In the last Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Liverpool, there was a gulf in class of epic proportions between the old rivals. Liverpool’s 4-0 win displayed just how good the Reds can be going forward, while it once again revealed that Arsenal’s defence was simply not good enough.
Arsenal’s back-three were exposed as they put in one of the worst defensive performances the fans will have likely seen from their team. Time and time again, the three centre-halves were beaten in the air, the wing-backs were caught dreaming of going forward, while the team’s possession play was about as un-Arsenal as many have ever seen it.
What really led them to their heavy defeat was the inability of Aaron Ramsay and Granit Xhaka in defensive midfield though. The two were of course tasked with keeping the ball and moving it on intelligently, but the majority of their duties would have been to shield the defence, something they did not ever threaten to do.
Indeed, many picked up on the moment that the midfield ‘partners’ were on opposite sides of the pitch to one another for no apparent reason. Of course, Arsenal will claim they have learned the lesson from this defeat, but Arsene Wenger needs to make the right choices in the middle.
There was a lack of energy and commitment in their loss to Liverpool, so perhaps a start for the rejuvenated Jack Wilshere in the midfield would aid Arsenal. The question now must be: who should partner Wilshere in that defensive role in the team?