The Warmdown: Arsenal's unbeaten run comes to an end at Anfield
Bukayo Saka of Arsenal battles for possession with Thiago Alcantara and Kostas Tsimikas of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side succumbed to their first league defeat in recent memory, as hosts Liverpool managed to put four past a hard-working defensive unit.

The Gunners appeared a united front for much of the first half, reflecting much of the form that we have become so accustomed to in recent weeks.

The defensive triad of Aaron Ramsdale, Benjamin White and Gabriel managed to keep the Merseyside outfit at bay for much of the first half, displaying a resilience that the Arsenal faithful have been looking for in such difficult games as this. 

Prior to conceding, Ramsdale seemed somewhat unbeatable once again, pulling out stops and saves that we associate with world class goalkeepers at the top of their game.

But it was a set piece that proved to be the undoing of the north London side, as a superb ball in from Trent Alexander-Arnold found Sadio Mane, who nodded past a floundering Ramsdale just minutes before half-time. 

  • Touchline fracas

There was another interesting moment in an otherwise relatively uneventful first half. Liverpool's Mane lead with his arm when challenging for a lofted ball against Takehiro Tomiyasu - sending manager Mikel Arteta absolutely apoplectic on the touchline.

Jurgen Klopp clearly disagreed with the Spanish coach, as the two furiously came face to face in the Anfield dugout - forcing referee Michael Oliver to dish out a yellow card to them both. 

From this point forward, there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere inside the ground, lifting the performance of the Liverpool squad, as the Merseyside crowds are so renowned for doing. 

Arsenal fans took to social media to express their delight for seeing the passion from Arteta and his coaching staff, despite the poor conduct that both managers displayed. 

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gestures to Juergen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 20, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

 

  • Individual errors

When heading out for the second half, most Arsenal fans would have hoped that they would be able to edge their way back into the tie, but just seven minutes into the second half, these hopes were dashed. 

Following a fantastic recovery of the ball in the defensive third, Gunners left back Nuno Tavares played a sloppy ball straight into the path of an advancing Diogo Jota, who cooly floored White and Ramsdale with a drop of the shoulder, slotting the ball into an empty net. 

With a two goal deficit away at one of the best teams in the world, the floodgates opened for the remainder of the game. Liverpool piled the pressure onto a nervous looking, mistake ridden Arsenal midfield, who simply could not cope with the onslaught. 

Liverpool's third came from Mohamed Salah, who was found at the back post by Mane following a turnover of possession in midfield.

The fourth and final goal came just minutes after the third, as substitute Takumi Minamino slotted in another cross towards the back post, putting the final nail in the coffin for Mikel Arteta's side. 

  • Is it all so bad?

While the pain still remains for Arsenal fans, as it is never easy to lose so heavily to a traditional rival, it is important not to get too carried away. 

Liverpool remain to be one of the strongest teams in the league, and Arsenal, to put it bluntly, are not. The Gunners have made huge strides forwards in the Premier League this season - following their torrid start to the campaign, they have grown to be a side that look genuinely threatening in attack, and much more organised at the back. 

Heavy defeats at the hands of rivals can feel as if the club is imploding, but context is hugely important. Despite the defeat, the Gunners still find themselves in fifth place - had you offered that to fans after GW3, they wouldn't have just bitten your hand off, they would have likely taken your whole arm with it.  

It is imperative that Arteta's side can recollect themselves before they host last-placed Newcastle United, who will likely put up much more of a fight with new manager Eddie Howe at the helm.

Three points against the Magpies would put the Gunners in a greta position as they head into the following fixture - a trip to Old Trafford to face an out of form Manchester United, who will likely be lead by interim manager Michael Carrick. 

In the coming weeks, Arsenal fans can hope that this result at Anfield will be nothing more than a blip in the ubiquitous process that is taking place at the club. Heads up, Gooners, and onto next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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