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Two things Mikel Arteta got wrong as Anfield curse sees Arsenal slip at Liverpool

Two things Mikel Arteta got wrong as Anfield curse sees Arsenal slip at Liverpool

Arsenal surrendered a two-goal lead to Liverpool at Anfield, resulting in a 2-2 draw.

Prior to this match, the Gunners hadn’t won on the red side of Merseyside since 2012. Gabriel Martinelli took advantage of Virgil van Dijk’s poor clearance and stabbed the ball past the onrushing Alisson to calm any early nerves.

Gabriel Jesus then continued his stellar play since returning from injury by eluding Van Dijk and heading Martinelli’s cross into the back post.


Granit Xhaka and Trent Alxander-collision Arnold’s roused the Anfield crowd, and Liverpool immediately improved. Mohamed Salah’s goal at the back post cut the deficit in half. 

Rob Holding’s collision with Diogo Jota in the penalty area presented the Egyptian King with a golden opportunity to equalize in the second half, but he missed his penalty wide of the goal.

However, Roberto Firmino scored in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game. Salah thought he had won the game in the final seconds when he bent a shot towards the top corner, but Aaron Ramsdale flew across his goal and deflected it with the tips of his fingers.

And just as everyone thought the game was over, one yard from the goal line, Darwin Nunez nodded a floated cross into Konate’s path.

The Frenchman stooped and attempted to chest the ball over the goal line. It appeared impossible, but Ramsdale flew across his goal and somehow snatched the ball off the goal line to save a point for the Gunners.

ArsenalBrief.football evaluates two things Mikel Arteta did correctly and two things he did incorrectly.

Playing on Van Dijk – right

Virgil Van Dijk has been the final boss-like character that teams have avoided for many years. However, for whatever reason, the Dutch giant has seen his aura of superiority diminish with each passing match.

Jesus, Saka, and Odegaard targeted the space between Robertson and Van Dijk for the first goal. It culminated with Odegaard dispossessing the defender and the ball rebounding into the path of Martinelli, who poked it past Alisson and into the far corner.

Jesus went touch close to the defender and then peeled off of him before directing a fine header into the far corner for his second goal. Whether it’s due to lack of self-assurance, bad luck, or the passage of time, Van Dijk appears vulnerable. His struggles were exploited ruthlessly by Arteta and his frontline.

Restoring the fab four – right

Due to their collective brilliance, numerous fans had forgotten about Jesus. Prior to sustaining an injury during the World Cup, the Manchester City forward was the team’s most important player.

Jesus was deployed between Saka and Martinelli for the first time since his injury. Observing their telepathic performance, it appeared as if they had never been apart, as they frequently teamed up to terrorize the Liverpool defense.

Given Leandro Trossard’s impressive play since joining the club and the fact that he scored a hat-trick in his last appearance at Anfield, few would have been surprised if Arteta had selected the Belgian. However, Arteta, perhaps more than any other Premier League manager, is aware of his best team and will always utilize them whenever possible.

Cooler heads needed – wrong

Arsenal began the game flawlessly. Two first-half goals rendered the normally boisterous Anfield crowd completely silent. As a result of Granit Xhaka’s collision with Alexander-Arnold, however, the atmosphere shifted gears.

The Switzerland international lashed out at the Englishman following a collision in the center of the field. This resulted in a brief exchange of pushing and shoving between both sides. Significantly, this incident raised the decibel level at Anfield and provided the struggling Liverpool players with a lengthy list.

Liverpool’s offensive pressure culminated in a sloppy goal by Mohamed Salah at the stroke of halftime. Previously, the Reds’ attack had been ineffective. If you wish to leave Anfield with points, you must maintain composure and a level head. This momentary emotional lapse could have been costly.

Substitutions – wrong

Given Liverpool’s lack of aggression in the first half, the Reds were destined to come storming back in the second half. For much of the second half, Arsenal struggled to defend against Liverpool’s constant onslaught.

By the time Alexander-Arnold strolled into midfield, the Reds outnumbered the North Londoners in the center of the field. Arteta’s team does not like to slam the ball down the field, especially when Jesus is up against two giants like Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate.

At times, Liverpool confined them to their own 18-yard box – precisely where you do not want to be when holding a one-goal advantage. However, Arteta did not consult his bench until the 70th minute, when he curiously substituted Jesus and Odegaard for Trossard and January signing Jakub Kiwior.

Two things Mikel Arteta got wrong as Anfield curse sees Arsenal slip at Liverpool

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