talisman dribbles a little, and shoots to Reina's far post and gives Arsenal a 1-0 lead.

Arsenal continued to dominate but couldnt double their lead. One of Arsenal's chances fell to Eboue, who found himself one-on-one with Reina but decided to pass the ball instead of taking the shot himself, in the end, Finnan managed to clear the ball away. Liverpool finally came to life in the closing minutes of the half with a shots from Gerrard, Crouch and Garcia, none even forced Lehmann into a save though.

In the second half, despite what Rafa said, Arsenal continued to dominate... Thierry missing the taget by inches was just one of the chaces Arsenal had to double their lead. Then in the 75th minute, out of nowhere, Gerrard shoots a 35-yard stunner, Lehmann puches the ball, but only as far as Garcia who heads the ball into an open goal. Almost an exact repeat as the goal we saw at Anfield not long ago.

After a reckless challenge on Cesc Fabregas and [after watching the replay] slipping on the pitch and accidentally challenging Matt Flamini, Xabi Alonso was sent off for a second bookable offense [82 minutes]. The little sympathy I had for him was quickly dashed as he refused to walk off the pitch. after about 1 minute he slowly made his may off the pitch while what looked like threats towards Arsenal players. His was doing the finger wagging thing, made famous by Jens Lehmann.

2 minutes later, a back pass by Steven Gerrard to Reina falls to Henry instead and the Arsenal captain rounds reina and slots it into an open goal. Arsenal then had chances to extend their lead lead including a shot from Pires which hit the post and a freekick from Henry which was palmed away by Reina. Arsenal managed to hold on for the win and an important 3 points in their chase for the last Champions League spot.

posted by highbury1913 @ 12:44 pm | |

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