Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal: Lackluster Arsenal Fails To Beat Nine And A Half Men

Result: Liverpool 1 – 1 Arsenal (Ngog 46’, Reina [OG] 90’)

Touted as the big match of the opening Premiership weekend, Liverpool and their new manager hosted an Arsenal side sporting ridiculously shining yellow attires. The football on display was not far from shoddy and both teams looked disinterested in the first half. Arsenal, as a part of training ground custom, passed the ball among each other without any purpose. Liverpool sat in their own half and decided to ‘Mourinho’ Arsenal’s attack, while keeping the leggy Ngog ahead, in case he would be of any need during counter-attacks.

In middle of all the melancholy, Thomas Vermaelen sent a screamer towards the Liverpool goal and Jose Reina parried it away with some difficulty. On the other side, Liverpool’s hairless new signing Milan Jovanovic wasted a decent chance by shooting at the stars.

A few minutes later, Manuel Almunia made an excellent tip-over-post save to a thundering Glenn Johnson left-footed drive. Just before half-time, Joe Cole was sent off for the first time in his career for a rash challenge on Laurent Koscielny. ‘Football pundits’ believed it deserved just a yellow card, but then football pundits never agree to referees anyways.

Apr. 04, 2010 - Birmingham, West MIdlands, United Kingdom - epa02103973 Liverpool FC's David Ngog shoots during the Barclays English Premiership soccer match between Birmingham City FC and Liverpool FC at St Andrews Stadium in Birmingham Britain, 04 April 2010.A perfectly taken shot – Ngog

Koscielny, who was ‘stretchered off’ on account of that Joe Cole tackle, happily jogged his way into the scheme of things in the second half, much to the surprise of the Anfield faithful. Almost immediately after the break, Ngog sent a cracking shot past a dazed Almunia in a tight angle, after being sent through by Javier Mascherano to hand Liverpool lead against the run of play.

By the hour mark, Arsenal replaced Wilshere and a disappointed Eboue with Theo Walcott and Thomas Rosicky. It was a tactical change and many believed ‘things’ would change and the momentum would shift. But, nothing of that sort happened. Arsenal played ‘their game’ and didn’t bother Reina except for one brilliant move by Rosicky, which forced the Spaniard into a great leaping save.

An injured Daniel Agger, with a possible concussion, made it almost nine and a half men for Liverpool, but it failed to motivate Arsenal to change the tempo of their game. The match seemed to end with Liverpool pulling off a historic win on the opening day of the season, but alas, Reina had other plans.

Otherwise a safe head, the Spaniard ineptly pushed the ball into back of his own net after Chamakh tried scoring from a Rosicky cross in the dying moments of the match. Before the final whistle, the referee showed second yellow and subsequent red to Arsenal debutant Koscielny for handling the ball, which looked more ludicrous than Arsenal’s football this evening.

Reina gifts Arsenal a point

TheHardTackle’s Player of The Match:
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
The Liverpool captain looked like a man on a mission, as he led his team with an immaculate ‘presence’ all over the field. Inspirational performance from the veteran playmaker.

TheHardTackle’s Joke of The Match:
Andrei Arshavin (Arsenal)
The first goal happened because of a mindless pass from the Russian to the path of Mascherano. Apart from that, Arshavin regularly lost balls in the field and never tried to recover them back.

TheHardTackle’s Referee’s Report Card 
Martin Atkinson – ‘D’ (Poor)
The referee was wide off the mark with most of his decisions. The ‘Joe Cole’ sending off was harsh while the Koscielny ‘red card’ was ridiculous.

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MATCH STATISTICS
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
Venue: Anfield, England
Attendance: 44,722

Liverpool line-up:  Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Jovanovic (Maxi 65′), Mascherano (Lucas 78′), Kuyt, Cole, Ngog (Torres 73′)
Unused Subs: Cavalieri, Aurelio, Babel, Kelly
Manager: Roy Hodgson                                                                                                       
Cautions: Gerrard – 71′
Sent Off: Joe Cole – 45′
Scorers: Ngog – 46′

Arsenal line-up:  Almunia, Clichy, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Diaby(van Persie 75′), Nasri, Eboue (Walcott 59′), Sagna, Wilshere (Rosicky 59′), Arshavin, Chamakh
Unused Subs: Fabianski, Vela, Song, Gibbs
Manager: Arsen Wenger                                                                                                       
Cautions: Wilshere – 41′, Rosicky – 85′, Koscielny – 92′
Sent Off: Koscielny – 94′
Scorers: Reina [OG] – 90′

  • Spammy

    Messi saw RED!!!! ohh wait.. was it Joe ColeE??? ehhh Stevie G 😀 😀

  • Happy Chap

    messi got red in his first game for Argentina…may be Stevie G was referring to that one when he compared joe cole with the little argentine

  • This is Anfield

    Wenger was yet again found saying, ” I missed the Joe Cole challenge” and we believe him.

    @ Sounak: I think the ref was fair in giving Koscielny a 2nd yellow, as Toress would have been through had it not been for a raised arm

  • @This is Anfield: It wasn’t a raised arm. It was a ball-to-hand rather than hand-to-ball moment. Ngog handled the ball some time back without being cautioned. So there.

  • Kris Sreekanth

    Referee was poor, but strangely consistent. Hope it’s not a sign of the times to come in terms of refereeing.

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