Gunners fire blanks as Liverpool get spanked

Gunners fire blanks as Liverpool get spanked

Gunners fire blanks as Liverpool get spanked

On a day the Emirates faithful thought would usher in a new dawn, on a day Spanish giants Barcelona confirmed they would sign Alexandre Song, on a day debuts were given to their three summer signings, Arsenal couldn’t ripple Sunderland’s net in a barren stalemate, as the post-Robin van Persie era became a new reality. It was heart wrenching for the watching fans, part of who booed the home side after the final whistle.

Even arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspurs’ 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United cannot take away the fact that, though the Gunners didn’t concede, they had started on a wrong footing. It’s a case of déjà vu, perhaps, considering that last season Arsene Wenger’s men had ended their opening game with a 0-0 draw against the Magpies. No one Gunner want a repeat of last season’s proceedings minus RVP.

The Professor’s men did control the game, with about 70% ball possession. However, with Santi Carzola, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud all making their debut, the North Londoners found it hard to break down a stubborn Martin O’Neil’s Black Cats side. The lack of killer instincts was evident when Giroud, played through by Carzola, skewed his shot wide instead of finishing off the Mackems, with minutes ticking off towards the final whistle.

That’s not the kind of result to give your fans after losing last season’s Golden Boot winner and midfield marshal. But let’s not be too hard on Le Prof’s men. They did try to win it. From Carzola to Podolski, from Theo Walcott to Gervinho, they did indeed try to pepper Simon Mignolet’s goal.  But Van Persie was sorely missed, and hopefully to anyone Arsenal, that would be the last time his absence would be felt.

Exit Wenger. Enter Brendan Rodgers.

If you thought Wenger had it rough yesterday, welcome to the world of Brendan Rodgers.  Liverpool’s new manager had thought his Anfield reign would begin with a dream start, but West Bromwich Albion had not received any memo. The Reds were catapulted in a resounding 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns that left the former Swansea manager dumfounded.

The Liverpool hierarchy must have been squirming in their seats throughout, as the architect of the humiliating defeat was Baggies new manager and former Kenny Daglish deputy, Steve Clarke, who was dismissed along with King Kenny. What a way to repay John W. Henry and his Fenway Sports Group for being summarily dismissed.

Rodgers was left puzzled. This was the same day that his former Swansea side, now coached by Michael Laudrup, had turned Queens Park Rangers into whipped cream, with a 5-0 hammering at Loftus Road. Oh how Brendan must have wished to have swapped sides after this weekend.

So the Kop Squad will cry foul after Daniel Agger got sent off, at a time they were 1-0 down courtesy of a blistering strike from Zoltan Gera. However, we’ve seen many sides able to withstand the pressure when playing with 10 men. But not Liverpool. Pepe Reina had saved the resultant penalty from Agger’s dismissal, but few minutes later, Peter Odemwingie converted another spot kick to double the tally.

Was it harsh? Maybe, but a strong Liverpool side comprising Lucas Leiva, John Allen, Steve Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini couldn’t conjure a response. That the Reds would go on to concede via Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku’s header, goes on to show that maybe Daglish wasn’t the problem. Rodgers has his work clearly cut out, and based on last evening’s capitulation, I’m afraid Merseyside will be walking alone. Even £35million man Andy Carroll couldn’t come to the Reds’ rescue.

Next up for Liverpool is Man City. I shudder at the thought.

Sunday 19th August

3:30pm    Wigan Athletic – Chelsea, DW Stadium, SS3

6pm:         Man City – Southampton, Etihad Stadium, SS3

Monday 20th August

10pm:     Everton – Man United, Goodison Park, SS3

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