Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
Going into the game, the Gunners had not tasted success against Jurgen Klopp’s side in any of their previous five meetings against them.
However, all of Arsenal’s pre-match nerves went out of the window within a minute as they took an early lead.
With just 58 seconds on the clock, Gabriel Martinelli latched onto a superb Martin Odegaard through-ball, before coolly finishing beyond Alisson from inside the area to shock the visitors.
Liverpool regained their composure and just after the half-hour mark they had their leveller as Luis Diaz’s cut-back from the right flank was well converted by Darwin Nunez.
The visitors were then dealt a blow in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, as Martinelli’s low cross was tapped in at the back post by Bukayo Saka to round off a clinical Arsenal counter attack.
In the 53rd minute and against the run of play, Liverpool equalised for the second time in the match, as half-time substitute Roberto Firmino placed an effort into the far corner from inside the penalty area after a superb through-ball from Diogo Jota to play him in.
For the next half hour, Liverpool were on the ropes, and with 15 minutes left on the clock, Thiago fouled Gabriel Jesus in the box and the Gunners were awarded a penalty. Saka calmly slotted the spot-kick into the bottom-left corner to seal a famous win for Arsenal in front of their joyous supporters.
TALKING POINT – ARSENAL SHOW STATEMENT OF INTENT
Despite being the early pace-setters this season in the Premier League, critics of this Arsenal team have previously mentioned that they struggle to make it count against sides in the traditional ‘top six’. Well, they have silenced those doubters for now, as this win against Liverpool backs up their success against North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur last time out, and the Emirates Stadium continues to be their fortress.
The Gunners have found it tough against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side over the years, and in recent meetings between the clubs, goals have proven very hard to come by for the North London outfit. Today, however, Arsenal made the most of an unusually frail Liverpool back-line with their quick tempo in transition, often using the wings to fashion opportunities. Both Martinelli and Saka were outstanding again.
After three seasons of question marks as to where Arteta was taking this team, it now all seems to have clicked, as the Gunners have a clear identity and plan, and may become the dark horses of the Premier League and put together an unlikely title charge.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – GABRIEL MARTINELLI
What an outstanding performance from the 21-year-old Brazilian, who ran the show on the left-hand side for Arsenal. His battle against Trent Alexander-Arnold only went one way, as the Liverpool right-back did not know how to stop him.
Martinelli is really showing his worth to his Arsenal side with his recent performances. His raw pace combined with his goal threat in behind continues to cause defences across the Premier League all sorts of problems, and Arteta will hope his young star can keep up this rich vein of form.
In addition to his two direct goal involvements (a goal and an assist), Martinelli completed two key passes, and won an offensive aeriel duel.
Arsenal: Ramsdale 6, White 6, Saliba 6, Gabriel 6, Tomiyasu 7, Partey 7, Xhaka 7, Martinelli 8, Odegaard 7, Saka 8, Jesus 7. Subs: Tierney 6, Nketiah 6, Vieira 6.
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 5, Matip 6, Van Dijk 6, Tsimikas 6, Thiago 5, Henderson 6, Salah 6, Jota 7, Diaz 7, Nunez 7. Subs: Firmino 7, Elliott 6, Gomez 6, Konate 6, Fabinho 6.
1’ – GOAL! (Gabriel Martinelli) – The home side take an early lead, and Liverpool have been cut open! Saka breaks down the right and has the freedom of the Emirates. He cuts inside and plays a pass central to Odegaard ahead of him, who picks out Martinelli with a sublime through-ball inside the area, and the Brazilian winger coolly slots the ball past his countryman Alisson and into the net!
30’ – KEY SAVE! – Liverpool attack and Nunez gets the ball in the right channel once again. He then arrows in a low cross into the area, but Saliba accidentally diverts it towards his own goal, and Ramsdale is forced into making the save to keep him from scoring an own goal!
34’ – GOAL! (Darwin Nunez) – Nunez strikes for Liverpool and it’s 1-1 at the Emirates! A long ball from Alexander Arnold is headed down by Diaz, before he cuts the ball back from the right flank into the Uruguayan’s path, and the striker makes no mistake from close range.
45+5’ – GOAL! (Bukayo Saka) – Arsenal retake the lead just before half-time! Liverpool have a free-kick from deep, and Arsenal clear it as it arrived in the box and hit them on the break! Martinelli is released down the left, and runs with the ball a good 20-yards and gets past Alexander-Arnold easily as the Liverpool defender wrongly shows him inside. This prompts the Brazilian to send in a low ball across the box, and Saka has an easy tap-in from inside the six-yard box at the back post.
53’ – GOAL! (Roberto Firmino) – That goal was against the run of play, but Liverpool will not care! Firmino strikes! Jota plays a beautiful through ball from midfield for the Brazilian, who still has a lot to do from a tight angle. However, he places a fantastic strike with his left foot into the far corner past Ramsdale to score his tenth goal against Arsenal!
73’ – GOAL! (Bukayo Saka penalty) – Liverpool once again scramble to hack the ball clear, and in the middle of it, Thiago clips the heel of Jesus inside the penalty area, and Michael Oliver points to the spot! Saka coolly places the penalty right into the bottom-left corner past Alisson to restore Arsenal’s lead.