December 1, 2021

Liverpool and Arsenal Explode

Tuesday, April 21st

 

The Premiership (EPL):

 

What it is:  England’s topflight, domestic, club football (soccer) league.

 

Arsenal v. Liverpool: Goals Galore

 

If any of you enjoy lots of goals in football matches, as I do, then you’d have loved Tuesday’s clash between Liverpool and Arsenal.  It was a terrific game, a real cracker.

 

After Andre Arshavin’s lone first half goal in the 36th minute put Arsenal ahead, things settled down with Liverpool having several close but unsuccessful first half opportunities.

 

It was in the second half, however, when the two teams exploded for a combined seven goals.  Liverpool scored on a sweet header from Spanish wunderkind, Fernando Torres, in the 49th minute and an outstanding hustle goal by, Israeli, Yossi Benayoun in the 56th putting Liverpool up 2-1.

 

Miscommunication and sloppy play between Liverpool defenders Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa gifted Arshavin another opportunity in the 67th, and the talented Russian made Liverpool pay.  Score: 2-2.

 

More sloppy defensive play from Liverpool in the 70th minute saw Arshavin score his third goal after Arbeloa played a left-wing cross straight to Arshavin 10 yards from goal.  The Russian made his hat-trick as he drilled the shot under Liverpool keeper, Pepe Reina.  Arsenal leads 3-2.

 

Remarkably, Liverpool was level again two minutes later when Torres fired a low shot past Arsenal keeper, Fabianski. Score: 3-3.

 

Most thought Arsenal surely secured the game when Theo Walcott’s pace on the counterattack played Arshavin in for his fourth goal.  You read that correctly: four goals.  Remarkable!   Arshavin 4, Liverpool 3.

 

Astonishingly, Benayoun pushed in an equalizer at the death to salvage the tie for Liverpool.  Final score: 4-4.

 

Commentary:

 

Several things stand out in this game, most notably Arshavin’s four goals, an impressive scoring display by the young Russian.  Unfortunately, Arshavin is cup tied and unavailable to play for Arsenal as they move into the semifinals of the Champions League, the competition between the best teams from each of Europe’s top domestic leagues.

 

Liverpool scores at least four goals for the seventh time this year, including four goals in six of their last nine games.  Liverpool currently leads the Premier League with 63 goals scored this season.  It’s nice to see The Reds scoring goals in bunches for a change.

 

Liverpool’s slim chances of overtaking Manchester United as the Premiership’s top dog became even more stretched following the tie with Arsenal.  While the single point from the tie with Arsenal puts Liverpool top of the table by one point, this perch should be short-lived.  United is a single point behind Liverpool with two games in hand.  Barring a surprising collapse from United, the domestic league championship is now United’s to lose.

UEFA…Then There Were Four

UEFA Champions League
Home and home competition between Europe’s top football (soccer) clubs from each of Europe’s top domestic leagues: England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, etc.

Purpose: Determine Europe’s top club team.

Manchester United vs. Porto

Defending UEFA Champions, Manchester United, returned to the UEFA Champions League semifinal for a second consecutive year behind an amazing goal from perhaps the world’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo.

With only six minutes played, Ronaldo collected a pass from Anderson and let rip a shot from 30+ yards from goal. Porto keeper, Helton, had little chance of stopping the potent, imaginative strike.

United faced an uphill challenge after tying Porto 2-2 at Old Trafford in United’s home leg of the competition. Following the first leg, Porto was tied on aggregate goals (2-2) and held a significant lead in away goals (2-0). Additionally, no English team had ever beaten Porto on their home pitch.

On this night, however, United was more than up to the challenge. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic anchoring United’s defense, Porto were unable to find an equalizer despite three close attempts by Porto’s Bruno Alves during the opening period.

Next for United are Arsenal as for the second consecutive year three English teams—Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal—advance to the Champions League semifinals.

Arsenal vs. Villarreal

Tied 1-1 on aggregate goals after the first leg of their Champions League match with Villarreal, the Arsenal squad understood the challenge ahead of them: win the second leg of the competition by one goal or more to advance to the Champions League semifinals.

In Arsenal’s favor was Emirates Stadium, The Gunner’s home pitch. With the home fans behind them, Arsenal quickly left little doubt regarding the match’s outcome.

Theo Walcott’s strike at the ten-minute mark put Arsenal ahead to stay. Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie added to the score sheet in the 60th and 69th minute marks respectively, leading Arsenal to a decisive 4-1 win on aggregate.

Coach Arsen Wenger’s young Arsenal team looked dangerous and confident in dispatching a formidable Villarreal squad, setting the stage for a semifinal clash with defending Champions League title holders, Manchester United.

The pending Manchester United v. Arsenal semifinal has many delicious subplots: Wenger’s ongoing rivalry with United’s iconic manager, Alex Ferguson and Arsenal’s youth and talent v. United’s experience and formidable squad of defending champions. Whoever should emerge victorious, it’s positioned to be a classic for football (soccer) fans around the world.

May the best team win….