It’s a result that I would have taken before the start of the game. A draw against Liverpool in the very first game of the season without 3 of our first choice starters (although Robin Van Persie did get 15 minutes or so) and a dodgy keeper is not altogether a bad result. Yes, on the balance of the play and the fact that home the side played with one man less for the entire second half does not make us look good but it is an acceptable result nonetheless.
We did not move the ball around that much and Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin was invincible at best. The former was up against 2 strong central defenders on his own and it was not easy. He did played his part in the equaliser though on any other day, a foul might have been called against him. The latter offered close to nothing for the entire game. These periods of nothingness are becoming more and more consistent from the supposedly magical little Russian.
Manuel Almunia once again showed just why Wenger has been flirting with Mark Scharwzer all summer. How can keepers that are trained everyday to catch balls from crosses or corners suddenly becomes nervous in games. His few moments of hesitancy and preference to punch rather than catch almost cost us. Any keeper would be very upset to get beaten in his near post and perhaps his positioning could’ve been much better to prevent that, but it was a venomous shot from David Ngog.
Jack Wilshere saw plenty of the ball in the first half of his full league début for Arsenal. The young English lad was tidy in possession and showed some bite, especially with that lunge on Javier Mascherano. He showed good discipline in the centre of the park and did not do any of his famed mazy runs, pretty much simple football. Wilshere would not be pleased to look back at the replay and the park he played in Liverpool’s goal. He had time to control the ball instead of playing it first time and completely missing the ball to allow, ironically Mascherano to nicked the ball.
I think we got ourselves another decent defender in Laurent Koscielny. Calmness personified, the French/Polish centreback held off almost everything that Liverpool threw at him. He was cynically clattered by Joe Cole towards the end of the first half and the Liverpool débutant headed for an early shower. Koscielny showed good pace to prevent Fernando Torres from sprinting clear. His sending off was harsh but there is nothing the referee could do. Looks a tidy player and we will miss him against Blackpool next week. I just hope that Johan Djourou recovers in time.
From the match’s perspective, Arsenal should have won this game. We played almost with handbrakes on and it showed. However, a draw in our first game is not the end of the world. More work on the training ground and we try again next week to kick-start our season.
Oh…and karma’s telling us that if you mess with Cesc and Arsenal in particular, it does not pay.