Thursday, April 3, 2008

Arsenal v Liverpool Champions League

Champions League frustration for Arsenal vs Liverpool

Arsenal vs Liverpool turned out to be as expected, with a tight
Champions League encounter ending in a 1-1 draw. Arsenal enjoyed the
majority of possession apart from a 20 minute spell in the latter half
of the first half, but just could not break down a typically resolute

Arsenal took the lead through an Adebayor header after 23 minutes, when
some slack Liverpool defending from an Arsenal corner gave the Arsenal
man a free header, which he powered home. Liverpool's zonal defending
came unstuck big time, as neither central defender picked up the big
Arsenal striker and he was given all the time in the world on the edge
of the six yard box.

Arsenal's lead didn't last long though, as Liverpool hit back in
the 26th minutes with a Dirk Kuyt goal, after he was set-up by some
great Stephen Gerrard play. That signalled the start of a purple patch
for Champions League specialists Liverpool, who looked likely at times
to go on and get a second.

Fernado Torres was being well shackled by William Gallas, as Arsenal
were clearly determined not to concede further ground in this Champions
League tie. He and Gerrard struggled to get near each other to provide
an attacking edge to Liverpool's play, and typical of Liverpool's
season, Kuyt and Babel again just didn't cut it as an attacking force
and the half ended at 1-1.

In the second half Arsenal came out fighting and played the game at a
tremendous pace but two incidents apart never really rattled Liverpool.

For the first incident, they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty
when Dirk Kuyt pulled back Alexander Hleb in full view of the referee.
Secondly, in slapstick fashion their substitute stopped a Fabregas shot
on the Liverpool goal line to prevent Arsenal taking the lead.

After that Liverpool defended stoutly, and brought on Benayoun for the
disappointing Babel to ensure they kept possession more often than they
were. The Brazilian Lucas was also pitched into the fray as Liverpool
sought to slow the tempo of the game, and keep the ball.

In the end it was enough, as Arsenal just couldn't get that vital
second goal, and it's Liverpool who now go into the second leg with a
treasured away goal. Arsenal vs Liverpool is always a big game, but this
Champions League tie was one of the biggest, and it's finely poised as
we go to Anfield for the second leg!


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