Arsenal v Liverpool

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Ainsley - The lessons Liverpool game taught me

Ten days ago, Ainsley Maitland-Niles had never started a Premier League game.

But the 20-year-old has forced himself into our starting XI recently and has completed the full 90 in each of our last three league games.

His stiffest test so far came against Liverpool on Friday night - and here’s how he found it.

on if he’s ever played in a game like that…
Nah, never before in my life! But it was a great experience being out there and I think we showed real character to come back in the game.

on the game’s rhythm…
English football’s changed a bit - there’s a lot of counter-attacking teams now and there’s a lot of pace going forward. The speed of the game is different and that made it go back and forth a lot. 

on if it was basketball-like…
Yeah, sort of. It was very similar. You’ve got to try and take a grip on those games and keep possession of the ball when you’re winning.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles' recoveries against Liverpool

Ainsley Maitland-Niles' recoveries against Liverpool

on playing against Salah…
I think I did alright. There’s a few things to work on but I’m getting there slowly.

on what he learnt tonight…
I guess it’s just how to deal with those powerful, attacking players that love to score goals and run past you;. It’s a learning curve to play against them and use their weaknesses against them. 

on his overall feeling and if he’s happy…
Not at all. We should have won the game because we were ahead. There was no reason for us to drop points so I’m disappointed with the performance really. 


Press conference

Wenger on Ozil, Wilshere and contracts

Jack Wilshere got the biggest cheer of all as our players left the pitch after a thrilling game against Liverpool.

Needless to say, Jack was mentioned in the press conference as reporters asked Arsene Wenger about the England man’s future - and Mesut Ozil’s.

on Wilshere’s performance…
I think he is one of the players who played with quality in the first half, determination. Jack is never frozen, but what he did in the second half was like the rest of the team, I liked what he did. He’s better now than he was in the last two or three years, I think he is positive overall and is in a very good shape at the moment.

on Wilshere’s contract…
We will see, but as well I think we had four players tonight who have been educated at our academy, with Bellerin, Iwobi and Wilshere they are certainly the only ones at the top, but basically we want to keep these players.

on whether Ozil had a good game and the progress of his contract talks…
Ozil had a good game tonight and the second part of your sentence I cannot answer.

Press conference

‘It could have been game over at half-time’

Arsene Wenger sat down to face the media straight after that incredible 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Friday night.

Here’s what he said:

on whether we should have held on once in front…
Yes, that’s the frustration of the night, but on the other hadn’t to be completely honest it could have been game over at half-time as well because we had a nightmare first half. We played too far from each other, not compact enough, not composed enough and overall at half-time we could have ben punished more. Mane missed his chance just before half-time and I must give players the credit because even at 2-0 we didn’t show any weakness, we didn’t give in any weakness and we’ve shown great spirit again and come back. It’s true that I’m frustrated that at 3-2 we couldn’t keep the result but overall what can you say? It was a fantastic game with quality going forward for both sides, us more on quick combinations, them more on fantastic counter-attacking pace and that’s why it was always an interesting game.

on whether he should have ‘parked the bus’…
I don’t know what you mean by parking the bus, I don’t know who created this expression, but it has not a lot to do with football. We defended well, but you know that with their quality going forward they can always score a goal. I hoped that we could score one as well and I think in the second half we were not so much in trouble, but they have quality everywhere going forward and it’s difficult to say that you guarantee that you don’t concede a goal.

on what he said at half-time…
I would keep that private, but I just think that the positive thing was that we were only 1-0 down. We played too deep basically, too far from each other, we had to push higher up and support our strikers more and play with the handbrake off. We played and kicked the ball at the back, they won many second balls, we were too much in trouble with long balls because we didn’t have enough composure to put the ball down and play.

on whether Cech should have saved the third goal…
I would have loved it yes, but I think he had a good game. I don’t know how he could have done better there, but overall I think he had classy game today.

on whether Monreal was injured…
Yes, ankle problem.

on Oxlade-Chamberlain being booed…
I am 20 years in England, so I’m not surprised, but overall I don’t think it was too loud.


Wenger - Why I started Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has worked his way into our Premier League side this month and he kept his place for the visit of Liverpool.

Some thought that Sead Kolasinac would get the nod on Friday night but the 20-year-old - still finding his feet in a new role - let nobody down.

“His pace is the main reason why he played and I think as well his recovery runs are very good, he has shown that a few times,” Arsene Wenger told

“He came back and I think it’s a positive game, he is 20 years old and what he showed in a game of that stature is very good. It was a big test [against Mohamed Salah], but I think successful, it was a successful performance from him.

“I would say it was a nightmare [for us] in the first half,” the boss went on, “but I was very proud of the players in the second half.

“We showed quality, character, gave everything and overall, I must say, what can you say? Mentally we were not at the level in the first half, you could see incidents of the Manchester United game here where we had the bad start.

“Overall we played too deep, too far from each other, but we were much more compact in the second half and after that we are even frustrated in the end because we were 3-2 up and could have won the game.”

Press conference

‘The boss put us in our place at half-time’

Hector Bellerin described Friday’s result against Liverpool as “bittersweet” - and you can see why.

At 2-0 down we’d have been happy with a point, but at 3-2 up we wanted all three.

So what turned the game on its head? Hector shed some light on that after the game:

“We didn’t start well, they got in front but [at half-time] the boss put us in our place,” he said.

“He told us what we had to do and the team got a great reaction. We scored three quick goals and you could see the belief in the team. But we needed to defend better to keep the score. We couldn’t do it so it’s a bit bittersweet, with being in front but then drawing the game.

“But there are positives, like the belief the team had and how we turned it around.

“There was a great talk at half-time, there was a lot of belief from the boss and we knew we had it in ourselves,” added Bellerin. “We showed we could turn it around but then we made a mistake at a corner and paid for it. It’s a draw that could be fair for both teams but, with being in front [at 3-2], it’s a bit bittersweet.”

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool: How it happened


We came back from two goals down to lead this Christmas cracker of a game - but had to settle for a point.

Liverpool were more incisive in the first half and deservedly led through Philippe Coutinho’s looping header.

The visitors could have had more before the break but did double their lead when Mohamed Salah’s shot was diverted beyond Petr Cech by a deflection off Shkodran Mustafi.

We looked dead and buried but - incredibly - we were ahead within 388 seconds of Salah giving Liverpool some breathing space.

First Alexis got in front of Joe Gomez to nod Hector Bellerin’s cross past Simon Mignolet from close range.

Then Granit Xhaka unleashed a thumping shot from outside the box and Mignolet could only help it into the net.

The turnaround was completed by Mesut Ozil, who picked out Alex Lacazette inside the box and ran on to collect his clever backheel before lifting the ball over Mignolet from a narrow angle.

There was pure pandemonium at the Emirates but Liverpool regrouped. And they equalised when Roberto Firmino’s shot was parried by Cech - and dropped under the crossbar.

Mignolet tipped over from Bellerin and Salah fired just wide as both sides went for all three points.

But despite this fixture’s history of late drama - especially on a Friday - there was no stoppage-time winner.


See how the match unfolded and get some standout stats with our play-by-play commentary


This draw means we stay in fifth place in the Premier League - one place and one point behind Liverpool.


Christmas is next, but our Premier League campaign resumes next Thursday with a trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.

Then we finish 2017 with a New Year’s Eve game at West Bromwich Albion.


Petr Cech made his 100th appearance for us - but he’ll have to wait a bit longer for his 200th Premier League sheet.

All the same, Petr had to be at his best to keep Liverpool within touching distance - especially in the first half.

22 mins - Robertson’s deep cross finds Firmino unmarked at the far post, but Cech gets across to push away his header

44 - Koscielny slips to send Salah through on goal, but Cech makes a great save to keep him out and Mane volleys the rebound over

48 - Liverpool break at pace, Salah gets a return pass from Mane and makes room for the shot - but Cech denies him

62 - Mane gets free at the back post but Cech stands firm to block his fierce low shot


‘Without that support, we couldn’t have come back’

The team celebrate Mesut Ozil's goal against Liverpool

Things didn’t look good at all for us on Friday night when Mohamed Salah’s shot deflected off Shkodran Mustafi and beat Petr Cech.

That goal put us 2-0 down shortly after the break. But just 388 seconds after Salah struck, we were ahead thanks to goals from Alexis, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil.

The Emirates was rocking - and your support was certainly appreciated by Alex Iwobi.

“In the second half, we bounced back, the fans were pushing us to go and without that support, we wouldn’t have been able to get the result today,” he told Arsenal Player.

“It’s crazy, everything just happens so fast. It’s surreal but we have to believe and it shows how good we are to get goals in that short period of time.”

Granit Xhaka brought us level against Liverpool - the second of three goals we scored in 388 seconds

We improved markedly after going 2-0 down - but what went wrong in the first half?

“Things just didn’t go right for us,” Iwobi added. “There were a few sloppy passes and we weren’t really composed or playing as if we were at home. 

“It was very hectic, it was quite physically demanding but it was an enjoyable [game] at the same time.

“[Liverpool] always give 100 per cent with the work-rate they put in. They fight for each other and have chemistry, so it was always going to be a tough game.”

Post-Match Gallery

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool: In pictures

Check out the best shots from our photographers, on an action-packed night at the Emirates.