Our winning run came to an abrupt end against a ruthless Liverpool side at Emirates Stadium.
After a closely fought first-half, the visitors took control when Diogo Joto scored out of nothing, moments after Martin Odegaard had been denied by Alisson from close range. Roberto Firmino doubled the lead soon afterwards, and from then on the result was rarely in doubt.
We had come into the game on the back of a five-game winning run that had elevated us to fourth place, so there was plenty of excitement and anticipation among the home fans as title-chasing Liverpool got us underway at a sodden Emirates Stadium.
But it was the visitors who nearly dampened the atmosphere in just the second minute. Virgil van Dijk rose highest to meet a corner, but Aaron Ramsdale was alert enough to dive down low to his left and push the ball away for another corner.
After that it took us five or ten minutes to get into our stride. Mikel Arteta stuck with the same starting XI that had won the previous two games, and we soon began to play with more confidence.
Bukayo Saka was looking full of running on the right wing, and his cross caused confusion after being set up by a searching Thomas Partey pass.
On the other flank Gabriel Martinelli's persistence got himself into a dangerous position, but his low cross was snuffed out close to goal.
It was a typically industrious performance from the Brazilian in the first half, and he again struck fear into the Liverpool backline late in the half with a surging run. It ended with Granit Xhaka's pass just eluding Saka in the box.
There was plenty of passion and commitment on display, but no goals - and just that early van Dijk header on target - in the opening 45 minutes.
Sadio Mane lifted a shot over the bar on the counter attack right on the stroke of half-time, and in the first minute after the restart he thought he had scored the opener, only to be denied by a late flag for offside.
Arsenal responded. Martinelli went on a superb run into the box, beating three players - including one audacious nutmeg – but his cutback cross fell to a yellow shirt.
Moments later we passed up a real gift. Alexandre Lacazette picked up a loose backpass from Thiago in the box, laid the ball off for Martin Odegaard, but the Norwegian's shot was turned over at close range by Alisson.
It proved a costly miss. Just as we were building the pressure, Liverpool took the lead out of nothing. A Thiago pass from deep released Diogo Jota, who raced into the box and beat Ramsdale with a low shot at the near post.
It was against the run of play, but it changed the momentum of the game. Within ten minutes Roberto Firmino had doubled the lead, squeezing his shot home from Andy Robertson's cross after the Scot had dispossessed Saka.
The two goals knocked the stuffing out of us, and Liverpool took control.
Arteta sent on Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah as he sought so salvage something from the game. Martinelli - who deserved a goal for his performance - shot just wide late on, but it wasn't to be.
We stay in fourth place, but one of our three games in hand on Manchester United has been eaten up.
WHAT IT MEANS
Our third game in the space of seven days is away to Aston Villa, in the early kick off on Saturday. It's our last match before the March international break, as Arteta's side look to make it five consecutive away wins in the Premier League.
300 GAMES AT THE EMIRATES
This was our 300th Premier League game at the Emirates
The first was against Aston Villa on August 19, 2006. Gilberto scored in a 1-1 draw.
We have won 194, drawn 65 and lost 41 of the 300 games, scoring 605 and conceding 258.
The teams we have beaten most often in those 300 games are Newcastle and West Ham (12 each).
The team we have scored the most goals against is Tottenham Hotspur (41).
Theo Walcott is the leading appearance maker in those games, with 146 appearances.
Robin van Persie is the venue's leading scorer in the league, with 45 goals.
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