If anyone had predicted that scoreline, I would like their lottery numbers. It is a brutal one that reveals that Arsenal was not efficient in the area where it matters and Liverpool was. It is a shame Opta does not provide stats to the public because we would find out that Liverpool finishing was much more clinical than Arsenal’s one.
I believe Liverpool had around 8 great chances and converted 4 while Arsenal had about a dozen real scoring opportunities and probably 20 shots but converted nil. 5 shots cleared of the line for Arsenal, 1 for Liverpool, Arsenal hit the woodwork 3 times. Plus many excellent saves by Sarah Quantrill.
The starting 11 contained no surprise for Liverpool the regulars all played. Arsenal’s injured players did not make it, so the team was not as strong as usual but nevertheless full of senior and U23 players. The Arsenal bench looked a bit lighter than usual as no Smith, Chapman, Ludlow, Yankey and Fahey atm meant we had Spencer, Tracy, Bailey, Bragg and Bruton.
As mentioned in Matt Beard post game interview we had no plan B on the bench. I would rather say the coach had limited trust on the players on the bench and actually told my mates at the game when I saw the bench “90 minutes no subs tonight except injuries”. If you remember that against Forest and 6-0 up at half time, Bruton and Bragg did not get a game, what were their chance to get a look in against Liverpool ? I agree that they have a potential (let’s say 100) and if the coach think it is too low to play them in big games (where you need 150/200) that’s fine but if some players perform at the 50-80 level bracket! why not give those two a chance to change the game?
Saying that Shelley Kerr did gave a debut to Jade Bailey who replaced Jordan Nobbs, I believe to stabilise the midfield balance because you don’t usually replace an attacking midfielder by a defensive midfielder to score more goals.
So what went wrong last night? A mix of poor individual performances, some bad luck, a couple of referee’s decision not going the right way and mainly Liverpool’s tactics that seemed to have found a formula to find space in midfield between our lines. I don’t know why but I found the synchronisation on the midfield 3 did not link up well with the back 4 and they were gaping holes as soon as the ball was lost.
On the positive side, so many chances were created, so the firepower was there but the final ball and finish was missing sadly and you can get away with it against an average team but a very good one like Liverpool with not let you do that.
A last point on fair play mentioned by someone else last night : in the first half Dan Carter put the ball into touch with a Liverpool player being injured.
In the second half a Liverpool player not sure it was Williams or someone else did not do the same while Davison had a head injury and the Arsenal team was out of position and Liverpool scored their 4th goals. Poor fair play ? I believe it is the referee’s fault actually for not blowing the whistle as it was a head injury.
Although, you could expect your opponent to put the ball out as a courtesy, it is play to the whistle unfortunately on that occasion. I was not surprised a few Arsenal players complained after the goal was scored.
Personally I would have put a reserve on the match sheet just to make a point.
Overall a great victory for Liverpool that leaves Arsenal in a difficult position at the bottom of the table, level with the already relegated Doncaster Belles on 0 point and a -4 goal difference, which is a problem because it might end up being decisive, so goals need to be score at the next League game away to Lincoln on the 15th live on ESPN. And come Saturday, Birmingham will visit Borehamwood. Another tough game coming, that 6-0 win the cup was an accident like yesterday’s 4-0 defeat.
Let’s hope some of injured players can come back and a better balance in midfield can be found to reduce space between the lines. The work will be surely done during the next video and training sessions.