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All Reds Held by Ten Men Gunners

Posted by aguntuk On December - 22 - 2008   
Liverpool´s Robbie Keane celebrates his goal against Arsenal during a Premiership match at the Emirates Stadium, London. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Liverpool´s Robbie Keane celebrates his goal against Arsenal during a Premiership match at the Emirates Stadium, London. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Liverpool only managed to get a point, holding by the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal also survived to not to loose the match after their hitman Emmanuel Adebayor’s controversial dismissal.

Both the teams started the match hoping for the victory. But both of them failed.

Arsene Wenger’s side were reduced to 10 men early in the second half at the Emirates Stadium when referee showed Togo striker Adebayor a second yellow card for barging into Alvaro Arbeloa.

The Gunners took the lead in the first half through Robin van Persie before Robbie Keane equalized.

Liverpool were without their boss Benitez, who was recovering from surgery. Lucas Leiva and Emiliano Insua also featured in place of the injured Andrea Dossena and flu victim Javier Mascherano.

The Gunners made the only change in the starting line up, replacing Abou Diaby with Samir Nasri.

Van Persie scoring the only goal for Arsenal against Liverpool in the English Premier League last night

Van Persie scoring the only goal for Arsenal against Liverpool in the English Premier League last night

Both the teams were playing cautiously. But among them Arsenal were more aggressive. They controlled the ball more than the All Reds. That is why their possession of the ball is much more than Liverpool.

Both teams had some small attackes. Steven Gerrard firing straight at Manuel Almunia after some good hold up play by Robbie Keane before Emmanuel Adebayor’s header from Bacary Sagna’s cross was claimed by Pepe Reina.

Suddenly there was more energy to Arsenal. They snapped into tackles and zipped the ball about with intent before conjuring a sublime goal in the 24th minute.

It was a glorious goal. A superb 60 yard pass from Nasri, which is found by van Persie on the edge of the box. The Dutchman received the ball on the chest to down, before a superb second touch took the ball away from Jamie Carragher and allowed him space to slam it home right footed but Robbie Keane punished poor defending to draw Liverpool level before half-time.

After the first goal Arsenal looed relaxed. Their defense was full os mistakes. And they paid for that.

The number of phone conversations going on down on the Liverpool bench suggested Benitez, in touch from his sick bed, wasn’t a happy man. But he would have been celebrating in front of the television as Liverpool snatched an equaliser against the run of play in the 42nd minute.

Agger’s long punt forward should have been dealt with by Johan Djourou, but he allowed the ball to bounce past him and Keane took full advantage, sprinting clear of the Arsenal defender before driving a first-time shot past Almunia.

Emmanuel Adebayor is sent off against Liverpool.

Emmanuel Adebayor is sent off against Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard should have put Liverpool ahead on the stroke of half-time when Dirk Kuyt crossed low into the six-yard box, but his stretching effort sailed over.

There were more bad news for the Gunners, when their captain Cesc Febregas limped off with a knee injury at half-time following a crunching tackle from Xabi Alonso, with Abou Diaby coming on for the Arsenal captain.

Liverpool picked up where they left off before the break and Lucas’s powerful shot from the edge of the area forced a fine save from Almunia.

Wenger’s side had just begun to build up a little momentum when Adebayor, already on a booking, sent Arbeloa sprawling in the 57th minute. Webb hesitated for a moment, then showed Adebayor a second yellow card to the fury of Wenger and the home fans.

Adebayor made little contact but the intent was there and Arsenal had to settle for a point that left both sides unsatisfied. Arsenal’s anger was clear and every Liverpool tackle was greeted with cries for booking.

The decision infuriated both the Arsenal crowd and a frustrated Arsene Wenger on the touchline and with the tempo well and truly raised, the tackles began to fly in with Sagna and van Persie both going into the book for rash challenges, swiftly followed by Jamie Carragher.

But after that Arsenal looked more energetic. They were keen to score a goal. Liverpoll played badly at that time. Indeed the closest the visitors came was a speculative shot from range by Agger that just missed the top corner and a header from substitute El Zhar that flew inches wide.

It was not enough and Liverpool, unable to make their man advantage count, had to settle for a draw and what they may feel is a missed opportunity.

The Gunners boss has voiced his confusion over the Reds' perceived lack of intent in last night's all-action clash at the Emirates

The Gunners boss has voiced his confusion over the Reds

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed he felt his side would have beaten Liverpool if striker Emmanuel Adebayor had not been sent off.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, the Arsenal boss rued the sending off. He said: “I believe that staying with 11 men we would have won this game. We were a bit nervy at the start. And in the first half I felt we played a bit too deep in our midfield and didn’t have enough control of the game.”

However, the Frenchman also admitted he was proud of his players’ battling display. Wenger explained: “I think I am very proud of the spirit we have shown overall and the strength that we finished the game with.”

The point keeps Arsenal in fifth place in the Premier League and Wenger hailed their overall display. He concluded: “I believe that this time had to swim against the stream. I see them behave every day, I know how strong they are, how united they are and that came out today.”

Official man-of-the-match van Persie was happy with his goal. “If you look at the goal it was a nice goal, one touch on my chest. It was a good goal,” he told Sky sports though when asked whether it had been “Bergkampesque,” added: “I’m not sure about that.”

On the sending off incident, van Persie continued: “I did not see it but he (Adebayor) told me he did not touch him so I have to believe him.”

Reds boss Rafa Benitez, watching from his sick bed after an operation to remove kidney stones, must have been frustrated at Liverpool’s failure to make their one-man advantage count.

There won’t be much Christmas cheer in the Benitez household if Chelsea take advantage of Liverpool’s slip to go top with a win at Everton on Monday.

GOALS

Arsenal (van Persie, 24)

Liverpool (Keane, 42)

Line Ups

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Djourou, Gallas, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas (Diaby, 46), Song, Nasri (Eboue, 90 +1), Adebayor, Van Persie.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Lucas (Ngog, 88), Alonso, Riera (Babel, 71), Gerrard, Keane (El Zhar, 81).

Watch the goals and highlights of the match

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