The festive fixtures began with a gift that kept on giving (up goals) as Arsenal came back from 2-0 down in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.
Who was most responsible for the result, for better or worse? Here are one man’s thoughts.
- Philippe Coutinho — His clever header to make it 1-0 was a neat bit of skill, and the Brazilian was very much Liverpool’s star.
- Mohamed Salah — Didn’t finish as clinically as he has — if he did, the Reds would’ve been up 3-0 at the break — but was a big part of everything the Reds did and attack wasn’t why they lost.
- Jack Wilshere — There may be egg on my face after I review the first half — JPW didn’t love JW’s day — but Wilshere did so many little things well in the second half and a big thing, too, covering near-90 yards to break up a Liverpool counter. Was asked to do a lot with Xhaka in what appeared to be close to a double pivot.
- Laurent Koscielny — Just hasn’t looked right for some time, and seems to physically slip in giving away the ball at least once a match. Very poor and made a mistake in the build-up or the business end of all three goals conceded by Arsenal.
- Simon Mignolet — The second goal was a bullet from Xhaka, but to miss that poorly on a shot right at you that sent the match to 2-2 was regrettable.
- Joe Gomez — Hasn’t been miserable every match, though he certainly was on the Alexis goal. What Klopp wouldn’t give to have Nathaniel Clyne return to health.
- Petr Cech — Was set to be one of the stars of this until he only got a piece of Firmino’s rip to make it 3-3. Three goals allowed is three goals allowed. Still, a decent game for a 3-3.
- Alexandre Lacazette — Was probably frustrated by his wingers not trying to find him often, but he plays a fairly complete game as a center forward. Terrific assist on Ozil’s goal.
- Ragnar Klavan — A couple fine interventions make us want to highlight his performance in keeping Lacazette off the score sheet. Then again, three goals allowed.
- Alexis Sanchez — Only apparent in short bursts during the first 45, there’s no denying his role in the electric comeback.