Whilst Arsenal were brushed aside by Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, there were some positives for Unai Emery and the fans to take from the Gunners performance.
Gary Neville was fairly complimentary of Arsenal, which was very rare for him, whilst others were quick to point to the fact that the club had yet again been outclassed by a top side away from home.
In defence, the Gunners struggled. The experience and maturity David Luiz was supposed to bring was not present, and he was at fault for both of Salah’s goals. Arsenal’s full backs seriously struggled too, but with Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney to come back into the side in the next couple of months. The energetic pacey full backs will give the team much more both defensively and offensively, than either Monreal and Maitland-Niles are capable of. Imagine a Liverpool side without both Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, it wouldn’t be the same.
It is understandable why Emery opted not to start with all three of Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang, but moving forward against weaker opposition, or in home games, the trio need to all be on the pitch. Pepe gives Arsenal a new ingredient in attack – an unpredictability and dribbling skills that even Aubameyang and Lacazette do not offer.
It is a frightening thought of all three lining up in a 433 or a 4231 formation. Despite the loss, I saw enough from that attack to think they will win a lot more games on the road than they have managed in the previous two league campaigns.
And when you look at Liverpool’s goals, they scored from a set-piece, a silly foul and a piece of individual brilliance that nobody could stop. On the whole, from open play, Arsenal defended much better than they have in previous Anfield outings.
In midfield, the young Joe Willock again showed reasons for excitement. The brave midfielder turned 20 just one week ago and yet he played with confidence and ambition in the middle of the park, he certainly has a big future, for club and country.