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Arsenal hold Liverpool, stay top of table


The goal. PHOTO ARSENAL.COM

Liverpool, UK | THE INDEPENDENT |  An end-to-end encounter at Anfield ended all square despite Gabriel giving Arsenal a fourth minute lead.

The Brazilian headed home Martin Odegaard’s free-kick to give Arsenal the perfect start, but Mohamed Salah rifled home a first-half equaliser.

Both sides remained firmly intent on going for the winner after that, but neither team could find the breakthrough.

But the draw is enough to keep Arsenal top of the table for Christmas.

EARLY OPENER

Arsenal  got off to a dream start. Mikel Arteta’s men were on the front foot from the first whistle, and Gabriel Jesus saw his shot deflected over for a corner with barely 30 seconds on the clock.

Arsenal continued to play without fear in the early stages and took the lead in only the fourth minute. Martin Odegaard’s free-kick into the box was met with a meaty header from Gabriel, and beyond Alisson Becker.

There was a VAR check for offside before the celebrations could start, but this time the marginal decision went in Arsenal’s favour.

It was the defender’s first goal of the season, and timed at three minutes 27 seconds, is the earliest goal Arsenal ’ve scored at Anfield in Premier League history.

SALAH STRIKES

The game continued at a frenetic pace. Liverpool piled the pressure on, and the Arsenal  defence had to stand firm as they continued to fire crosses into the box.

Mohamed Salah had the hosts’ first sight of goal, but found the side netting when unmarked at the far post.

Despite being pinned back, Arsenal  retained a threat on the break. Martin Odegaard shot just wide on his right foot after superbly finding space in the box and Odegaard then survived a penalty shout against him for a possible handball before the Martinelli created Arsenal next chance, with a magnificent run from deep in his own half.

But almost out of nothing, Liverpool struck back. Trent Alexander-Arnold was given too much time from a central position to pick out a pass for Salah, who chopped onto his left foot before lashing a shot past David Raya.

The atmosphere inside Anfield suddenly lifted, and Arsenal had to start again.

Late in the half Arsenal  had a huge chance to restore the lead. Saka sprinted away from substitute Joe Gomez from near the halfway line, broke into the box, and squirted the ball to Martinelli while being challenged by Alisson.

The Brazilian took a touch, with the keeper stranded, but the ball just wouldn’t run for him, and his shot drifted wide.

Before the break, Kai Havertz picked up a booking that will rule him out of the West Ham game after Christmas.

UNRELENTING PACE

The half-time whistle blew to end a breathless 45 minutes, and the pace continued in the second half.

Arsenal were guilty of sloppy play on several occasions at the start of the second period, presenting half chances to Liverpool. Salah was always an outlet on the right, and Gomez came close when shooting just wide inside the area.

At the other end Martinelli could have done better on a couple of occasions when one on one with Ibrahima Konate.

The game was lacking an element of shape and control, but both teams were keen to get forward quickly whenever in possession.

A long pass from Alex Zinchenko to Saka on the right led to a cross falling to Odegaard.the captain laid the ball off to the arriving Zinchenko, but he blazed over from 20 yards.

MISSED CHANCES

There was a huge let off as the game entered the final 20 minutes. Zinchenko and Odegaard go in each other’s way from our own attacking corner, allowing Liverpool to counter.

Salah led a five on one attack, with just Rice back for us, but Alexander-Arnold struck the bar when the ball was rolled to him in the box.

Arsenal also had promising breaks that didn’t take advantage of. Zinchenko and Rice saw shots blocked before Havertz dragged wide in the box.

In the end both teams had to settle for a point, though both sets of players gave everything for the maximum points.

WHAT’S NEXT

Arsenal return to action after Christmas, facing West Ham at home on December 28. That’s Arsenal’s 19th Premier League game of the season, bringing them to the halfway point of the campaign. Arsenal  then conclude 2023 away to Fulham on New Year’s Eve.

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SOURCE: Arsenal.com



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