6 things we learned from Arsenal v Liverpool

Merida celebrates his superb goal

Taking a leaf out of Football365.com’s book, I thought I’d look at 10 things we learned from Arsenal’s 2-1 Carling Cup victory over Liverpool:

1. Aaron Ramsey is ready for the first team

Teaming up with rookie Craig Eastmond and a fit-again Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey  absolutely dominated the midfield today. Strong in the tackle, confident on the ball and as usual, always willing to look for a shot, Ramsey sent out the biggest statement yet that he is ready to make the step up to the first team. Abou Diaby has been warned.

2. Fran Merida is not ‘The New Cesc Fabregas’

He’s quicker. Much quicker. And he moves and plays in a completely different way, his quick feet and general sharpness more akin to Eduardo than anyone else in the current squad. Regardless of who he plays like, the Spaniard was superb on the left today weighing in with an outstanding strike for the opener and an equally as brilliant assist for the second. Like Ramsey, judging from this display, he deserves a shot at more first-team action.

3. Craig Eastmond plays for Arsenal

Raise your hand if you had heard of Craig Eastmond before the game. Oh, put your hand down Jamie! Eastmond did well in his debut in the Alex Song role despite a couple of hairy moments and as with many of his teammates, looks a decent prospect for the future.

4. Nicklas Bendtner is one-of-a-kind

There aren’t many 6’4 strikers going around the traps at the moment that are as difficult to defend against as Nicklas Bendtner. Sure, he struggled a bit more than usual on the wing, spraying some passes and making some very odd decisions, but the Dane was also able to decide the match with a piece of brilliant opportunism. Pouncing on the confusion caused by Merida’s pass to Eduardo, Bendtner powered into the area, showing outstanding strength to hold off one of the Premier League’s in Martin Skrtel before firing a Fernando Torres-like finish into the net. With his unique combination of pace, power, work-rate and sheer unpredictability Bendtner really is a one-of-a-kind player.

5. The goalkeeper mystery remains unsolved

While Lukasz Fabianski did not play poorly today, he showed nothing to suggest things have changed much from last season. Liverpool’s goal was unstoppable (it may have gone over rather than around him – but how much further back could have realistically stood?) and he never looked troubled when the away side fired shots at him, holding onto most efforts like his gloves had glue on them. But just like last season he looked shaky coming out of his area, kicked unconvincingly all game and had a real ‘Jens Lehmann moment’ when handling the ball on the edge of his area. All in all it’s hard to say he did enough to merit a start against Spurs on Saturday and I think it will be out of Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia, with the Spaniard my tip to get the nod.

6. We’ve missed Samir Nasri

Nothing more to add to that really. He was one of our very best players last season and put in an exceptionally neat and tidy performance last night. I’ve often said that he plays like Tomas Rosicky and his general control and ball usage is of a quality that exudes trust and calm among his fellow teammates. Fabregas will be licking his lips.

Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Liverpool by leaving a comment.



  1. I did not see the game – was at work – following it via BBC internet updates. The name Sylvestre kept cropping up and he appeared to be having a good game. Is this correct? How was ‘Big Phil’? Good thing that handball didn’t go against him – probably would have crushed his confidence for all time. The Guardian report (I think it was) said that he dominated Liverpiddle’s attackers.
    With ‘Man-Of-The-Match’ being Ramsey surely it’s time at last for him to replace ‘Dopey’ on a more permanent basis? I mean, why not?
    ‘Good old Arsenal, we’re proud to sing that name. While we sing this song we’ll win-the-game!’

  2. At times the skill of the crown princes left one gasping for breath.
    I do not agree with the commentators about our right back being the man of the match… he made to many passing errors, but tigerish in the tackle.
    One question… where was Wiltshire?
    Liverpool got a football lesson once the ball got to mid field. Our defence was very directionless and Senderoff showed that he belongs in the second team and lower. Only the experience of the Frenchmen at the back was a pluss but his speed relegates him to also rans.
    Gibb was outstanding… another Glichi in the make!
    Our football was sublime and had the local commentators here gasping for breath… in fact on the night i might have backed this side against our no 1 side.
    What a game of football … take a bow guys you were great!

  3. good match; good post!

    the pundits on sky are of the opinion that ramsay and cesc cannot play in the same xi as they are too similar.

    they know for more than us so we must respect their opinion. personally i am not so certain and would like to see ramsay alongside king cesc with song just behind them in the holding position that he has made his own.

    or could ramsay take the holding role when song is away on african nations cup duty in january? dunno.

  4. great performance until the 75th minute when they were exposed as shaky defensively. they became lazy and would not fall back. a chill would run down my spine when big phil, silvestre and fabianski had the ball. eduardo oozed class and beauty, nasri was breathtaking and bendy looked dangerous without trying much. ramsey owned the midfield and the rest were great except the afore mentioned trio. mannone should be our number two. they only need to sort out defensive concerns and they will win this cup

  5. but i feel really bad talking abt senderos and silvestre like that although its true. i just hope and pray that senderos especially, will be hit by a miracle and turn into a great defender. dreaming perhaps?

  6. Nasri is a fantastic player. I can’t wait to see him play with Eduardo & Rosicky. Two players who were not around last year but two players with which he’ll click.

    Craig Eastmond had a good debut. Being out of the position for the Liverpool goal won’t dampen that.

    Ramsey & merida were too lazy for me. I understand that they’re not playing games regularly so their physical conditioning is less than ideal. But their defensive contribution was poor.

  7. I think Nasri should be played against Totten hammers and Diaby be rested and to my own point of view, he is not even fit to be in the Carling cup squad. The Meridas and Ramsy’s are far more better than him. Almunia should be brought to goal because of his experience + Edwardo, V.P, and Eboue upfront.

  8. generally spoken I recognized that the typical first team players like Eduardo, Bendtner and Nasri really fit into the team, they gave everything and I couldn’t see differences to the other youngsters, what I mean is I couldn’t see any special respect to them, it looked all as one in one,
    then I really recognized the work of Nasri, he was very fast and sure with his passing, I mean I agree with your comparisons to Rosicky, not at the whole but really frapping,
    I’m always a bit critical with Bendtner and he manages always to surprise me again, I haven’t put such a goal past him (is that correct?), I mean I never thought he could deliver such an exceptional goal, he has his qualities, I fear I underestimate him a little bit in general;
    there’s not much to mention about Eduardo for me, did his work and did well,
    the other players are too foreign to me, of course the goal from Fran Merida stays in mind, although the leveller was even more outstanding, it stays in mind, great shot ❗ , these are exceptional moments I think and you just can enjoy and watch, astonishing, such goals are always frapping again and therefore the whole match has been perfect (of course the good end for Arsenal did the rest)

  9. I guess the boys are becoming men gradually….. I can see the talent pool will continue to churn out stars for Arsenal, however my concern is to keep them as an entity and other clubs are in deep trouble. I see this crop of guys, if they have their heads screwed to their neck and take all they can from the Prof, ruling the PL in seasons to come. Except for some scary moments, I guess these boys (with d right mix of experience) will deliver this cup to Arsene.. Well done boys..

  10. @ Sussex, i agree about Ramsey. I think Ramsey will get his opportunity in midfield when song is away on african nations cup duty in January. He is still very young but i can see him phasing into the first team, much the same as Cesc did.

  11. generaly pleased with the teams performance,stil a bit nieve at times,givin away possession and think against better teams eg chelsea,man u,man city we would hav been punished.but it was a open game which suited us.and u cant forget it’s a great stage for the young ones to gather much neaded experience in front of a big crowd.nasri,merida,ramsey were impresive and young eastman lookin the part as a defensive midfielder,i seen this kid last year in the reserves playin right back for most of the season but steve bold and craig himself thought midfield would suit his game better.i agree!!the center backs played well esential experience there which i thought won us the game!overall positive and i think they wil get stronger with every game.happy days:)

  12. Good win, they should have had a penalty but hey! The one thing that bothered me is the crowd singing ‘who are ya’!!! Such a moronic thing to sing and should be left to lower class teams!!

  13. aplogies eastmond lol .aa?they beat us remember!and i mean the experience they hav through there team!and i would say go to hell back but your probably already there,see u there soon we can go for a beer and a anal probe.but a intelligent and constructive comment keep up the good work genius

  14. for you blowout.

    i just what to meet man city away next round and beat them with the kids.

    nicky vs adebawhore.

    52 vs 25

    i have been waiting for this.

    then we will see the screw. i mean both of us.

  15. What can I say? It was a terrific match! There was some beautiful passing and 1-2s, some terrific opportunities created for both sides, and – above all else – some beautiful football (when Arsenal wasn’t giving away the bleeding ball!). Luckily for Arsenal, they kept going, and attacking for the full 94 1/2 mins and didn’t switch off at 60-70, which is a bad habit we need to snap out of – and quick, because it is ultimately the biggest reason we are dropping points this season. For what it’s worth, Liverpool fans, your team really tested Fabianski, and, my God, Insua’s equalizer was an absolute beauty of a goal! I’m sure many Gooners will agree with that!

  16. Nasri is my favourite player for us 😉 quick feet, great passing, deserves a first team start every time. If we have nasri, fabregas, rosiky, song. That will shorly be the best mid in the league 🙂 gooner 4 life

  17. @aa you hav to respect wot blowout meant was that city/utd and chels teams wil not feature as many young players as ours andthat their basically half their first team wit fringe players thrown in,you can include villa and spuds in that and you will find blowout is right…the afore mentioned teams all hav way more quality than that pool team last nite so no1 count their chickens it would still be a remarkable acheivement to win this but it will be hugely difficult coming up against these other sides who will play their top players toward the businesss end of the comp
    andy,am dissapointed there was no mention for the outstanding gibbs in your piece,i felt he put in a flawless FULL 90mins and wit clichy being under par of late he may be very close to takin his place….for me he was without a doubt the best player on the field as like ole gunner said at times ramsey and merida simply did not track back at all,add this to the fact that gibbs was up against degen and kuyt and it makes it all the more impressive
    dont get me wrong merida and ramsey were great on the ball but i can distinctly remember occasions where they conceded possession goin forward and the scurrying back was left to eastmond and nasri,for me this is why bith may be a little further off the first team than ud think and why ramsey cudnt play alongside cesc

  18. Nice we beat Liverpool. Good the young Gunners could again. As a Dane I liked very much that Nichlas Bendtner scored our important goal No. two. It was bad for me that I could not see the match at my TV. But I like to read about the match. Hope we will learn Tottenham saturday that we are better than them.

  19. My comments about the 29th Carling Cup b/w the ‘young and only God knows what the future has gunners’is just that,though the boys were so cinvincing in their performance with guality co-ordition from the long-missed Samir Nasir,but Sir Winger which i hold with high esteemed was reluctant in making changes.

    His (Winger)reluctance is not observed in that match alone,but also in the adult gunners’last match. Such gambles are not friendly in any of our matches at this stage of these competitions. God bless gunners

  20. I love the fact that people used to have a go at Adebayor for being lazy, yet also have a pop at Bendtner despite the fact he was clearly working very hard – covered every blade of grass and helped support Gilbert (who in my opinion was absolutely out of his depth). Nick had a poor game in relation to his other performances this season, but he still contributed and took his goal well – yes he probably does rate himself highly, but most good attackers do! He is a young striker who is doing very well at a top club and I think will get even better. Although his passing went astray last night I thought some of his first touches were brilliant.

    Really enjoyed the game, some great football from both sides at times and delighted to see Nasri back – he ran out of steam a bit towards the end understandably, but he is very good on the ball – a very good dribbler in the mould of Hleb, but can actually have a good crack on goal now and again!!

    Ramsey had a good first hour but then faded a bit, think he could be a stonking player, I would happily give him a run in the first team soon. Merida faded as well, but again showed some brilliant awareness and his range of passing was brilliant.

  21. Craig Eastmond had an excellent game in the defensive midfield role. He was always pressing the opposition players and he provided an excellent defensive shield for the back four.

    Gibbs and Merida were also on top form, but Aaron Ramsey was the star of the show for me. The likes of Diaby and Nasri need to watch their backs because it’s only a matter of time before he gets a deserved run in the first team.

    Similar to the first team, we seem to get overrun far too easily when the opposition is hitting us on the counter attack, where huge gaps are being left by us in the middle of the park. This needs to get sorted out in training ASAP.

    I personally felt that Fabianski should’ve done much better with Insua’s goal. Don’t get me wrong; it was a fantastic strike from the Argentinean, however he wasn’t far off his line and yet the ball looped over him. I still think that the number one jersey at Arsenal is up for grabs IMO.

    Bendtner scored an excellent goal in the second half (the build up to this goal was an absolute joy to watch), however his distribution at times (particularly in the first half) was very poor indeed.

    Senderos and Silvestre were solid in the centre of defence (predominantly in the air), although I felt that Gilbert had a tough game last night.

    Overall both sides put on a spectacle of exciting, slick, pass and move football. Just imagine if Wilshire and Vela were able to play last night?

  22. i am glad to see arsenal trump liverpool anyday. i am however concerned about the league. we are one third of the way and i would like to see arsenal hold the ball more and cut the pace of the game when you are 2-0 up. for example at west ham. those three points were quite valuable in looking at the context of where the league is now. thank you please

  23. with wenger likely to use Merida, Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela and Bendtner in the CC this year we have a realistic chance. Merida and Ramsey were both brilliant against a fairly strong Liverpool team. Ramsey controls the game (Fabregas) and Merida has the technical ability to run defenders to the ground (Rosicky). Its looking good 🙂

  24. congrats to pool for coming and trying to win playing football. sick watching teams coming here sticking 10 men behind the ball while trying to break our players legs. both teams served up a good game of football that was a joy to watch. thats how its done sam aldardyse

  25. @aa and @blowout get a room! Great great post Andy. It’s all been said! Great to have Nasri back.

  26. DjDragonfly, good point about being overrun by counter attacks. I think it’s a matter of lack of organization and calmness due to either style shift or misuse of pace or loss of physical strength of some of the players. Players like Clichy and Sagna especially in 07-08 used to show the Attackers the outside and cover the inside and I can’t remember any attacker beating them in the outside or cutting inside them but certainly the opposite since then.

    I hope players like Eastmond keep calm and work their way up and who knows what can happen when song goes to African nations cup.

    I always felt that Bendtner had that finishing instinct but somehow not calm enough and let’s clumsiness take over due to age or perhaps inexperience. No one manages PEOPLE better than Arsene, when Bendtner used to miss a bag of a chances a game he didn’t condemn him yet slightly defended him and stayed quite about it to make Bendtner feel guilty and then he watches the initial results (this start of season) then judges>> “Bendtner is good but needs to improve his finishing” Sept 09>>> The next day he puts in Bendtner when game vs blackburn is done and dusted (no pressure on any player) then bendtner scores a cracker (this will give Bendtner that feeling “Yes I can do it”. 2 Weeks ago in an interview Clichy mentioned how Arsene doesn’t construct but educate, I won’t be surprised if the West Ham let off was managed by the crazy, genius old professor if u know what i mean. lol

  27. Does anyone feel that Eastmond could cover Song during the African Cup?

    It would be a gamble but if he looks the part in that role he may be better than us playing Diaby, Nasri or Denilson in that position.

    I’m not sure myself but feel it would be great to have a little competition for that role.

  28. I’m gunna disagree with you on point 5. Fabianski played well, yes he had the shaky moment when he rushed out of the area, but apart from that he commanded the area from set pieces, catching anything that came his way when under pressure. He also made a smart stop from Babel’s log range free kick that he did very well to hold on to. Like you said, he had hands of glue. Would have been my choice for GK on sat if he hadn’t got injured.

  29. Here we go again !anybody got a contact with ElastoPlast !!

    But it has since emerged he will be absent from Arsene Wenger’s side for a further stretch of games.

    Discussing the blow to the Polish goalkeeper, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said on the club’s official website: “We lost Lukasz Fabianski with a thigh injury. He will be out for three weeks. Of course, it is big disappointment – because he has just come back from injury.”

    In Fabianski’s absence, Wenger will choose between Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia when he selects his goalkeeper for the derby against Tottenham on Saturday.

    Wenger has also ruled Jack Wilshere (ankle), Theo Walcott (knee), Denilson (back) and Tomas Rosicky (knee) out of his plans for the Emirates Stadium clash.

    PA Sport

  30. I’d just like to add if I can one player that wasn’t mentioned on the list:

    7. Gibbs was great, 2nd man of the match behind Ramsey for me

  31. Another lesson that may be taken from this match:

    7: Arsene does not plan on using Nasri as Song’s replacement in January.

    If that idea were in his thoughts at all, he would have started Nasri as the holding midfielder instead of bringing in Eastmond. I’m thinking the plan is to either buy a dm in the january window or to play a current starter there with Nasri slotting into that player’s role (I just pray it’s not Diaby).

  32. All i have to say is bring back Almunia, every goalkeeper will make mistakes, unlike outfield players, these mistakes are highlighted more.
    Good luck to the other keepers, but i have not seen anything yet to convince me that Almunia should not be our number 1

  33. I actually didn’t think Gibbs and Gilbert played particularly well. They blew very hot and cold in my opinion, often looking good in the tackle and when they were scrapping, but I think they were both caught of position on numerous occasions and that is why Liverpool had so much luck hitting us down the wings. Both Silvestre and Senderos had superb games – Liverpool hardly came down the middle – so I think to rate Gibbs as the Man of the Match or say that Gilbert was brilliant is off the mark.

  34. i didnot hear anyone commenting on watt,to me for the little time he came on,things almost changed further,had he not been tackled fom the box,i had counted that goal.he is a good prospect.but my question is,will he break through the first team before simpson?

  35. for sure the game between Arsenal and Liverpool was not the standard way Arsenal should play. They should improve on their mid field for better game……ARSENAL GO..

  36. If Domenech had half a brain he would realize that Nasri is the future of the French team… Not Benzema, Nasri (and Gourcouff)

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