Hits and misses: Liverpool wasteful again as Emery haunts Arsenal

Arsenal must respond to Arteta’s challenge

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports’ Gail Davis and Joe Shread discuss Arsenal’s damaging defeat by Aston Villa at the Emirates

Aston Villa’s win at the Emirates isn’t quite as devastating to Arsenal’s title hopes as Brighton’s victory in north London in May last year but it has the same effect – handing the initiative to Manchester City in the title race.

Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Unai Emery, their former manager, means they missed the chance to return to the top of the table, instead handing champions City a two-point lead with six games to play.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mikel Arteta says his side must prove their mental strength after their Premier League defeat to Aston Villa and wants to see a reaction against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday

While there are 18 points still to play for, the signs are ominous for Arsenal and fellow title chasers Liverpool. City are six games from a fourth successive title for a reason – they know how to close things out at this stage of the season.

Mikel Arteta’s reaction to the defeat felt pointed. The manager admitted he expected his side to suffer a setback during the run-in but urged his side to “stand up”, adding: “The moment is now”.

Arteta has challenged his side to show they are stronger than 12 months ago, when they blew their lead at the top of the table as City were crowned again.

How Arsenal respond to this defeat, as well as their manager’s words, will be instructive. Victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday will show lessons have been learned – but a Champions League exit will leave a second consecutive season in danger of fizzling out.
Joe Shread

Liverpool’s finishing will cost them the title

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s win against Liverpool in the Premier League.

At least the blame can be shared. Darwin Nunez should have scored but so should his replacement Diogo Jota. Curtis Jones will be wondering how he missed but the midfielder can share that frustration with the team’s star forward Mohamed Salah.

Crystal Palace defended gamely in beating Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield and will feel their resilience was rewarded but the home side can only look to their own finishing. Jamie Carragher felt they could have had four. Jamie Redknapp opted for six instead.

The sober statistical analysis provided by Opta suggests that the expected-goals figure for the chances created by Liverpool was almost three. The reality is that they scored none. This wastefulness as a decisive stage of the season is likely to prove costly.

Liverpool are being outscored in the Premier League title race by Manchester City and Arsenal. Not by much. But it is significant because Jurgen Klopp’s side have actually created many more chances than their rivals. The contrast in finishing is marked.

City would have been expected to score 68 goals from their chances but have actually scored 76. Arsenal would have been expected to score 62 goals from their chances but have actually scored 75. But Liverpool’s chances, worth 75 goals, have yielded only 72.

Nunez’s lack of composure in front of goal is well documented and it is perhaps no surprise that City have been colder but Arsenal too? That is damning. Salah, once such a clinical finisher, is underperforming his expected goals for the second season in a row.

It has been a recurring theme of late, costing them two points against Manchester United at OId Trafford. Here, it was all three. No crisis, just a disappointment. And likely to prove the difference between Liverpool and their rivals in this Premier League title race.
Adam Bate

Phenomenal Emery returns to haunt Arsenal

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Aston Villa’s win over Arsenal in the Premier League

It just had to happen, didn’t it? On the weekend Arsenal could have moved one point clear at the top of the Premier League with just six games remaining, they’re haunted by their former boss Unai Emery.

It was all set up for Arsenal to take pole position in the title race, with Liverpool being stunned at home by Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday, but the Gunners were left shocked themselves in front of their own fans.

While the headlines will be about Arsenal squandering their chance to return to the summit, it’s important to praise Villa for what Gary Neville described as an “outstanding” display. Emery’s side have big ambitions of their own and are now in a great position to finish in the top four following Tottenham’s heavy defeat at Newcastle on Saturday.

Paul Merson believes Villa, who have not finished higher than fifth since 1997, are underrated and he has a point. Emery took over a side languishing near the bottom of the league in October 2022 and has since led them to within touching distance of Champions League football and a European trophy.

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery returned to haunt former club Arsenal at the Emirates
Aston Villa boss Unai Emery returned to haunt former club Arsenal at the Emirates

His appointment at Arsenal six years ago came at the wrong time but there is no doubt Emery is a phenomenal coach. The 52-year-old guided the Gunners to fifth place in his one full season in charge and while they have undoubtedly improved under Mikel Arteta, Emery could well have ruined their chances of winning their first title since 2004.

After completing the double over Arsenal this campaign, Emery has now lost just one of his seven games in all competitions against them. How pivotal will this result against his ex-employers prove to be?
Dan Sansom

Plucky Palace enjoy Anfield more than any other

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Crystal Palace boss Oliver Glasner says his side’s mentality, passion and spirit was the key to their shock victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

A lot of cliched football sayings are bogus. Born out of idle pub chat, usually after a lemonade or two. But the phrase ‘bogey team’ holds genuine merit. Liverpool’s is Crystal Palace.

The Eagles are the first opposition side to win three Premier League games at Anfield since Jurgen Klopp took charge. No other team has won there more than once. And this latest triumph eclipsed all others.

Liverpool’s expected goals total reached 2.87 – their most on record in a game in which they did not score (since 2010-11). The brilliance of Joachim Andersen and makeshift centre-back partner Jefferson Lerma made sure of that.

Andersen made 14 clearances, seven of those headed, the most of any player on the pitch. Lerma won 100 per cent of his aerial duels too. It was a brilliantly controlled, calm, and at times heroic performance from a side whose defensive record has been patchy.

This was Liverpool’s first home league defeat since October 2022, but their second in the space of four days in all competitions after falling to Atalanta on Thursday. Jurgen Klopp had promised a reaction to that, but didn’t account for Palace’s dogged determination and defiance, best summed up by Tyrick Mitchell’s stretch to block Mo Salah in second-half stoppage time.

Oliver Glasner’s team can breathe much easier now, with the reward daylight between themselves and the drop zone.
Laura Hunter

Silva finally bringing the best out of mercurial Pereira

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Fulham’s win against West Ham in the Premier League.

English audiences first set eyes on Andreas Pereira in a Man Utd shirt a decade ago, although he went on to only make 45 appearances in total during a stop-start career at Old Trafford, including loans to Granada, Valencia, Lazio and Flamengo, before Marco Silva decided to bring him to west London in July 2022.

The Portuguese backed his man-management skills and coaching abilities to get the best out of the, at times, frustrating Brazil international and that is exactly what he has done.

Silva spoke in the aftermath of Fulham’s 2-0 win at West Ham, in which Pereira starred to score his first-ever Premier League double, of how he has changed the player’s position in midfield to help bring the best out of him.

“This afternoon the plan was clear for him,” said Silva in his post-match press conference. “We said to never be [in front] of the two West Ham midfielders. We wanted him in the pockets, between the lines, that’s how we planned the game. About him arriving in the box, that’s something we’re demanding of him.”

And boy did the 28-year-old heed his manager’s advice at the London Stadium to bring up his 12th goal involvement in 40 matches in all competitions so far this season, with Pereira specifically running over to embrace his manager on the touchline after opening the scoring with the duo’s close bond there for all to see.
Richard Morgan

Ad content | Stream Sky Sports on NOW


Stream Sky Sports live with no contract on a Month or Day membership on NOW. Instant access to live action from the Premier League, EFL, F1, England Cricket and so much more.

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top