Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from heroic Carabao Cup draw

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Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

For the neutral that will probably go down as one of the least inspiring matches of the season. For those of an Arsenal affiliation, it was an exhilarating display of determination.

With the rearranged fixtures playing heavily into Liverpool’s favour – what a convenient turn of events – Arsenal headed to Anfield with confidence low and numbers depleted.

The loss to Nottingham Forest was an uncharacteristically limp and lifeless performance, with the players involved asked to pick themselves up and dust themselves down again for this one due to a frightening lack of options in the squad.

Mikel Arteta has refused to draw excuses from the situation, but even he must have been feeling like his side are up against it in every which way when Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders after 24 minutes, just at the point where Arsenal were starting to get a foothold in the match.

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield

It was an unenviable position to be in as he was left on his own to cover the speedy Jota, but as the most experienced player on that pitch for Arsenal there is no excusing the idiotic nature of a tackle he doesn’t have to commit.

That set the tie up for another 4-0 drubbing. It happened to Arsenal with 11 players earlier in the season and with water breaks needing to be swapped for oxygen tank sessions given the amount of energy exerted, the clock began ticking very slowly.

Arteta saw only one solution, having initially dabbled with the thought of Nuno Tavares coming on, and it paid off.

Switching to a 5-3-1 formation that included Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli as central midfielders, Arsenal held on valiantly for a 0-0 draw, registering as many shots on target as their numerically advantaged hosts. There were, of course, multiple positives to draw from the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool is challenged by Rob Holding, Ben White and Gabriel of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

1. Defensive Solidity a la George Graham

When you survive more than 70 minutes away at Anfield with ten men and restrict your opponents to the solitary shot on target, you deserve a pat on the back. Two, actually.

In securing a goalless draw, Arsenal became the first side to stop Liverpool scoring at Anfield across all competitions this season. And they had ten men.

It’s an interesting note that has run through all of Arteta’s tenure, that whenever the team has to play low block football they’ve been solid doing so. The FA Cup run in his first season stands out, and then on other occasions, like against Manchester City on New Year’s Day, they kept the best side in world football at bay only for a lucky bounce to be their undoing.

Defensively, there was George Graham’s stamp all over this display: gutsy, disciplined, determined and unified. The Scot would have been proud of this team for the way they banded together, defended their zones, and maintained aggression throughout. Even Arsene Wenger had a strong record in his early Arsenal years with ten men. It appears to have rubbed off.

There is no way to leave that match and not be proud of the effort on show. Even with ten men behind the ball, Arsenal still had the endeavour to try and shift through the thirds whenever they could. The Arteta flair was there amid the Graham resolve.

Continued on next page…

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

For the neutral that will probably go down as one of the least inspiring matches of the season. For those of an Arsenal affiliation, it was an exhilarating display of determination.

With the rearranged fixtures playing heavily into Liverpool’s favour – what a convenient turn of events – Arsenal headed to Anfield with confidence low and numbers depleted.

The loss to Nottingham Forest was an uncharacteristically limp and lifeless performance, with the players involved asked to pick themselves up and dust themselves down again for this one due to a frightening lack of options in the squad.

Mikel Arteta has refused to draw excuses from the situation, but even he must have been feeling like his side are up against it in every which way when Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders after 24 minutes, just at the point where Arsenal were starting to get a foothold in the match.

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield

It was an unenviable position to be in as he was left on his own to cover the speedy Jota, but as the most experienced player on that pitch for Arsenal there is no excusing the idiotic nature of a tackle he doesn’t have to commit.

That set the tie up for another 4-0 drubbing. It happened to Arsenal with 11 players earlier in the season and with water breaks needing to be swapped for oxygen tank sessions given the amount of energy exerted, the clock began ticking very slowly.

Arteta saw only one solution, having initially dabbled with the thought of Nuno Tavares coming on, and it paid off.

Switching to a 5-3-1 formation that included Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli as central midfielders, Arsenal held on valiantly for a 0-0 draw, registering as many shots on target as their numerically advantaged hosts. There were, of course, multiple positives to draw from the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool is challenged by Rob Holding, Ben White and Gabriel of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

1. Defensive Solidity a la George Graham

When you survive more than 70 minutes away at Anfield with ten men and restrict your opponents to the solitary shot on target, you deserve a pat on the back. Two, actually.

In securing a goalless draw, Arsenal became the first side to stop Liverpool scoring at Anfield across all competitions this season. And they had ten men.

It’s an interesting note that has run through all of Arteta’s tenure, that whenever the team has to play low block football they’ve been solid doing so. The FA Cup run in his first season stands out, and then on other occasions, like against Manchester City on New Year’s Day, they kept the best side in world football at bay only for a lucky bounce to be their undoing.

Defensively, there was George Graham’s stamp all over this display: gutsy, disciplined, determined and unified. The Scot would have been proud of this team for the way they banded together, defended their zones, and maintained aggression throughout. Even Arsene Wenger had a strong record in his early Arsenal years with ten men. It appears to have rubbed off.

There is no way to leave that match and not be proud of the effort on show. Even with ten men behind the ball, Arsenal still had the endeavour to try and shift through the thirds whenever they could. The Arteta flair was there amid the Graham resolve.

Continued on next page…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 13: The Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur club crests on their first team home shirts on May 13, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus)

2. Much-Needed Confidence Ahead of Tottenham

It still goes down as the best performance Arsenal have produced under Arteta, regardless of the result. Everything about the Manchester City display instilled the greatest belief that this team is taking serious strides towards challenging at the top of the Premier League.

But they still lost.

And to follow that up, the abysmal defeat at Nottingham Forest where Arsenal didn’t lay a glove on their Championship opponents despite fielding a side almost identical to the one at Anfield will have instilled lingering doubts in the players’ minds.

While we can use the adage of the form book going out of the window in derby matches, we can’t skirt past the prospect of an away trip Arsenal haven’t secured victory in for over six years being significantly tougher off the back of three straight defeats.

As much as everyone wants to taste silverware this season, it is all about returning to the Champions League, which will do wonders for ‘the process’ being undertaken. Victory against Spurs would have a seismic impact on securing those goals.

This is a welcome boost of confidence….if the game even goes ahead on Sunday.

Continued on next page…

Liverpool’s Japanese midfielder Takumi Minamino (C) vies with Arsenal’s English defender Calum Chambers (R) during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

3. Chambers Performance Shows Suitability to System

Putting the record straight, neither Cedric nor Calum Chambers are at the standard required to play for this club. They just aren’t, and events at Anfield don’t change that.

Why, though, has Arteta’s calling card when Takehiro Tomiyasu hasn’t been available been to field Cedric? Ignoring the quality aspect, from a profile perspective the 30-year-old is the least akin to Tomiyasu than any of the other right-back options at the club.

When he went off injured after ten minutes and Chambers went on, the fact that Arsenal went down to ten men meant it was actually beneficial that the forced change was made. Cedric is better in the opposition half than he is in his own.

To his credit, Chambers put a real shift in.

There were the obvious moments where he lacked in quality, like a few wayward crosses, but that can also partly be down to him being rusty on account of the mere 296 minutes of football he’d played all season long. What he did do, was read the game superbly and defend his box manfully, something he’s not been best known for.

Winning seven ground duels and making eight clearances, the shift he put in might have been 80% commitment more than anything. It still did the job, and showed his suitability to this system over his much-maligned teammate.

Fingers, and toes, are still firmly crossed that Tomiyasu can be back for Spurs. If he isn’t there will be panic. Yet, for Chambers’ sake as much as Arsenal’s, a display like that will do him the world of good should be be given the nod in the derby.

Continued on next page…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Mikel Arteta of Arsenal congratulates his players after the final whistle during the Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

4. It’s Advantage Arsenal in Quest for Silverware

Content pre-game with a sh*thouse draw where Arsenal had about 25% possession and two shots, that was near enough exactly what fans were served up, except it came with ten men for 70 minutes.

Missing a gluttony of players through various absences, to not only come away from Anfield without conceding, but to actually now be favourites to progress into the final of this competition is about as good of an outcome as could have been realistically envisaged.

A lot will obviously depend on who is available for the second leg, as well as the respective recoveries for all the players who ran themselves into the Anfield ground. As a one off match, however, Arsenal will back themselves to beat anyone on home soil.

In a strange way, this feels like a Premier League point was secured, not a draw in the first leg of a semi-final. Given away goals don’t count, this game was effectively scratched off completely.

The trio of Emile Smith Rowe, Tomiyasu and Martin Odegaard should have returned for the reverse leg, while by that time it’s expected that Arsenal will have signed a midfielder on loan – likely to be Arthur – and the fear that gripped the team ahead of the first game will be swapped for belief that a Wembley showpiece can be booked.

Next:Tottenham vs Arsenal preview: NLD

One game, at home, against a Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah-less Liverpool? Bring it on.

>


Page 2

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 13: The Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur club crests on their first team home shirts on May 13, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus)

It still goes down as the best performance Arsenal have produced under Arteta, regardless of the result. Everything about the Manchester City display instilled the greatest belief that this team is taking serious strides towards challenging at the top of the Premier League.

But they still lost.

And to follow that up, the abysmal defeat at Nottingham Forest where Arsenal didn’t lay a glove on their Championship opponents despite fielding a side almost identical to the one at Anfield will have instilled lingering doubts in the players’ minds.

While we can use the adage of the form book going out of the window in derby matches, we can’t skirt past the prospect of an away trip Arsenal haven’t secured victory in for over six years being significantly tougher off the back of three straight defeats.

As much as everyone wants to taste silverware this season, it is all about returning to the Champions League, which will do wonders for ‘the process’ being undertaken. Victory against Spurs would have a seismic impact on securing those goals.

This is a welcome boost of confidence….if the game even goes ahead on Sunday.

Continued on next page…

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

For the neutral that will probably go down as one of the least inspiring matches of the season. For those of an Arsenal affiliation, it was an exhilarating display of determination.

With the rearranged fixtures playing heavily into Liverpool’s favour – what a convenient turn of events – Arsenal headed to Anfield with confidence low and numbers depleted.

The loss to Nottingham Forest was an uncharacteristically limp and lifeless performance, with the players involved asked to pick themselves up and dust themselves down again for this one due to a frightening lack of options in the squad.

Mikel Arteta has refused to draw excuses from the situation, but even he must have been feeling like his side are up against it in every which way when Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders after 24 minutes, just at the point where Arsenal were starting to get a foothold in the match.

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal: 4 positives from Mikel Arteta’s side after heroic Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw at Anfield

It was an unenviable position to be in as he was left on his own to cover the speedy Jota, but as the most experienced player on that pitch for Arsenal there is no excusing the idiotic nature of a tackle he doesn’t have to commit.

That set the tie up for another 4-0 drubbing. It happened to Arsenal with 11 players earlier in the season and with water breaks needing to be swapped for oxygen tank sessions given the amount of energy exerted, the clock began ticking very slowly.

Arteta saw only one solution, having initially dabbled with the thought of Nuno Tavares coming on, and it paid off.

Switching to a 5-3-1 formation that included Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli as central midfielders, Arsenal held on valiantly for a 0-0 draw, registering as many shots on target as their numerically advantaged hosts. There were, of course, multiple positives to draw from the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool is challenged by Rob Holding, Ben White and Gabriel of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

1. Defensive Solidity a la George Graham

When you survive more than 70 minutes away at Anfield with ten men and restrict your opponents to the solitary shot on target, you deserve a pat on the back. Two, actually.

In securing a goalless draw, Arsenal became the first side to stop Liverpool scoring at Anfield across all competitions this season. And they had ten men.

It’s an interesting note that has run through all of Arteta’s tenure, that whenever the team has to play low block football they’ve been solid doing so. The FA Cup run in his first season stands out, and then on other occasions, like against Manchester City on New Year’s Day, they kept the best side in world football at bay only for a lucky bounce to be their undoing.

Defensively, there was George Graham’s stamp all over this display: gutsy, disciplined, determined and unified. The Scot would have been proud of this team for the way they banded together, defended their zones, and maintained aggression throughout. Even Arsene Wenger had a strong record in his early Arsenal years with ten men. It appears to have rubbed off.

There is no way to leave that match and not be proud of the effort on show. Even with ten men behind the ball, Arsenal still had the endeavour to try and shift through the thirds whenever they could. The Arteta flair was there amid the Graham resolve.

Continued on next page…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 13: The Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur club crests on their first team home shirts on May 13, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Visionhaus)

2. Much-Needed Confidence Ahead of Tottenham

It still goes down as the best performance Arsenal have produced under Arteta, regardless of the result. Everything about the Manchester City display instilled the greatest belief that this team is taking serious strides towards challenging at the top of the Premier League.

But they still lost.

And to follow that up, the abysmal defeat at Nottingham Forest where Arsenal didn’t lay a glove on their Championship opponents despite fielding a side almost identical to the one at Anfield will have instilled lingering doubts in the players’ minds.

While we can use the adage of the form book going out of the window in derby matches, we can’t skirt past the prospect of an away trip Arsenal haven’t secured victory in for over six years being significantly tougher off the back of three straight defeats.

As much as everyone wants to taste silverware this season, it is all about returning to the Champions League, which will do wonders for ‘the process’ being undertaken. Victory against Spurs would have a seismic impact on securing those goals.

This is a welcome boost of confidence….if the game even goes ahead on Sunday.

Continued on next page…

Liverpool’s Japanese midfielder Takumi Minamino (C) vies with Arsenal’s English defender Calum Chambers (R) during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

3. Chambers Performance Shows Suitability to System

Putting the record straight, neither Cedric nor Calum Chambers are at the standard required to play for this club. They just aren’t, and events at Anfield don’t change that.

Why, though, has Arteta’s calling card when Takehiro Tomiyasu hasn’t been available been to field Cedric? Ignoring the quality aspect, from a profile perspective the 30-year-old is the least akin to Tomiyasu than any of the other right-back options at the club.

When he went off injured after ten minutes and Chambers went on, the fact that Arsenal went down to ten men meant it was actually beneficial that the forced change was made. Cedric is better in the opposition half than he is in his own.

To his credit, Chambers put a real shift in.

There were the obvious moments where he lacked in quality, like a few wayward crosses, but that can also partly be down to him being rusty on account of the mere 296 minutes of football he’d played all season long. What he did do, was read the game superbly and defend his box manfully, something he’s not been best known for.

Winning seven ground duels and making eight clearances, the shift he put in might have been 80% commitment more than anything. It still did the job, and showed his suitability to this system over his much-maligned teammate.

Fingers, and toes, are still firmly crossed that Tomiyasu can be back for Spurs. If he isn’t there will be panic. Yet, for Chambers’ sake as much as Arsenal’s, a display like that will do him the world of good should be be given the nod in the derby.

Continued on next page…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Mikel Arteta of Arsenal congratulates his players after the final whistle during the Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

4. It’s Advantage Arsenal in Quest for Silverware

Content pre-game with a sh*thouse draw where Arsenal had about 25% possession and two shots, that was near enough exactly what fans were served up, except it came with ten men for 70 minutes.

Missing a gluttony of players through various absences, to not only come away from Anfield without conceding, but to actually now be favourites to progress into the final of this competition is about as good of an outcome as could have been realistically envisaged.

A lot will obviously depend on who is available for the second leg, as well as the respective recoveries for all the players who ran themselves into the Anfield ground. As a one off match, however, Arsenal will back themselves to beat anyone on home soil.

In a strange way, this feels like a Premier League point was secured, not a draw in the first leg of a semi-final. Given away goals don’t count, this game was effectively scratched off completely.

The trio of Emile Smith Rowe, Tomiyasu and Martin Odegaard should have returned for the reverse leg, while by that time it’s expected that Arsenal will have signed a midfielder on loan – likely to be Arthur – and the fear that gripped the team ahead of the first game will be swapped for belief that a Wembley showpiece can be booked.

Next:Tottenham vs Arsenal preview: NLD

One game, at home, against a Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah-less Liverpool? Bring it on.

>

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