EPL 2006–2007: Arsenal 3 – Liverpool 0

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 13th, 2006 • 2:37 pm

It’s been a pretty frustrating season for Arsenal fans so far. A couple of disappointing defeats, and far too many draws at home have cost the team many points already and endangered their qualification for the next round of the Champions’ League.

Yet at the same time there have been some truly outstanding performances, including the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in September, and now this excellent display against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

There are on-going doubts about the team’s ability to overcome teams that play a very “negative” type of game—but maybe this victory offers a few clues. The goals don’t necessarily have to always come from the expected source, i.e. Henry, van Persie, Adebayor, etc. This time, Flamini, Touré, and Gallas were on the score sheet, and it was no fluke either. They were three very well constructed and well taken goals.

This is a team with enough technical ability and enough movement to create opportunities from any position and for any player. For example, I won’t be surprised if Eboué starts scoring soon, now that he’s back from injury. He’s certainly shown that he’s more than capable to score and only needs a bit more luck. And ultimately, with opposing teams closing in on the usual suspects up front, i.e. Thierry Henry and whoever plays alongside him, maybe that is where our goals and victories should come from when necessary.

With the return of Éboué and Clichy, and Gallas moving to his favoured centre-half position, we have the makings of a really mean defense. Touré in particular is looking more and more formidable, and there was a recent article about him in the Telegraph that is well worth a read, especially for the funny anecdote about his original trial at the club.

The defense still looks occasionally vulnerable on set pieces, and hopefully that is something that the team is working on. You cannot always count on offside decisions to bail you out. But other than that, this is a team that seems to have discovered a renewed will to fight against adversity. It is probably no coincidence that this performance comes against one of the so-called “big” teams, at the end of a week of controversy about Arsène Wenger’s touchline eruption last week during the defeat at West Ham. There was a similar scenario back in September, with doubts about Arsenal’s abilities prior to the game at Old Trafford, and we got a performance that promptly put those doubts to rest.

Still, we all know that Arsenal cannot afford to drop many more points if they want to be genuine title contenders this season, whether it’s against the big teams or lesser opposition. So I hope that the team won’t need yet another repetition of the same scenario in the coming weeks and will be able to put together a string of solid results and performances that will confirm their place near the top of the table and in the next round of the European competition.

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