EPL 2011-12: Arsenal Vs Liverpool Match Time
It’s match time at the Emirates as Liverpool gets set to take on Arsenal on Saturday, August 20, in what promises to be an intriguing match between two teams in transition.
While Liverpool will hope to continue on the upswing that began when Dalglish took the reins from Hodgson last season, Arsenal will hope to learn to cope with life after Fabregas and Nasri.
The last time these two teams met was in April, at the Emirates, a match that extended to 12 minutes of injury time. Van Persie scored off a 98th minute penalty and three points from the game would have kept Arsneal’s title dreams alive. As it transpired, Liverpool had a 102nd minute equaliser, also a penalty, taken by Kuyt. The draw meant a virtual end to the Gunners’ hopes of lifting the Premier League trophy, their last title that they won back in 2005.
Arsene Wenger would have hoped for a good beginning to the current campaign, away at St James Park, on August 13, to boost his men’s morale. The match was a case of possession without scoring for Arsenal who had the ball for 60% of the time. But the game will be best remembered for an ugly spat between Barton and Gervinho that saw Gervinho sent off with a red card.
Eomrvinho went down in the Newcastle area, and though referee Walton chose to ignore the incident, Joey Barton deciced to punish the Arsenal opener for what the Newcastle player considered as a blatant attempt to cheat. Barton grabbed Gervinho’s collar, and the Arsenal debutant responded by slapping the Newcastle man.
As for the match itself, Arsenal had several scoring chances but these came for mistakes by Newcastle rather than any creativity from Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs appeared not to have recovered from a thigh injury he sustained a week before; Arshavin had a few patches of brilliance, and Van Persie appeared rusty from lack of match play.
In Liverpool’s opening match against Sunderland, on Saturday, Suarez showed why he could prove to be the winning edge for Liverpool this season. The Uruguayan, fresh from his winning exploits in the Copa America missed a penalty but within minutes made up for it with a brilliant goal that put the Merseysiders ahead, on 12 minutes. Suarez glanced home a brilliantly delivered free kick from Adams. Sunderland got an equaliser on 57 minutes when a volley from Larsson beat keeper Reina. But in the end it was a disappointing result for Liverpool who showed aggressive intent from the starting whistle. Liverpool were distinctly unlucky that Kieran Richardson who tripped suarez in the area was not sent off in the early minutes of the game; a 10-man Sunderland would have struggled, especially in a first half that saw Liverpool on the attack.
But if the Reds had raised hopes with a brilliant attacking display in the first half, they let down their supporters in the second, as they allowed Sunderland to mount their fight-back. That said, the Merseysiders had many positives in the game, not least the dominating presence of Suarez, supported brilliantly by midfielder Adams, and a show of great energy by Downing.