Arsenal Snatches Late 1-1 Draw Against 10-Man Liverpool

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2010

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  Joe Cole of Liverpool tangles with Abou Diaby of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on August 15, 2010 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It was almost a perfect debut for Roy Hodgson, as Liverpool were only minutes away from their first victory of the season in the Premier League.

It all seemed very dark for Roy Hodgson's side after a reckless challenge got Joe Cole sent off in the last minute of the first half.

However, Liverpool actually improved in the second half. After a first half where Arsenal controlled possession and dictated the pace (without actually creating chances), Liverpool had a very strong start in the second half and no one was surprised when Ngog scored after an excellent assist from Mascherano.

1-0 for Liverpool: a fair result considering how strong Liverpool started the second half. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Liverpool completely outplayed Arsenal.

Down to 10 men, Liverpool was unable to keep dominating and Arsenal started controlling possession again. But Liverpool defended with great resolution and didn't concede many chances; Reina was only forced to one difficult save, to a shot by Rosicky.

When everyone in Anfield was already starting to celebrate Liverpool's first victory of the season, the unexpected happened: in the 90th minute, Reina scored a very unlucky own goal to tie the match. After that, the game turned more lively than ever before and both teams could have scored the winning goal. But, in the end, it was 1-1.

Arsenal deserved to equalise because they never gave up and kept pushing forward until the very end, but it was, nonetheless, an inglorious ending for Liverpool and Roy Hodgson, after a match where they did everything in their power to get the win, despite being down to 10 men.

 If today's match is any indication, Liverpool is much better this season than they were last season and they are serious contenders to a Champions League spot.

As for Arsenal, the team showed the same strengths and weaknesses as last season: a lot of talent in attack but a lack of defensive safety that promises to be costly again this season.

With Chelsea and Manchester United a cut above the rest, Liverpool and Arsenal will both fight for a Champions League spot and, after today's match, it's safe to assume both teams have enough quality in their squad to get a top-4 spot in the end.

As for challenging Chelsea and United, only time will tell if Arsenal and Liverpool have what it takes to do it. But it seems unlikely...