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Arteta says Arsenal went ‘toe-to-toe’ with Liverpool despite 2-0 loss

Arsenal’s winning run came to an end this evening as they were beaten 2-0 by title chasing Liverpool in an entertaining clash in North London,

It was a meeting of two of the in-form sides in the Premier League, Arsenal having won their last five games in the division while Liverpool had won all of the last eight coming into this evening’s heavyweight clash.

 

It was a hugely entertaining start to the game, with both sides quick to close each other down all over the field. The Emirates crowd were buoyed by their side’s tenacious display, though the first half ended without either side creating too many clear cut chances, the only effort on goal coming in just the second minute as a Virgil van Dijk header from a corner was comfortably palmed away by Aaron Ramsdale.

While the first half was good, the second was even better, and Sadio Mane had the ball in the back of the net inside the opening 60 seconds after the restart, though it was swiftly ruled out for offside. Meanwhile, at the other end, Reds keeper Alisson was forced into a superb save to deny Martin Odegaard following a dreadful backpass by Thiago Alcantara.

Just minutes later though, the Spaniard did produce a pass of quality, sliding the ball into the path of Diogo Jota who advanced into the left channel, before firing in at the near post, though Ramsdale really should have kept it out after getting a firm hand to it.

Jurgen Klopp had the luxury of being able to call on Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino from the bench, and six minutes after their introduction, the Brazilian doubled his side’s lead. The Merseyside outfit won the ball back high up the field, with Andrew Robertson eventually putting in a delivery from the left with Firmino’s deft touch steering it underneath Ramsdale from inside the six yard box.

The lively Gabriel Martinelli dragged a shot narrowly wide late on as Arsenal looked to get back into the game, and speaking afterwards, Mikel Arteta said his team went ‘toe to toe’ with the title chasers, but felt the difference between the two sides was their quality in front of goal.

“From box-to-box, we were at the right level but in the boxes, that’s where they won it,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “They had two big chances and scored. We didn’t. For the rest, we went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league right now.

“Everything. It was everything we talked about, the quality of it, the mentality, the intensity and the courage. Unfortunately, the result did not agree with the performance.

“I want to win every football game but I am very proud of the boys and the performance and the connection with the fans, they stayed with the players until the end.

“We need to sleep well, have something good to eat then recover for Saturday to have a battle against Aston Villa.”

The result leaves Arsenal a point clear of Manchester United in the the race for the top four, albeit with two games in hand of the Red Devils, and Arteta was asked if his players will be able to deal with the pressure of competing for a Champions League spot: “I think they showed that tonight,” he replied.

Read – The mad, bad story of the Battle of Bramall Lane, 20 years on

Read also – Opinion: Roman Abramovich’s exit leaves urgent questions and few answers for Chelsea and English Football

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