Arsenal squandered a two-goal lead before being beaten by Liverpool 5-4 on penalties to crash out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round on Wednesday.
It was the hosts who broke the deadlock early on through a Shkodran Mustafi own goal. But, Arsenal grabbed a two-goal lead after scoring thrice in 15 minutes, with Lucas Torreira bringing the game back on level terms before Gabriel Martinelli netted a brace. However, just ahead of half-time, Liverpool pulled a goal back courtesy James Milner, who calmly converted his penalty.
Within minutes after the interval, Arsenal restored their two-goal cushion, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles finding the back of an open net after a deft flick by Mesut Ozil. But, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 4-3 with a wonder goal before Divock Origi levelled things up with a fantastic turn and finish. Joe Willock then put Arsenal ahead for the second time with a superbly driven finish.
But, there was late drama in store as Origi scored the final goal of the game with an acrobatic finish. In the shootout, Dani Ceballos missed the only penalty before Curtis Jones scored the decisive spot-kick. With Arsenal bowing out of the Carabao Cup, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Unai Emery’s men.
Emiliano Martinez: 6/10
Usually a goalkeeper who has conceded five goals in a game does not get such a relatively high rating. But, Martinez could not have done anything to stop any of the goals. Was beaten all ends up by Shkodran Mustafi’s own goal while the last three strikes were simply too good to be saved; the fifth was a penalty. Could not stop any of the spot-kicks in the shootout.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
The best defender in the game across both sides, Bellerin took a major step towards reclaiming his place as a regular. A major reason why Divock Origi was kept silent in the first 45 minutes, the Spaniard did not give his marker an inch before he was moved to the right flank. Did not charge forward frequently but always posed a threat whenever he did. Scored his side’s first penalty.
Shkodran Mustafi: 4/10
From the good to the bad, Mustafi had another night to forget, starting with the own goal. He was then guilty of being too casual with the ball at his feet all night long before the nightmare was over when he lost track of Origi when the Liverpool striker made it 5-5.
Rob Holding: 5/10
Holding was better than Mustafi on the night, but that hardly says much. On so many occasions, the young defender was dragged out of position and he was turned too easily for Origi’s first goal of the night. Much more assured on the ball, however, a minor positive from his performance.
Sead Kolasinac: 5/10
As has been the case for Kolasinac all through his Arsenal career, he looked suspect at the back and left a bit too much space in behind him for the opening goal. Did not make much of an impact going forward, which is considered to be his USP, so to speak. An all round sub-par showing.
Lucas Torreira: 7/10
In the right place at the right time, Torreira scored the equaliser for Arsenal in the 19th minute, although he should have been pulled back for offside. Produced an energetic performance in the middle of the park thereafter, also winning the ball in the lead-up to the third goal his side scored. Surprisingly taken off for Dani Ceballos, ridding Arsenal of defensive stability in midfield.
Joe Willock: 7/10
After the horrors that were his performances against Sheffield United and Vitoria SC, this was much better from Willock. The youngster linked up well with Mesut Ozil and always looked to keep things ticking. Put in a shift off the ball, but the moment of the night for him was the stunner of a long-range goal, driving forward before unleashing a thunderbolt from 25 yards out.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
Another player who had produced a stinker last time he was on the pitch. Quite a turnaround then against Liverpool, with Maitland-Niles not shying away from taking James Milner on while also doing his bit defensively. Scorer the easiest goal of the night after he was served the ball on a platter by Ozil, with an open goal to aim at. But, he lost the ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain for his goal.
Mesut Ozil: 8/10
There has been much ado about Ozil’s absence from the scenes at Arsenal this season. And, against Liverpool, the German playmaker provided a timely reminder of his abilities to Emery. Always looking to make things happen, he drove the Gunners forward whenever he had the ball. Had more touches than any other Arsenal player (44) and showed unparalleled vision time and again.
Mesut Ozil vs Liverpool:
92% pass success rate
44 touches (team high)
2 key passes
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) October 30, 2019
Most importantly, Ozil was instrumental in three of the four goals that Arsenal scored while he was on the pitch, first finding teammates in acres of spaces before showing typically tremendous awareness to flick the ball to Maitland-Niles. Inexplicably the first to be hooked off and Arsenal did not have any control in the game thereafter. Needs to be trusted more by his manager.
Bukayo Saka: 7/10
Another step in the right direction for Saka, who asked questions of Neco Williams all night long. Looked to take his full-back on at every given opportunity and pressed hard to win the ball back quickly. The pass from Ozil led to his shot, which rebounded into the path of Torreira for the first Arsenal goal before combining with the playmaker for Martinelli’s second of the evening.
Gabriel Martinelli: 8/10
A player who just does not cease to impress every time he puts on the Arsenal colours. A bundle of energy from the word go, Martinelli started the move that led to Torreira’s goal before getting his name on the score sheet himself, twice. Conceded a penalty ahead of half-time, although in fairness, Harvey Elliott did seem to dive to win it.
Ought to have grabbed a hat-trick and put the game to bed with two other opportunities that came his way, but that is only a minor negative. Up to seven goals for the season, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has more strikes to his name among Arsenal players and no other teenager in the top five European leagues has scored more than him. A first Premier League start is not far away.
Matteo Guendouzi: 6/10
On for Ozil, Guendouzi did add more defensive nous in the middle of the park but was unable to control the game as well as the incumbent had. A bad substitution, although that is not on him. Made no mistake in scoring his penalty in the shootout.
Dani Ceballos: 4/10
Ceballos should have provided the forward thrust in the final third that Arsenal were missing in the absence of Ozil. But, for a second successive game at Anfield, the Spaniard was a shell of a player he is at his best. Failed to convert his spot-kick before Arsenal were booted out of the Carabao Cup.
Kieran Tierney: N/A
A late substitution for a struggling Kolasinac, Tierney had little time to make an impact, with Liverpool in the ascendancy when he came on.