A 1-1 draw at Anfield started Arsenal's 2010 campaign off with a bang. This bang being mostly inaudible, a mild sedative and quite forgettable.
Pepe Reina - Y con el veinte!... Con un autogol fenomenalllll! Yo, Pepe Reina!!. Nice job assclown. Before his fantastic OG, though not even close to the best Liverpool OG, he saved a few menacing shots. The match is not judged on your first 88 minutes. Sorry.
Skrtel/Carragher - The oldish and sneaky combo provided an excellent foundation and even avoided silly fouls. With Samir Nasri taking free-kicks, they could have fouled wherever they wanted without a care in the world so I guess it's nice they didn't prowl around hoofing left and right. Only once fresh legs came on for Arsenal did their tiredness show.
Glen Johnson - I think Liverpool's strategy from the onset was most evident with Johnson's play. He rarely got forward, instead choosing to forgo his typical overlapping runs. His only mark on the game was a menacing shot that drew a corner - otherwise a quiet affair. A red card will do that to a defense.
Masherano - A quintessential performance from the grumpy Argentine: a few good tackles, a few fouls and a scrappy assist. His five-o-clock shadow, unruly hair and his sweat which smelled of cheap whiskey led me to believe he might not have the best game. I was wrong.
Steven Gerrard - Captain Fantastic spent a good deal on defense. He tracked back well and broke up a few Arsenal possessions. I don't remember his presence offensively at all, again, a red card will do that.
Fernando Torres - He didn't start, but was a substitute. There was one moment where I was convinced he had undressed Koscielny and was going to score but the Frenchman recovered nicely. Fernando made no impact otherwise. In my opinion he's still a few games away.
Almunia - He had no major gaffes, which is a blessing in itself. That is unless you count being beaten at your near post from a shot, albeit a well placed one, from a tight angle as a gaffe. Lets settle on minor gaffe. Kill me now if he's our 1st choice keeper for the whole season.
Vermaelen - Suddenly Thomas is the wily veteran tasked with anchoring a top-4 defense. He wasn't necessarily conservative as a few times I noticed his deep runs. He never got the ball when he streaked forward though and only contributed offensively with a hard, but not well placed, free kick. Technically it was he who was beaten by David Ngog, as he was a half-step too slow after our turnover.
Jack Wilshire - Speaking of turnover, it was Jack's slightly off-footed fan-job on a pass that made its way straight to Masherano's foot. He turned the ball over alot and while I was rooting for him vigorously at the beginning of the game, soon it became evident he was trying to survive like Michael Cera at the grown-ups party in Superbad. He maybe gets by with Cesc as his midfield partner but certainly not with Nasri. To me it looked like his nerves showed and he seemed to be over-thinking.
Abou Diaby - El Diablo had some nice tricks but little substance. See current definition of Arsenal attack.
Andrei Arshavin - The Russian made no impact whatsoever, which is odd with this in mind. (Just look at that run...it looks like he was shot out of a cannon. We fu*&ing tied that game by the way). Rumor has it that Andrei was tired all week and not fully fit. I believe it.
Chamakh - I'm glad he scored the winner because that play is exactly the type of commitment I saw out of him at Bordeaux. There was no flip this time around but he proved that at Arsenal he will still risk the bumps and bruises that are required to poach a valuable goal.
Arsenal looked exhausted for reasons I cannot explain. Perhaps the World Cup is to blame but the action on Saturday does not back this up. Both teams came out cautiously and after Joe Cole's red card - which was nice to see even if it was harsh because after all, red cards are supposed to deter potentially dangerous tackles, not be the result of acl's snapping in half - Liverpool were more than content to hang on to a 1-nil lead. The most worrisome aspect of Arsenal's uninspiring performance is that Rosicky, off the bench, seemed to be the spark. With Nasri and Wilshire erm-um-hmmm'ing around the pitch, the presence of Fabregas was sorely missed. I have yet to hear an argument to explain his World Cup hangover, him and I having played similar minutes. The prevailing theme after this game is that a point at Anfield is always a good result. I question that that because Liverpool scraped to finish 7th three months ago. Last year they dropped 15 points at home, the same as Birmingham.
Blackpool at home should be no problem at all. Repeat, no problem at all. But they did put 4 on Wigan and they have a gigantic oaf for a striker that I can see ramming the ball in with his thighs. A three goal victory with no ankles broken (except Alumnia and Fabianski) is all Arsenal needs to ease the nerves.
Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.