Cazorla inspires Arsenal to Anfield victory
Arsenal put on a breathtaking display of counter-attacking football at Anfield to secure their first win of the season against a poor Liverpool side.
Lukas Podolski opened the scoring mid-way through the first half as he rounded off a fine move with a low shot past Pepe Reina.
The Spanish keeper was then at fault for Arsenal’s second goal when he allowed a Santi Cazorla drive to sneak in at the near post.
Liverpool struggled to mount a response to that hammer blow and Arsenal held on for an impressive 2-0 win that lifts them up to eighth in the table.
For Liverpool, the sheer size of the task facing new boss Brendan Rodgers is obvious with the Reds looking desperately short of attacking options after letting Andy Carroll move to West Ham on loan without finding a suitable replacement.
Established stars such as captain Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Reina all had poor games, with the few moments of hope coming from youngsters Raheem Sterling and substitute Jonjo Shelvey.
Indeed, it was a mistake from Gerrard which led to the opening goal as the England international’s pass to Suarez was intercepted by Thomas Vermaelen, who quickly found Podolski.
The speed of Arsenal’s movement was impressive as the German forward played it to Cazorla who advanced around 40 yards before playing it back to Podolski to finish with aplomb.
The goal was against the run of the play as Liverpool had started much the better of the two sides as Arsenal struggled to find their rhythm.
However, this new look Arsene Wenger side is more resolute at the back and managed to snuff out efforts from Fabio Borini and Sterling before Oliver Giroud should have doubled the Gunners lead just before the break.
The outstanding Abou Diaby surged into the Liverpool half and released Giroud with a fine through ball but the former Montpellier forward could only screw his shot wide from close range.
Liverpool emerged from half time with a renewed sense of purpose and had a penalty shout turned down when Per Mertesacker brought Suarez down in the box. Replays showed referee Howard Webb was right to ignore their appeals as the German centre-back had got his foot to the ball.
Suarez then had a rasping drive tipped over by stand-in Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone before the Gunners doubled their lead with a fine goal involving Podolski and Cazorla again.
Podolski this time turned provider as he played in Cazorla on the left-hand side of the penalty area before the Spanish maestro fired in a low effort which Reina could only parry into the roof of the net.
The final 20 minutes passed with little action and the Kop made their feelings known of what they thought of their team’s worst start to a season since 1962-1963.
Arsenal fans, however, will be hoping that the result will kick start their season, with Wenger expressing his delight that two of his summer signings opened their accounts for the season.
“Everybody understood quickly Cazorla would not need six months to settle. Lukas Podolski is deadly when he gets a chance,” he told the BBC.
“Abou Diaby gets better every game but we need to be cautious with him because he has had so many injuries. He can have a little breather in the international break. I am pleased for them.”
Laurence Taylor, Football Correspondent