Bukayo Saka’s penalty settled a thrilling encounter and put Arsenal back on top of the Premier League with a victory over Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal got off to a perfect start when Gabriel Martinelli put them ahead after 58 seconds. Still, Liverpool responded well and striker Darwin Nunez deservedly got them level when he slid home Luis Diaz’s cross after 34 minutes.
Saka restored Arsenal’s lead in the first half after Martinelli broke clear on the counter-attack only for Liverpool to level eight minutes after the break when substitute Roberto Firmino, on for the injured Diaz, fired beyond keeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Liverpool, who felt they were denied a penalty when defender Gabriel handled in the first half, felt a further sense of injustice when Thiago Alcantara was penalised for a challenge on Gabriel Jesus with 14 minutes remaining, with Saka coolly converting from the spot.
Arsenal hinted at their maturity and progress when they overpowered Tottenham in their last Premier League game but this was the biggest signal yet that they are heading firmly in the right direction under manager Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners started at lightning pace with that Martinelli goal but what will have pleased Arteta, even more, was the manner in which Arsenal responded to Liverpool’s two equalisers, gathering themselves to get back in front and ultimately close out the win.
In the past, Arsenal’s mentality has been fragile but here they showed the strength and resilience to hold their nerve against a Liverpool team that has made a habit of getting the better of them in recent years.
Martinelli was outstanding for Arsenal, tormenting Liverpool’s defence as he scored the first goal and then led the breakaway that saw Saka restore their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
The penalty that decided the game infuriated Liverpool but Saka showed confidence and composure to step forward and drill the resulting spot-kick past Alisson.
And Emirates Stadium now carries a real feeling of unity behind Arsenal and their manager, who has put together an impressive blend of youth and experience that suggests bigger things are to come for this side.
source – BBC Sport