Premier League

Player ratings as Alisson & Van Dijk howlers keep Gunners in title race

Player ratings as Alisson & Van Dijk howlers keep Gunners in title race

Arsenal kept their Premier League title hopes alive with a huge 3-1 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday.

Facing the prospect of falling eight points behind with defeat, Arsenal brought one of their best performances of the season as they roared into an early lead courtesy of Bukayo Saka.

Gabriel Magalhaes’ comical own goal on the stroke of half-time set up an intriguing second half, but the humour reached its peak when Alisson and Virgil van Dijk conspired to hand Gabriel Martinelli a simple go-ahead goal.

Ibrahima Konate was shown a second yellow card in the dying embers, before substitute Leandro Trossard fired through Alisson in stoppage time to seal a stunning win.

How the game unfolded

Arsenal’s high press was causing problems for Liverpool in the opening stages but their first real sight of goal came from a counter. Martinelli went fizzing down the left wing and floated a cross in to Saka, whose diving header should have found the back of the net but ended up drifting wide.

The Gunners’ pressure did not ease, however, and Saka crashed home just a few minutes later. Kai Havertz’s strike was parried into his path by Alisson and, clearly more comfortable with his feet, the Englishman atoned for his earlier error with a composed finish.

Martin Odegaard was the next player to be handed a chance by Liverpool’s nervous back line, but the skipper’s strike was well closed down by Van Dijk.

Liverpool slowly started to figure themselves out eventually but still lacked their usual fluidity in attack. It looked like they were set to head into the break deservedly behind but, against the run of play, the tenacious Diaz inspired an utterly chaotic equaliser.

William Saliba’s refusal to clear his lines in the box allowed a desperate Diaz to flick the ball back across the six-yard box and into the path of an unwitting Gabriel, who punched into his own net to tie things up.

Liverpool came out hot after the interval, with both Alexis Mac Allister and Curtis Jones striking wide from long range inside the first few minutes.

The shaky back line continued to plague Liverpool, however. A hopeful punt up to Martinelli caused all sorts of chaos between the retreating Van Dijk and the onrushing Alisson, but the duo failed to clear their lines and instead handed Martinelli an empty net to restore Arsenal’s advantage.

A second yellow card saw Konate sent for an early bath shortly before the 90-minute mark, after which Trossard drove between Alisson’s legs to remove any…

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