Earlier this season, Mauricio Pochettino quite rightly said: “Football is a game of mistakes.”
The Argentine’s calamitous Chelsea side have done their best to prove him right but Arsenal and Liverpool delivered plenty of supporting evidence themselves on Sunday afternoon, with both teams benefitting from bone-headed blunders.
Arsenal managed to come out on top in a truly chaotic contest, winning 3-1 to reignite their tilt for the Premier League title.
Bukayo Saka’s opener ensured that the Gunners have scored the first goal in each of their last four league matches against Liverpool – the first time Arsenal have achieved such a feat in this fixture since 1970.
Played to a deafening soundtrack inside the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal were well worth their early lead, suffocating the visitors with a coordinated press. The Gunners had been just as sharp against Liverpool in the FA Cup last month but were painfully profligate in front of goal.
Kai Havertz hadn’t discovered his ruthless streak. The German, starting in place of the injured Gabriel Jesus, latched on to Martin Odegaard’s wonderfully cushioned pass but tamely prodded the ball into Alisson’s chest. Fortunately for the Gunners, Saka was on hand to gobble up the rebound and fire Arsenal into a familiar lead.
Arsenal may have forced their way ahead regularly against Liverpool but actually holding on to that advantage has been far less common.
Arteta’s side were entirely and utterly in control as the first half ticked into stoppage time, denying the visitors a single shot on target. Yet, Jurgen Klopp’s side still somehow scuttled into the interval with the scores level.
William Saliba characteristically anticipated a pass over the top, shifting his hulking frame between Luis Diaz and the ball. David Raya didn’t take his cue to pick the ball up, allowing Diaz to blindly hook his boot around Saliba. Diaz’s stab was directed away from Arsenal’s goal but cannoned off Gabriel’s arm, trundling over the line.
In place of the Benny Hill theme, a hush descended around the…