Arsenal v Liverpool: Match in pictures
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Former Tottenham and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas has suggested that Mikel Arteta should ditch his efforts to get Arsenal playing out from the back and focus on tailoring his side’s game to the strengths of the players. The Gunners fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on Saturday evening, with Arteta’s attack-minded team selection failing to pose much of a threat to the visitors over the course of the 90 minutes.
Arsenal managed to shut out the Reds in the first half, before a brace from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah’s strike sealed all three points for Jurgen Klopp’s side and condemned the north London club to yet another Premier League loss.
The result saw Liverpool climb into the division’s top five and kept the Gunners, who are now seven points adrift of their Merseyside counterparts, in ninth.
Jenas, who scored two Premier League goals against Arsenal during his time with Spurs, has revealed that he was left scratching his head over Arteta’s approach to the contest.
The Spaniard’s tactics did little to trouble the dominant Reds, who were firmly on top throughout the match, and Jenas believes that changes are needed at Arsenal in order to stand any chance of renewing their faint hopes of Europa League qualification.
“I watched a team today that didn’t believe in the tactics set out by Mikel Arteta,” he told Match of the Day. “I thought the body language from Arsenal players was poor.
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“I’m struggling to figure out why you’re playing [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Martin] Odegaard, [Nicolas] Pepe – all these attacking players and not actually playing on the front foot.
“This pretty much summed it up for me, you’ve got Pepe with his hand in his air asking for it to be kicked up the pitch, but who actually wants the ball?
“You’ve got Odegaard in a good position behind Fabinho, slide that ball forward, get in the pocket, but they didn’t have any urgency to get on the ball or help the person on the ball.
“I imagine Arsenal fans are sick of this now. How often have we seen Arsenal give the ball away from the back and concede goals?
“It’s getting to the point where it’s getting ridiculous. I do get that you want your team to play, but if they’re not good enough to do it then you’ve got to stop doing it.”
Since his appointment, Arteta has been determined to get his Arsenal side building attacks from the very back, a strategy that has achieved mixed results so far this season.
A number of high-profile mistakes have been made in recent weeks as a result of the Spaniard’s insistence in maintaining his patient style of play, with Granit Xhaka erroneously gifting Burnley striker Chris Wood an equalising goal during Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Turf Moor last month.
This season the Gunners have made four critical errors leading to goals, the third-highest tally in the Premier League behind only Chelsea and Liverpool.
Although no obvious clangers were dropped on Saturday evening, Arsenal’s collective performance was dire to say the least, with Arteta feeling the need to apologise to supporters after the final whistle.
“We completely deserved to lose the game,” he told Sky Sports. “They were better in every department and deserved to win the game with the margin they had, or even more.
“I accept responsibility for the way we played today. Liverpool completely deserved to win the game, probably by a bigger margin. We were extremely poor. We apologise.”
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