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November 3, 2013
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 60042
A. Ramsey 59'
That's all that we have time for, and we'll leave you with Arsenal sitting top of the Premier League pile, and looking like real title contenders at the start of November. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
Liverpool had a spell of ten minutes at the start of the second half, where Rodgers' side looked to benefit from the introduction of Coutinho, but generally Arsenal were dominant. Giroud was unfortunate not to grab a goal after countless chances, as was Suarez for the away side.
FULL TIME! Arsenal top the Premier League, after a solid 2-0 home victory against Liverpool. Cazorla gave the hosts a first half lead, before a screamer from Ramsey wrapped up the match after the break.
90' + 3'
Arsenal look to run down the clock by holding onto possession, stroking the ball around with consummate ease. It seems that Liverpool have given up hope and are now merely waiting for the referee's whistle to confirm their fate.
90' + 1'
Three minutes of stoppage time have been awarded, giving Liverpool a small window of opportunity if they are to get back in this game.
Yellow Card Carl Jenkinson
Great save by Mignolet! The Belgian stood up well at the near post, allowing the attempted shot to cannon off his chest and clear from danger! I think Giroud was again the man thwarted.
SUAREZ! The Uruguayan selfishly goes for goal himself, despite Sturridge being unmarked at the back post! The English striker stands haughtily with his arms raised, questioning his teammate as to why he didn't lay the ball square.
Great anticipation from Szczesny! He read that Henderson would pull the ball back towards the far post, hanging it up for Sturridge to attack, and reacted accordingly. He raced off his line and claimed the delivery in no man's land.
Five minutes remaining, and with every second that passes by, a comeback looks all the more unlikely. An efficient performance from Arsenal looks to have cemented Wenger's side at the top of the Premier League for the time being, with Liverpool dropping off the pace slightly.
SZCZESNY! Another save from the Arsenal keeper, this time to deny Suarez. I don't think it's going to be Liverpool's game today, as Szczesny seems to have an answer for every shot that goes on target.
Good stop from Szczesny! The Polish goalkeeper raced off his line to prevent Sturridge from cutting the ball back from the byline, timing his challenge perfectly to steal possession from under the England international's nose.
COUTINHO! The Brazilian tries his luck from range, but the ball thuds into the advertising boards, way wide of the target. The minutes are slipping away for the visitors.
Ten minutes left on the clock, and you can't look beyond Arsenal for the three points here this evening. But for an encouraging five minute period, Liverpool have been second best, and don't quite look like mustering up a goal before the final whistle.
Gibbs has pulled up after making that intended cross to Giroud, and it seems that the left-back has some kind of muscle complaint. It will be Vermaelen who replaces him, which presumably means that Monreal will be pushed higher up the field.
GIROUD! Oh, the ball from Gibbs just evaded him! The Englishman managed to get beyond Toure, before cutting the ball back from the byline, playing it too far behind Giroud! The former Montpellier striker isn't enjoying the best luck this evening.
OZIL! The Germany international has his first effort of the game, but fails to force Mignolet into a tough save. The Belgian claims easily at the front post, Ozil didn't quite get the power which he needed on that.
Well, Liverpool as a collective will be wondering what they have to do to score this evening. They've gone incredibly close on several occasions, but their usually lethal duo aren't firing on all cylinders.
SUAREZ! THAT WAS PHENOMENALLY CLOSE! A corner isn't dealt with by Arsenal, as the ball falls to Sturridge, before the Uruguayan steals the ball off his teammate's boot and looks to stab the ball into the bottom corner! It takes the slightest nick off Gibbs, and strikes the foot of the post!
Monreal takes to the field, but it's quite unclear as to where the Spaniard will be deployed. Gibbs may move into midfield, with the former Malaga defender slotting into his preferred left-back position. A case of all hands to the pump.
STURRIDGE! The England international rises excellently to try to meet the cross from the right hand side, but he can't keep it down! The ball rockets over the bar at quite some speed.
Close for Suarez! Coutinho bides his time, before changing pace quickly and sliding a ball through in search of the onrushing Suarez! Szczesny is alert to the danger however, and races out to smother the ball. Good idea from Coutinho.
Rodgers is making another offensive change, with Victor Moses ready to take to the field. The visitors need some kind of catalyst, as Arsenal look far too comfortable at the moment, their good start to the second half has petered out somewhat.
Well claimed by Mignolet, as the Belgian claims Cazorla's corner delivery with ease. About 30 minutes left in this contest, and Liverpool need a goal as soon as possible. Suarez and Sturridge have gone quiet once again due to a lack of service, with Arteta working extremely hard to police the midfield.
GIBBS! The left-back gets in behind Flanagan far too easily, as the youngster shows his inexperience, but Skrtel gets the block in as Gibbs pulls the trigger. Arsenal have a corner!
It has all gone a tad quiet for Liverpool's supporters, as that goal acted as somewhat of a sucker punch for the away side. Despite a good start to the second half which produced a few chances, Rodgers' men have a mountain to climb now.
Liverpool have got it all to do know, and they should probably be shellshocked by that Ramsey finish. Mignolet had no chance, as the ball dipped and arrowed onto the underside of the bar! Whoever says that the Emirates doesn't have an atmosphere is being proven wrong here!
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Aaron Ramsey
GOOOOOAL! RAMSEY CONVERTS BRILLIANTLY! ARSENAL LEAD 2-0! The Wales international lashes one home off the underside of the crossbar on the half volley! What a goal!
Well, two opportunities in as many minutes for Giroud, but scuffed shots on two occasions let down the Arsenal striker. Wenger won't be too unhappy, though, as every minute that his side spend in Liverpool's half, Szczesny won't be troubled.
GIROUD! Another opportunity spurned by the former Montpellier man! He manages to barge his way through a couple of half-hearted challenges, before looking to stab the ball home past Mignolet! He stretches, makes contact, but the Belgian makes the save!
What a let off for Liverpool, a poor pass from Toure almost gave his old club the perfect answer to the visitors' second half resurgence. That miss could well come back to haunt Giroud, but there's plenty of the game left yet.
GIROUD! SIDE NETTING! Incredibly close for Arsenal! Toure gives away possession, before Giroud beats Skrtel with ease before clipping the ball beautifully over Mignolet! Unlucky!
Arsenal finally manage to press into the Liverpool half, but Toure does well to block a Gibbs cross. The visitors are looking much more dangerous on the break with Coutinho on the field, the Brazilian is acting as a worthy supply line, after the presence of such a void between midfield and attack in the first half.
Liverpool have created more chances in the first five minutes of the second half, than they did in the entirety of the first. Arsenal need to get a foothold in this game, as the likes of Suarez and Coutinho are looking rather dangerous now.
HENDERSON! Narrowly over the bar from the Englishman, after Suarez picks out his teammate at the back post. After a reasonable first touch, the former Sunderland man half volleys way over the crossbar with Szczesny comfortably stood underneath.
SUAREZ! The Uruguayan surges into the penalty area, before being presented with the chance to shoot as Szczesny narrows the angle, but he gets the execution all wrong. It would have been better for him to clip the ball to the back post, in fairness.
Coutinho shows what he can bring to Liverpool immediately, as the former Inter midfielder looks to exchange passes with Suarez before sliding an intricate ball through Arsenal's two central defenders. The Brazilian will surely find a few gaps over the course of the second half.
It seems that Liverpool have shuffled things around at the start of the second half, opting for a more conventional four at the back, and the introduction of Coutinho shows attacking intent. Bridging the gap between Lucas and Gerrard and the two strikers will be a necessary job for the Brazilian.
We're back with second half coverage of Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool, and our referee for the evening, Martin Atkinson, has seen fit to start the next 45 minutes! Let us hope for some more goals!
Despite all of the build up, Liverpool's duo of Sturridge and Suarez are yet to have their say in this fixture - but never fear, they have 45 more minutes yet. Flanagan has put in an admirable performance for Liverpool, in spite of his inexperience, but Cazorla is the outstanding performer thus far.
HALF TIME! Arsenal have a slim lead midway through this game, with Santi Cazorla's great finish giving Wenger's men something to cling onto. Liverpool have moved the ball well at times, but have failed to really test Szczesny enough to be deserving of an equaliser.
45' + 1'
One minute of stoppage time has been awarded, but I don't think we're going to see any more chances before the half time break.
CAZORLA! The Spaniard goes close yet again! Mignolet is at full stretch, unsure of whether Cazorla's shot will nestle inside the bottom right corner, but the ball goes the wrong side of the post!
Only a few minutes until the break, and Arsenal fans have every reason to be very pleased with this first half performance. Cazorla's goal still gives them a small cushion, but the sheer resilience of their defending is the more assuring thing.
Good defending from Arteta, as the midfielder outmuscles Suarez before sliding in to prevent Flanagan from taking on the loose ball. Arsenal are set up well and seem to have an answer for everything that the visitors are throwing at them at the minute.
Good interception from Sagna! The Frenchman gets in ahead of Suarez to clear the danger, after an incisive ball from deep is flicked on. Things really aren't coming together for Liverpool in the opposition half, we could be seeing the likes of Moses or Sterling rather sooner than expected at this rate.
Arsenal continue to enjoy success with their rotating advanced midfielders, with Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey getting around the pitch with worrying ease. The sheer number of Liverpool players around the edge of their penalty area is their only saving grace thus far.
Rodgers is continually taking notes on the Liverpool bench, and I can only presume that his thoughts are centred around the likes of Flanagan and Cissokho, who aren't really offering anything offensively. Sturridge and Suarez look rather isolated at times.
STURRIDGE! The Liverpool striker manages to wriggle away from Koscielny, after lax defending from the Frenchman, before he throws himself to the ground in the hope of getting a penalty. The referee waves away his claims, and Szczesny drags him back to his feet.
For all of their good, composed possession, Liverpool are struggling to have any impact in the final third. It could be argued that their strikeforce only needs one opportunity to find the back of the net, but Rodgers will presumably be looking for more potency.
Offside! Sturridge races through on goal and looks to lift the ball over the onrushing Arsenal goalkeeper, but the linesman has his flag rightly raised. His finish was wide of the mark anyhow, so the England international doesn't bother complaining.
We're narrowly past the half hour mark, and Arsenal are looking very good value for their lead. Arteta and Rosicky are a calming presence despite them being a second-choice pairing, while Suarez and Sturridge are being kept out of the game.
Skrtel makes an important header to prevent Giroud from getting in behind, allowing for Gerrard to trigger a counter. Sturridge is fed the ball, he turns into space and tries a shot from 30 yards, but it rolls easily into the grasp of Szczesny.
That wasn't reassuring goalkeeping from Mignolet! He comes out to claim a free-kick delivery, but is forced to punch the cross into the ground, as a ruck of players challenged with him for the ball. Aside from reflex saves, the Belgian has looked a tad shaky.
Yellow Card Aly Cissokho
Another save by Mignolet! Arsenal are managing to test the Belgian with quite worrying regularity, this time it was Ramsey trying his luck from a tight angle. Cissokho then picks up a yellow for a shove on Sagna.
Arsenal continue to frustrate Suarez and Sturridge, and the latter looks a little bit riled as he plays yet another backwards pass. The away side continue to see a lot of the ball, but it's never in dangerous areas.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
GREAT SAVE! Szczesny does well to deny Sakho, but the linesman had his flag up anyway. It was a top reflex save with his foot, and I think that the Polish keeper might be a bit disappointed that it didn't count.
Liverpool have the ball in the net, but play was pulled back some time ago! Sagna picks up a card for a cynical foul on Suarez, as the striker looked to break, but the visitors continued their attack and managed to convert. Gerrard complains, but it was clear that the referee had halted play.
SUAREZ! The Uruguayan holds onto the ball for a little too long in the penalty area, and the chance disappears for the prolific striker. Sagna gets the better of him this time, and Arsenal have dealt with Liverpool's duel attacking threat rather well.
This game has been an enthralling watch thus far, with both teams keen to retain possession, but having the offensive options to look genuinely dangerous with every attack. Cazorla is most lively for Arsenal thus far, with Giroud also getting into interesting areas.
CAZORLA! The Spaniard tries his luck again, this time on the stretch, and forces Mignolet into a decent save with a stabbing effort from the edge of the box. Despite them not having much of the ball, Arsenal have had the lion's share of early chances!
Well, what a game we have on our hands now! Great finish from Cazorla, Mignolet really had no chance there, and Arsenal are ahead despite having the worse of the opening stages. Liverpool may feel aggrieved, but Suarez and Sturridge are yet to get into the game.
Goal Santi Cazorla
GOOOOOAL! CAZORLA! The Spaniard starts the move and finishes it with a thumping strike! Sagna picks up the ball from the goalscorer, centres it, before the rebound finds its way back to Cazorla again. He strikes the post with his first effort, and converts at the second opportunity!
Rosicky centres the ball, but Toure has the confidence to control the ball on his chest in the penalty box and drive out with it. He gives possession to Flanagan, who begins a driving run, before Mertesacker eventually managed to take it off him. Positive stuff from the youngster.
Flanagan and Toure both have opportunities to deliver the ball from deep on the right hand side, but neither players seem to have the confidence to potentially waste good early possession. Rosicky manages to rob the latter of the ball, and the Ivory Coast international is forced to bring him down.
Arsenal manage to get the ball away, despite a good back post cross from Suarez. Sturridge looks to try and get hold of the loose ball, after it is only half cleared, but the in-form forward is forced away from goal. A solid start from the hosts' defence.
Szczesny races off his line to punch a Gerrard free-kick delivery out for a corner, as the Poland international clearly felt that his defenders weren't going to manage to get to it first.
The away side are having the better of possession thus far, but that can be expected with how Rodgers likes to set up his sides. Plenty of options in confined areas for Liverpool, especially given their three central defenders. It creates a lot of angles for possibility.
Liverpool are prepared to stay deep in midfield, with Gerrard and Lucas playing just in front of the defence. The visitors are looking resilient and it might be tough for the likes of Ozil and Giroud to find space to exploit in between the lines.
The first ten minutes of the game have passed with both teams managing to test the opposition keeper on one occasion. This is delicately poised and has the makings of a great match.
HENDERSON! WHAT A POOR EFFORT! The former Sunderland man drives into the box, standing up to the physical challenge of Sagna, but makes a real mess of his shot! It's easily saved by Szczesny.
Mignolet makes another distribution error, slicing another clearance out of play before apologising to his teammates. He looked flustered whilst pressured when Liverpool faced the high intensity game of Southampton, so this could be a ploy from Arsenal to exploit that.
A good start to the game, with both sides eager to play nice football, but not willing to take any early risks for little reason. Sturridge and Suarez are yet to see much of the ball, but it is inevitable that they will have a profound effect on this match.
ROSICKY! The Czech international exchanges passes with Cazorla, before the former tries his luck from a tight angle, dispatching a shot across goal. Mignolet does well to palm it behind for a corner, which Arsenal fail to capitalise on.
Great challenge from Sakho. The former PSG defender steps in excellently to prevent Ramsey from giving the ball to the overlapping Sagna - who is playing in his 250th game for Arsenal tonight.
Not the most reassuring moment for Simon Mignolet, as the Belgian slices his first clearance almost out of play under minor pressure. The Liverpool man has been key in keeping his side in games this season, but his distribution still isn't quite up to the previous standard of Jose Reina.
A rather scrappy minute passes by, with the ball being lumped into the penalty area and headed clear twice, before a spot of head tennis in the centre of the park. Cagey stuff, but it's to be expected, this game has such magnitude for all involved.
As would be expected, Liverpool attempt to slow the game and get a bit of possession in the opening minutes. Flanagan is quick to get on the ball, that should help his confidence a little bit, today is a huge game for Liverpool's experimental wing-backs.
We are underway at the Emirates, with Arsenal wearing their red home strip, and Liverpool in their rather zany white kit. Not too sure about the design myself, but it's the football that matters!
Five minutes until kick-off, and the tension and excitement is surely building now, depending on your allegiances! This is set up to be a great game, with real potential to define either club's start to the season. Nobody gave either team a chance of getting their hands on the Premier League trophy, but they're the early season pace-setters.
Ten minutes until kick-off, and it's fair to say that the nerves might be kicking in for Jon Flanagan at this point! The young full-back hasn't had the best fortune since a serious ligament injury, and will be hoping to prove himself as a valuable asset to Rodgers' squad tonight.
No Jack Wilshere for Arsenal today, as the Englishman has a minor ankle problem and thus can't be risked. You would argue that Liverpool have the upper hand in terms of depth on the bench, as the hosts merely have Nicklas Bendtner in terms of an experienced offensive replacement among the substitutes.
Much of the excitement of the Premier League this season has been centred around the fantastic form of both Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, paired with the dynamic duo of Sturridge and Suarez in recent weeks. The Uruguayan's hat-trick of last week signals the intent of the former Ajax forward to continue in the same vein as last season.
In the league, Arsenal have been excellent of late, embodied by their position in the table. In other competitions however, it's a different story altogether, as the Gunners have managed defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in recent weeks. Wenger's men will be hopeful to get back on the right track as soon as possible, starting with a favourable result tonight.
Liverpool will presumably continue with their successful shape of three at the back, with Cissokho and Flanagan playing as the wing-backs to give the midfield some width. It will probably depend on the momentum of the game, as to how deep the wing-backs find themselves - should Arsenal be dominant, it's pragmatic to assume that Liverpool could field a back five.
Liverpool substitutes: Jones, Agger, Coutinho, Moses, Allen, Sterling, Kelly.
Liverpool starting line-up: Mignolet; Sakho, Toure, Skrtel; Flanagan, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Cissokho; Sturridge, Suarez.
Arsenal substitutes: Vermaelen, Monreal, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Akpom, Hayden.
Arsenal starting line-up: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Rosicky, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil; Giroud.
TEAM NEWS: Flanagan gets his first Liverpool start since January, in what appears to be an extraordinary vote of confidence from Brendan Rodgers. Tomas Rosicky gets the nod in midfield for Arsenal in the wake of injuries for Flamini and Gnabry. Everyone will be glad to hear that Sturridge, Suarez, Ozil and Ramsey are all included from the first whistle this evening.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be the man in charge of keeping you fully updated with all of the action from the most eagerly anticipated match-up of this week's Premier League fixtures. Both teams have early season title aspirations, and both have some rather exciting offensive options. This should be a cracker!
Hello and welcome to the Premier League's late kick-off of the day, and we should be in for a real treat! It's Arsenal versus Liverpool at the Emirates, with the visitors able to go top of the table with a win today. It won't be easy, however, as Arsenal have their own agenda and will be hoping to capitalise on Chelsea's surprise 2-0 loss to Newcastle earlier today.
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