Arsenal muzzle Liverpool and keep hope alive / League Cup / Half / Liverpool-Arsenal (0-0) / SOFOOT.com

Outnumbered after the expulsion of Granit Xhaka after a big twenty minutes, Arsenal perfectly resisted the onslaught of Liverpool. Everything therefore remains open in this League Cup semi-final before the return leg, scheduled for next week in north London.

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal

Expulsion: Jacket (24e) for the Gunners

Chelsea will have to wait a little longer to be fixed on their future opponent, at the end of February at Wembley. Indeed, if Anfield thought of attending a semi-final second leg, it was only the first leg that they played Reds and Gunners this Thursday. Blame it on that damn Covid. Everything will therefore be played in a week right at the Emirates Stadium, after 90 minutes where an Arsenal in numerical inferiority will have above all sought to resist the opposing attacks, without managing to create a surprise on the few blows which have arisen. The essential is nevertheless assured for the men of Arteta, who keep the hope of winning a title, four days after their sad exit from the road in the FA Cup.

The Misadventures of Granit Xhaka

From the first minutes, the tone is set: intensity, big duels and Reds who suffocate their adversary slowly. Gabriel sends an insane backward ball which ends in a corner (5e), before Henderson was too short to wrap up after blocking Ramsdale’s clearance (12e). On a new hot situation, White also comes close to stopping his own (13e). But no one fulfills this role better in recent seasons than Granit Xhaka, who clears in the chest of poor Jota in the position of last defender, earning the right to return prematurely to take his shower (24e). Paradoxically, the tactical readjustment of Mikel Arteta and the move to five behind allow the Londoners to better withstand the shock. A few years ago, Arsenal would probably have flinched in such circumstances, but this young guard from Canonniers has found the soul (and a good dose of Ventoline) to hold up against a Liverpool lacking ideas in the last 30 meters.

We didn’t come here to suffer, okay?

Fifteen minutes to catch your breath and a message to convey to Arsenal: the Londoners did not come to the banks of the Mersey as expiatory victims. So the Gunners decide to suffer less from events by leaving their box at the slightest opportunity thanks to pretty ball exits. Despite the mastery of the leather, Fabinho and his friends remain under threat, while Saka makes sure that Alisson has not gone to take a nap with a good free kick (58e), before seeing the Brazilian goalkeeper come out very far from his goal (61e). On the other side of the field, chances remain a rare commodity for Klopp’s men, who can do nothing in front of Minamino’s too cross shot (68e). At a control near Saka in the box, Arsenal could even have afforded the big shot (71e), but must finally turn their backs until the end in a once again unbreathable end to the match. Without breaking, thanks in particular to a big miss from the same Minamino (90e). See you next Thursday on the lawn of the Emirates Stadium to decide.
Liverpool (4-3-3) : Alisson – Alexander-Arnold (Williams, 76e), Matip (Gómez, 76e), Van Dijk, Robertson – Henderson, Fabinho (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 76e), Milner (C. Jones, 61e) –Minamino, Firmino, Jota. Coach: Jürgen Klopp.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) : Ramsdale – Soares (Chambers, 11e), White, Gabriel, Tierney – Xhaka, Lokonga – Saka (Tavares, 81e), Lacazette, Martinelli – Nketiah (Holding, 28e). Coach: Mikel Arteta.

By Tom Binet

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