After a stunning 4-1 victory for Arsenal at home to Liverpool on Saturday, the Gunners are within touching distance of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
[ RECAP – Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool ]
Arsenal have now won seven on the bounce and with sensational goals from Hector Bellerin, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud, all of the Gunners’ top boys are firing on all cylinders with Liverpool’s defense having a day to forget.
Here’s three things we learned.
ARSENAL WORTHY OF SECOND-PLACE
With seven wins on the spin, the Gunners are the form team in the Premier League. Their sensational demolition of Liverpool on Saturday proved they now have all of their sublime attacking talents working in tandem and still have the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere waiting in reserve or playing a bit-part role. Remarkable. As things stand they are playing open, attractive soccer and are well worthy of finishing in second place above Manchester City. Can Arsenal challenge for the PL title? They have a deep squad which can be rotated in the final seven games of the season. A title charge may be just too much for them to handle, but second place certainly isn’t. An FA Cup trophy and second place would be a great season for the Gunners after their stuttering start to the campaign.
OZIL, SANCHEZ SHINE ON BIG STAGE
In a purple patch before the end of the first half the Gunners poured on the misery for Liverpool with three strikes of sublime quality. Bellerin started things off by cutting inside and curling home a beauty, then Ozil curled a superb free kick home three minutes later and Sanchez scored his 20th of the season five minutes later.
Ozil’s enigmatic talent is finally showing signs of consistency as the German international has now scored or assisted seven goals in his last eight games for the Gunners. As for Sanchez, he looks back to his best after a barren spell in recent weeks has seen him score just once in his previous 12 appearances for Arsenal. With the Gunners’ two main attacking talents in fine form to end the season, who knows what is possible.
LIVERPOOL HURT BADLY BY ABSENTEES
During their dreadful first half performance Liverpool lacked leadership and grit and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Arsenal could have easily scored five or six. One of the reasons Liverpool struggled so much was due to the absence of star center back Martin Skrtel and captain Steven Gerrard through suspension. Add in Daniel Sturridge left on the bench in the first half due to injury and Liverpool’s spine was ripped out in the first 45 minutes. The other main reason was Brendan Rodgers’ insistence to stay with three at the back despite Arsenal playing three up top and not having Skrtel. Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can were all over the place. At half time he switched to four at the back with Can moving to right back but the German player ended up getting a red card on a day to forget for the Reds. Their top four challenge seems all but over as a stunning surge in the second half of the season will not be rewarded with a UCL berth.