As the world celebrates the joy of the festive season, it isn’t jingle all the way for the Gunners and the Reds. The Christmas fixture kickstarted as one of the most exciting matches of all time, when Arsenal and Liverpool locked horns at the Emirates in their effort to file a strong claim for the Champions League spot. The game proved to be a six-goal thriller as it ended 3-3 after a scintillating second-half.
The first-half was fully controlled by the visitors who kept creating opportunities inside the Arsenal box and deservingly earned a first-half lead when Mohamed Salah’s cross for Coutinho was deflected off Laurent Koscielny and fell favorably before the Brazilian, who made no mistake and sent it into the back of the net with a looping header. Firminho missed a couple of golden opportunities, so did Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who should have scored one each to take the game beyond the Gunners’ reach in the opening half. The half-time whistle was greeted by boos as the first-half ended 1-0 in favor of the visitors.
Arsenal had to respond and respond quickly in the second half or settle for a reflection of the thumping at Anfield. Liverpool continued their dominance and soon doubled the lead minutes into the second-half via Mohamed Salah who picked up Firmino’s pass and his shot took a deflection off Shkodran Mustafi to beat past Petr Cech.
In a span of five minutes, the narrative of the game changed almost completely and the Emirates was breathing again. Alexis Sanchez made full use of Joe Gomez’s mistake and scored from close range connecting Bellerin’s cross. Granit Xhaka’s long-range effort was misjudged disastrously by Simon Mignolet and it was Mesut Ozil who scored seconds later with his trademark scuffed finish.
The game however was not over, a goal was always on the cards. Roberto Firmino like he always does, scored the equalizer with a decent strike which Petr Cech failed to clear properly. The goalkeepers were graciously giving out Christmas gifts. The game was open as both teams pushed for the winner that could bring some respite to the woeful defensive performance. The game ended at 3-3, marking another high scoring match between the two in recent years.
Yes, Arsenal showed a spirited response in the second half but questions have to be asked about the recurring mistakes that aren’t corrected. Reinforcements are required when the window opens in January, till then one can only hope that winter will be kind.
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Merry Christmas from all of us here at Arsenal Kerala