Arsenal vs Liverpool Player Ratings

A determined Arsenal attack bailed out their error-prone defence and helped secure a draw after Liverpool raced to a two-goal lead at the Emirates Stadium.

Imported from [160387486_10.jpg] by [Colin Chong] on [31.01.2013 04:56]

By FOX Sports staff

The Gunners were sloppy in the first half and could not close down a couple of Liverpool counter-attacks leading to goals by Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson. 

After the break, Arsene Wenger told his men to tighten up at the back and the home side scored two goals within three minutes to draw level. 

The visitors were somewhat lucky to come away with a point, though, as continual attacks involving the likes of Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud late in the game made it seem like Arsenal were on the verge of completing a comeback victory. 

In the end, both sides had to settle for a point and Brendan Rodgers' woeful record of having failed to secure a win against sides placed above the Reds continued for yet another game. 

Arsenal

Wojciech Szczesny - 7

The Polish stopper made some questionable decisions within the game. He inexplicably came out of the box to close down on Henderson and bizarrely tried to show off his footwork when under pressure from Daniel Sturridge. 

Luckily for the home fans, he also redeemed himself with some fine saves and ensured that his side only had a two-goal deficit to worry about. 

Bacary Sagna - 6.5

Sagna was culpable for Liverpool's first goal as he slipped and failed to cut out a pass by Suarez that allowed Glen Johnson to send in a dangerous cross from the left. Although Daniel Sturridge could not capitalise on the opportunity at the far post, Suarez eventually managed to put the goal in. 

Per Mertesacker - 6.5

The German appeared lost early on and could not properly track Suarez's runs. He was much better after the restart and was also a threat from corners although he really should learn to aim his headers towards goal instead of constantly directing it into the stands. 

Thomas Vermaelen - 6

Arsenal's stalwart of a captain was unusually poor in this game as he flapped at several crosses and did not effectively command his defence. 

Kieran Gibbs (off 37') - 7

Gibbs was forced to end his participation in the game early on with a thigh injury but was a continual threat down the flank prior to his premature exit from the pitch. 

Aaron Ramsey - 7.5

The Welshman produced a decent performance and was quick to spot Podolski down the left and sent in several passes in the German winger's direction. 

Jack Wilshere - 7.5

Constantly pressured by the Liverpool midfield, Wilshere struggled to get into rhythm early on but managed to eventually shrug off the attentions of his markers and helped orchestrate several of Arsenal's attacks towards the closing stages of the game. 

He also sent in a perfect free-kick that helped Arsenal get back into the game with Giroud scoring through the easiest of headers for his side's first goal. 

Santi Cazorla - 8

Much like the rest of the midfield, Cazorla took his time to make an impact but was the standout midfielder within the second half. He made some great runs into the box and sent in inch-perfect crosses from the left that could have resulted in a goal or two but was only let down by the inability of his team-mates to get into the right positions. 

Theo Walcott - 8

Walcott scored through a terrific finish from the tightest of angles after Giroud spotted him free inside the box. The quality of his finishing does make one wonder whether he should have been paired up with Giroud from the start of the game. 

Lukas Podolski - 7

The former Cologne striker has a terrific left foot that packs quite a punch but he needs to keep his efforts on target. 

Olivier Giroud - 8.5

This was the striker that Wenger bought in order to act as an effective replacement for the departing Robin van Persie. Giroud regularly got into good positions and made some adept flick-ons and connected well with his fellow attackers. 

Moreover, Giroud showed within the game how he has blossomed into quite an aerial threat and, with a bit more luck, could have easily netted a brace within the game. 

Substitutes 

Andres Santos (on 37') - 6

The much-maligned defender gave his detractors ammunition for further criticism as he was outmuscled by the slender Jordan Henderson and allowed the midfielder to fire a shot that eventually led to Liverpool's second goal. 

Liverpool

Jose Manuel Reina - 7

The Spaniard produced several decent stops and did his best to ensure that Liverpool could walk away from the game with a point. 

Glen Johnson - 7

It's no easy task to close down the likes of Walcott and Wilshere and Johnson gave a good account of himself in this regard. Moreover, he was quick to initiate counter-attacks and combined well with Suarez down the left. 

Daniel Agger - 7

The Dane was at fault for not marking Giroud properly during a set piece opportunity and therefore allowed Arsenal a way back into the game. However, it should also be noted that Agger was himself a goalscoring threat and had a glorious opportunity to score from close range. 

Jamie Carragher - 7.5

Liverpool's long-serving defender was picked ahead of first-choice defender Martin Skrtel and he justified the decision with a brave-hearted display. 

Andre Wisdom - 6

Wisdom was Liverpool's weakest link in defence and he demonstrated the inexperience you expect to find in a 19-year-old as he repeatedly committed fouls and was caught out of position. Cazorla and Podolski benefitted greatly from Wisdom's poor game and he did not provide much support in attack either. 

Lucas - 6.5

The Brazilian was picked ahead of Joe Allen for the defensive midfielder berth and the decision appeared justified early on as he ramshackled and frustrated Wilshere. In the second half, however, he was nowhere to be seen as Arsenal's quick passing maneouvres showed his lack of pace. 

Steven Gerrard - 7.5

The Liverpool captain was a key player for the Reds as he was always quick to release Suarez with some accurate passes and was not afraid to go to ground in order to dispossess his opponents. 

Jordan Henderson - 8

Henderson showed great courage and resolve to take on four Arsenal defenders and get into the box when many others would have waited for backup. His persistence paid off as the rebound from a shot fell to him in a more promising position and he made no mistake with a low finish under the onrushing Szczesny. 

Even aside from the goal, Henderson was a dutiful participant in attack although he has yet to display the creativity befitting a promising midfield talent.

Stewart Downing - 6

Employed down the right, Downing took too long to join the attack and his crosses were always poor. 

Luis Suarez - 8

The Uruguayan was Liverpool's best player on the night once more as he took on the opposing defence pretty much all on his own. He fully deserved his goal and also sent in some superb passes that should have been converted by his strike partner.

Daniel Sturridge (off 71') - 7.5

Sturridge could have scored at least a goal within the game as his team-mates worked tirelessly and supplied him with several decent opportunities. Much like during his Chelsea career, the England international cut a frustrating figure as he attempted to hit first-time shots when a degree of composure would have served him better. 

The 23-year-old has a keenness for goal and does get into promising positions but someone within the Liverpool coaching staff needs to sit down with him and show him the replays of the game.

He needs to dampen his enthusiasm for the quick shot and also be less selfish and pass to his team-mates more often. 

Substitutes

Jose Enrique - 6

While it is a good sign that the Spaniard recovered quickly from his injury, it was still a strange decision to bring on Enrique when both Raheem Sterling and Fabio Borini were available on the bench. 

It showed a serious lack of intent on the part of Rodgers and gave the opposing side the belief that the visitors were not altogether keen on securing the three points. 



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