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Arsenal / Liverpool; anniversaries, hats, left backs and falling over.

This was the 42nd anniversary to the day of a match between these two clubs.  On that occasion, 42 years ago, Liverpool scored early in each half.  But there the comparisons end.  42 years ago, Arsenal didn’t reply and Liverpool won 2-0.  42 years ago, Arsenal were just five points behind the leaders.  42 years ago Arsenal went on to win the league.  Oh, and they won the FA Cup too.

So this time Arsenal did better, at least in this match, but there were still some sadnesses.  The number of people who turned up not wearing hats was far too large for my liking, and the crowd didn’t really show enough aggression towards Carragher – the man who once threw a pound coin at the Arsenal crowd and only got a three match ban for his pains.

Liverpool fans brought a banner but sadly from more than a few feet away it was unreadable.  In the press box the word was that it had to do with the ticket prices, since Liverpool like to copy Man City in such matters, and pretend that they are up there with the big boys.

Given the press room chit chat, the media will undoubtedly pick this theme up, but won’t point out that the prices for the visiting support was the same as the prices for the Arsenal support.  And Arsenal supporters are currently campaigning to get visiting fans moved to the much more expensive upstairs seats.  Now that story should run and run.

Meanwhile here was Carragher again, not leaving the pitch when told to by the ref, being injured then not, and coming back on within five seconds of getting to the right “coming on” place, while Gibbs had to wait nearly a minute when it was his turn to be injured.

Arsenal don’t attack until they are two down, as we know (except against WHU when only one goal is required).  And then they score five.  Except yesterday they didn’t.

Per Mertesacker just wasn’t at the game, which was sad given that last season’s hero Koscielny was on the bench.

The defence is the only thing that is wrong however.  The attack of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, prompted and supplied by Santi Cazorla and our Jack, is fine.  No wonder we score more goals than this time last season with that other centre forward we used to have.

Talk before the game was the weakness in defence where there is no replacement for Kieran Gibbs, and would you believe it, Gibbs got injured and is out for three weeks.  Enter Andre Santos. The man who drives how he wants. And plays how he wants, seemingly.  The order is out: all papers must now refer to Santos as the worst player Wenger has ever signed.

Gibbs will be out for the next “two to three weeks” according to Wenger who said  that he would have a look at his options to make a signing “overnight”.

The Liverpool defeated by Oldham was a different Liverpool, just as it was a different Arsenal at Brighton, but we could have done at least with Rosicky who ran up and down a lot but never came on.

So Arsenal are in 6th – a position more associated with the club in the 1960s rather than the second decade of the 21st century.

But here’s another thought, or rather another question: what is going on with Thomas Vermaelen?  This season he is but a shadow of the man who played for Arsenal two years ago.  There seems to be little leadership either.

Both Vermaelen and Wilshere could and should have cleared the lines for the first goal.  The attackers, not least Lukas Podolski, were better than the defenders, even at defending.

So Liverpool can’t win against top half teams, the men and women in the press box decided Arsenal were booed off at half time (not from where I was sitting).

And as for Arsenal….  Well, Bacary Sagna could be taught to stand on his feet throughout the game, and a new reserve back could indeed be purchased.  The next few hours will tell.

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