Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
So that’s how to win a Premier League match when you are decidedly second best!
With top scorer and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left on the bench – presumably with Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in mind – the SBOBET Premier League 2020 betting odds on a home win would have been pushed even further adrift before kick-off.
But that didn’t stop Arsenal from claiming a morale-boosting win, just three days after defeat in the North London derby, to beat the newly crowned champions and ensure they can not equal or indeed eclipse the points record tally set by Manchester City (100) two seasons ago.
In truth, this was a game which Liverpool will have been frustrated to lose after being in control for long spells as they were ruthlessly punished by the Gunners for two mistakes.
Highlights of the game
Such a result didn’t look on the cards early on, particularly 20 minutes in when Sadio Mane slid home a cross from left-back Andrew Robertson.
Before that, Roberto Firmino charged down a wayward clearance by the otherwise impressive home keeper Emiliano Martinez and the ball cannoned back off the post and it was virtually one-way traffic.
Then came the turnaround.
First, Virgil van Dijk played the ball straight to Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal’s saviour in this fixture last season – and the Frenchman coolly rounded goalkeeper Alisson and slotted home the equaliser.
Then, just before half-time, Lacazette was alert again as he intercepted a pass by Alisson and delivered an early cross which a gleeful Reiss Nelson swept home for his first-ever top-flight goal for Arsenal.
Arsenal had scored with their first two shots on target.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp looked on almost in disbelief. His side had now conceded 10 goals in their last five Premier League away games – as many as in their previous 19 league games on the road.
Into the second period and the pattern of the game remained as Mo Salah went close, Martinez produced a fine save to deny the Egyptian talisman and visiting substitute Takumi Minamino went close with a snapshot.
However, as the game wore on, for all their possession, Liverpool were becoming understandably frustrated as Arsenal displayed a willingness to put their bodies on the line to hold onto their lead – perhaps one or two players giving coach Mikel Arteta an insight they may be worth keeping next season.
Indeed, home sub Joe Willock sliced a great opportunity wide which would have put a misleading gloss on the scoreline for the hosts.
Another terrific Martinez save to keep out full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold in stoppage time capped a terrific night for Arsenal, even if their Premier League 2020 highlights largely came gift wrapped.
Perhaps Arsenal can win ugly after all!
This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win against Liverpool in 10 attempts since a 4-1 victory at the Emirates in April 2015 (drawn four, lost five).
It was also only their second victory this term against established top-six teams.
This was also the first time Klopp has suffered defeat against the Gunners in the league (won five drawn three, lost one).
Until tonight, Liverpool had lost only one of their 52 Premier League matches in which Mane had scored, since a 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth in December 2016.
It was the Merseysiders’ first defeat in a game in which they had opened the scoring since April 2017, ending a run of 83 consecutive league games without losing after scoring first.
Lacazette has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games, as many as he managed in his previous 16 combined in the competition.
This was Arsenal’s first Premier League win against the team starting at the top of the table since February 2016, losing each of their previous five.
It’s another quick turnaround for Arsenal. They play their third game in less than a week on Saturday when they take on FA Cup holders Manchester City in the first semi-final of this year’s competition at Wembley.
It’s then a trip to battling Aston Villa next Tuesday (July 21) for their penultimate Premier League game.
Liverpool have a week off now and will play Chelsea at home next Wednesday before receiving the Premier League trophy, albeit not in front of their support but in a ceremony at the Kop end of Anfield.
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