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Premier League

  • 20 August 2011
  • • 12:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 60090

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Bizarre Ramsey own goal, late Luis Suarez strike & sending off for Frimpong add to Wenger woes

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Bizarre Ramsey own goal, late Luis Suarez strike & sending off for Frimpong add to Wenger woes

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Reds get their first win of the season, while Gunners have a man sent off for the second week in a row, as they slump to defeat at the Emirates

Liverpool recorded their first ever victory at the Emirates Stadium with a 2-0 victory over a weakened Arsenal side as an unfortunate Aaron Ramsey own goal and a late Luis Suarez strike gave the visitors their first victory of the new season.

Chances were few and far between for both sides in a game that turned into something of a midfield battle, Andy Carroll had Liverpool’s best chance in the first half and Robin van Persie had a great opportunity in the second half but it was Ramsey’s unfortunate own goal and Suarez's last minute tap-in that clinched victory for Kenny Dalglish’s men.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was forced to hand debuts to Carl Jenkinson and Emmanuel Frimpong but the biggest surprise in the Gunners line-up was the inclusion of Samir Nasri. The Frenchman was recalled to the starting XI despite being expected to leave the club in the coming days, and with injuries ravaging the Arsenal squad there was also places on the bench for talented duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish made two changes to his starting line-up from the side held at home by Sunderland on the opening day. Dirk Kuyt was preferred ahead of Luis Suarez and Martin Kelly returned for John Flanagan at full back with the two replaced men dropping to the subs bench.

The opening stages of the match were very tentative as both sides looked to take an early advantage but clear cut chances were few and far between. The best chance in the first 10 minutes fell to Andrey Arshavin when a loose ball fell to the Russian on the edge of the penalty area following a right wing corner, but the forward was unable to steady himself and badly miscued his shot.

Arsenal's injury woes were worsened in the 14th minute as Laurent Koscielny broke down with what appeared to be a lower back problem; much to the dismay of Wenger the French defender was unable to continue and was replaced by young Spaniard Ignasi Miquel for his Premier League debut.

The game finally had its first attempt on goal in the 20th minute through the aerial threat of Andy Carroll, the striker rose above Bacary Sagna at the back post to meet a Stewart Downing cross but his header was well saved by Wojciech Szczesny diving to his left.

Three minutes later the visitors again went close with a headed attempt, this time from Jordan Henderson. Jose Enrique lofted a ball over Jenkinson for Kuyt to run onto, the Dutchman flicked the ball into the area for the unmarked Henderson but his header lacked power and Szczesny saved easily.

After the loss of Koscielny Arsenal struggled to regain their composure and it wasn't until the 29th that they created their next clear-cut chance, but rather than taking the lead the opportunity just highlighted the need for a striking threat for the home side. Sagna and Arshavin combined down the left wing and the Russian played a low cross along the six yard line but there was no Arsenal player there to connect and Liverpool were able to clear.

Minutes later Pepe Reina was called into action for the first time, a left wing free-kick was cleared by Liverpool but only as far as Frimpong 30-yards from goal. The youngster took the ball past Downing before firing a low 25-yard shot that the Spanish goalkeeper tipped wide diving full length to his right.

The selection of Nasri may have surprised some and the Frenchman had a quiet start to the game but he burst into life in the 35th minute to show the Arsenal fans he was still giving his all for the club. He picked up a loose ball inside his own half and set off a surging run, drifting past the challenge of Lucas and racing through the Liverpool half. As he approached the penalty area he side-stepped Daniel Agger but sent his effort just wide of Reina’s right-hand post.

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The second half began in a similar fashion to the first as both sides looked tentative but Liverpool sparked it into life in the 54th minute. Adam played a disguised pass through to Carroll inside the Arsenal penalty area, the striker rolled it back to Kelly but the full back’s right foot shot clipped the bar on its way into the crowd.

The home side’s first chance of the second half didn’t come until the 68th minute and captain Robin van Persie. Arshavin robbed Agger inside the Liverpool penalty area before rolling a pass into the Ducthman but his side footed shot from eight yards was turned behind by Reina, the Spaniard showing great reactions to deny the striker.

Two minutes later Arsenal’s chances were dealt another blow as Frimpong’s debut ended on a sour note with a red card. The midfielder mistimed his challenge on Lucas in the centre of the pitch and referee Martin Atkinson had no option but to issue the debutant with his second yellow card and subsequently a red card.

The dismissal of Frimpong saw both sides make changes with Luis Suarez and Raul Meireles replacing Carroll and Kuyt for Liverpool, while Andrey Arshavin was sacrificed for Henri Lansbury as Wenger looked to bolster the centre of his midfield.

With their man advantage the visitors began to create more chances and in the space of two minutes Szczesny was forced into good saves from Suarez and Downing from close range. The young goalkeeper able to turn away both efforts as the rain poured down in north London.

The deadlock was finally broken with 11 minutes to play and it was Liverpool’s substitutes who combined but it was an unfortunate deflection that gifted the visitors the lead. Meireles and Suarez linked up inside the area but as Miquel tried to clear the ball it struck Ramsey and looped over Szczesny into the back of the net.

Arsenal brought on Nicklas Bendtner on for Walcott as they went in search of an equaliser but the Dane struggled to get involved in the game and it was the visitors who looked more likely to score as Meireles went close in the closing minutes to doubling their lead.

And substitute Suarez did double their lead in the final minute with a tap in from seven yards. Lucas found Meireles unmarked on the right of the Arsenal penalty area, he rolled the ball past Szczesny to the Uruguayan who fired the ball into the unguarded net to seal the points for the visitors and leave the hosts with much to ponder.

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