And that was that.
We never had a great record away to Arsenal, and given our recent stumbles and their recent form, I was incredibly nervous going into the match sans Skrtel. When the team sheet came out, I figured Markovic was wing-back again, with Henderson, Allen and Lucas to shore up the midfield.
Instead, Henderson was shoved to the wings, likely to defend against Sanchez. It didn’t work. We had to endure 10 agonising minutes of Arsenal passing domination, and Mignolet saved us 2 times with world-class saves. Then we finally got into the game, even dominating. Then, disaster struck.
3 goals in 8 minutes.
Moreno switched off for the 1st. Toure bumbled throughout the game, gifting the 3rd. Mignolet failed to deal with Ozil’s free kick on his side, conceding the 2nd. It was a shambles. After that, we seemed to lose all energy, only half-heartedly pressing. Throwing on Sturridge at half-time for Markovic made sense on paper, but Markovic played better than Sterling in my opinion, and Sturridge has a tendency to slow down our play these days.
We pulled back a goal via a penalty, but Bellerin should have been sent off and wasn’t. Then Can was sent off, a smack to the face. Giroud scored a 4th. Thrashed by Arsenal, as if it was revenge for the 5-1 last season. Top 4 seems so distant now.
No one really came out of the match blameless, except perhaps Sakho. Lucas was rusty, but was okay in the 2nd half, which begs the question: why play him and Toure? I understand the rationale, but surely it can’t be difficult to switch to a 4-3-3? Since Swansea, every team that’s played us has sussed out our 3-4-3. Yet Rodgers hasn’t done anything, allowing us to get dominated in midfield and on the wings.
Hopefully it serves as a wake-up call for Rodgers and the team. It’s tough being a football fan.