Last season we also kicked off our Premiership campaign on the Mersey, only this time around we were playing Liverpool, not Everton. Against Everton we walked out of the stadium in delight and were convinced it would finally be our season, we had won 6-1. This time, however, we walked through the Anfield exits feeling that all too unpleasant familiar feeling. It wasn’t quite akin to walking alone but it sure felt like justice had not been served.
We were dominant in possession and…… Only that was it. We were dominant in possession and there wasn’t much more we could say. We rarely threatened the Liverpool goal – barely creating a chance worthy of the term – and yet we cleared a chance off of the line, were a goal behind and still managed to sneak away from Anfield with a point. So why did the majority of Gooners walking out of Anfield feel aggrieved and disappointed?
Indeed Liverpool were a man light for forty five minutes but this clearly only galvanised them. It was not the first time we have seen a team perform better after having a man sent off.
Perhaps the highs this team have offered us, like Everton away last season, mislead us into believing these are the types of results which our brand of football will typically deliver. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Results are testimony to that. It’s not that the Liverpool result on Sunday is the anomaly, rather, it is the Everton result which stands out.
The 6-1 victory on the Mersey was the exception, not the rule. Travelling Gooners need no longer lament, only reassess our expectations. Liverpool are no longer an established part of the grand four but they remain a strong team with credible intentions of finishing in the upper echelons of the division. Some Liverpool fans before and after Sunday’s game even insisted with typically droll Scouse humour that a challenge for the title is a realistic aspiration. Liverpool fans were the ones who considered the last minute equaliser a disaster. We had just stolen a point at Anfield yet most Arsenal fans walked out of the stadium as if we had just lost the game.
Unlike the majority of Arsenal fans I agree with Arsene’s post match statement. The players kept chasing a cause that frequently appeared lost and will surely be satisfied that the effort was rewarded. The glorious victories that read like bank mortgage rates (7.1 apr) only end up meaning something if they are supported by unimpressive draws on days when the team hasn’t performed as they ought to have done.
Wasn’t this the type of performance that league winning campaigns are made of? Winning away to Everton 6-1 on the opening day of the season promised much but delivered nothing. Snatching a draw in the final moments at Anfield is just the type of thing this Arsenal side have failed to do in recent years. It might have been lucky but that is a necessity for any triumph. Just before 6pm we turned a corner at Anfield. Instead of lamenting we Gooners should have been celebrating.