Rob Holding, David Luiz and Emiliano Martinez were among the top performers as Arsenal churned out a shock 2-1 win over Liverpool on Wednesday.
Arsenal bounced back to winning form in the most unexpected way possible, securing a 2-1 win over newly-crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.
On a night when Mikel Arteta rested most of his key players in light of the upcoming FA fixture against Manchester City, the Gunners were rather fortunate after initially conceding a 20th minute goal to Sadio Mane.
𝗕𝗜𝗚. 𝗪. ✊#ARSLIV
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 15, 2020
Indeed, the north London giants were virtually gifted a way back into the game when Virgil van Dijk made a horrendous error around the half-hour mark to allow Alexander Lacazette to reap the rewards, as the Frenchman calmly put the ball in the back of the net.
Liverpool committed another error just before half-time – this time through Alisson, whose poor clearance went straight to Lacazette. The Arsenal striker cleverly crossed the ball towards Reiss Nelson, who made it 2-1, with the goal being enough to help the Gunners seal a famous victory despite some intense second half pressure from the Reds.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Arsenal players following their win over Liverpool on Wednesday evening.
Emiliano Martinez: 7.5/10
During the first phase of the game, Emiliano Martinez’s rather careless attempted long ball was blocked by Roberto Firmino and the rebound hit the bar before going out of play. That was the only mistake from an otherwise excellent performance from the Argentine, between the sticks for Arsenal.
Indeed, Martinez was solid with his claims, while his handling was top-notch. His extraordinary save in the final minute of the game was the highlight of his performances since the injury of Bernd Leno.
Atajada de nivel mundial.
— La Heladera De Bielsa (@HeladeraDelLoco) July 15, 2020
Rob Holding: 8/10
Replacing Shkodran Mustafi in central defence, Rob Holding put in an outstanding effort against Liverpool. His unrivalled work-ethic and aerial prowess made it easier for Arsenal to deal with the long balls, with the defender also making numerous blocks to help preserve his side’s slender lead. Certainly a candidate for being the man of the match.
David Luiz: 7.5/10
David Luiz wasn’t as effective as Holding during the defensive phases. But the Brazilian played a key role in organising the Arsenal backline that somehow managed to repel an attacking onslaught from the Liverpool side throughout the course of the second half.
Kieran Tierney: 7.5/10
Kieran Tierney ought to have done a better job of keeping track of Mane running into the box in the first half. That was the only minor blip in an otherwise brilliant defensive effort from the Scot. He was focused and his communication with both Luiz and Holding caught the eye.
Cedric Soares: 5/10
Starting at the expense of the influential Hector Bellerin, Cedric had massive boots to fill at right wing-back. He didn’t exactly excel at the job and should have been a little more proactive in stopping the cross from the right flank for the Liverpool goal. He was subbed off during the final phase of the game.
Lucas Torreira: 4/10
It was always going to be a difficult outing for Lucas Torreira, who was starting a game for the first time in six months. He duly struggled in imposing his dominance in the middle of the park, often getting isolated by the Liverpool midfielders. His substitution in the second half was a good decision by Arteta.
Granit Xhaka: 7.5/10
Much like Torreira, Granit Xhaka had difficulties in imposing his presence in midfield. However, the Swiss international soldiered on till the very end, with his courage and determination epitomising Arsenal’s performance during the defensive phases against Liverpool. The former Arsenal captain also impressed in his passing game when he was given enough time to thread one.
Bukayo Saka: 4/10
A forgettable evening for Bukayo Saka, who was given very little autonomy on the left flank. He spent most of the time trying to keep tabs on Trent Alexander-Arnold and did not get the chance to showcase his offensive prowess at all.
Reiss Nelson: 7/10
When Nelson was subbed off just before the hour mark, he had already done his job, having forced van Dijk to make an error for the first goal while scoring the second one himself thanks to some excellent composure. Aside from the goals, however, it was a rather quiet evening for the Englishman.
Alexandre Lacazette: 8/10
Lacazette was barely given a chance to showcase his attacking potential, with Liverpool dominating the possession. However, the Frenchman’s excellent finish for the first goal and the cross to feed Nelson for the second goal turned out to be quite a difference maker between the two sides. A top effort from Arsenal’s skipper on the day. A possible turnaround brewing after a difficult season?
Alexandre Lacazette’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
100% dribbles completed
82% pass accuracy
3/3 tackles won
1 big chance created
Stepped up massively in the restart.🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/zhHvL3s4Fr
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 15, 2020
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Nicolas Pepe had to endure the entire ninety minutes despite showing obvious signs of fatigue. He barely had the opportunity to properly initiate an Arsenal attack, but that did not deter the Ivorian from putting pressure on the Liverpool centre-backs and forcing them to commit to forward balls earlier than what was ideal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
Replacing Nelson just before the hour mark, Aubameyang offered fresh legs in Arsenal’s first line of press, however nonexistent it may have looked. The Gabonese most notably created a decent opportunity for the Gunners in the very final minute of regulation time.
Dani Ceballos: 6/10
Dani Ceballos sparked more energy in the Arsenal midfield after replacing Torreira in the 57th minute. His presence also allowed Xhaka to be much more proactive in the defensive side of the game.
Joe Willock: 5/10
Willock did not make much of an impact after replacing Lacazette. He also wasted an excellent chance late in the game with his half-volleyed effort going way off target. The technique was missing.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was quite useful on the right flank, where he provided much more energy and athleticism than Cedric. His expert defending to prevent Mane from having a shot on goal was one of the key moments in the second half.
Sead Kolasinac: N/A
Kolasinac replaced the tiring and the rather ineffective Saka in the 85th minute and offered aggression on the left flank. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, though.