Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

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Interview

Leno - We proved something against Liverpool

Bernd Leno

We may have had to settle for a point in a thrilling game against Liverpool, but Bernd Leno feels that our display made a big statement.

Having received criticism at the start of the season for the way we played out from the back, our German goalkeeper feels that Saturday's performance answered those questions of the team.

"It was an intense game," Leno said. "It was a good game for the fans and we also played very well. I think we deserved to win but the draw is OK because Liverpool are a big team. The way we played was very good.
 
"I think today we saw that we can play our way against big teams. We controlled Liverpool. We played out from the back. 

"It was not just lucky or lucky things to create from. We played the ball with passes from behind and that’s the way we want to play. 

"The coach gives us a lot of confidence to play like this and we train every day very hard with him, and in the videos as well. That’s the way we want to keep going.
 
"I can’t compare it because last year I was not here but I think [Emery] changed some things – of course, the way we play from behind but also to play very aggressive, the defence is getting better, controlled. We don’t always run up front with nobody then at the back. 

"Tactically, it is one step better than at the beginning of the season because it needs time and it also needs time now in the next weeks. If we work like this and play like this, we could have a great season."

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: How it happened

Lacazette

WHAT HAPPENED

Alexandre Lacazette scored a fantastic late equaliser to extend our unbeaten run in a pulsating Premier League encounter.

We were full value for the point in an end-to-end match, but had to come from behind after James Milner pounced on Bernd Leno's parry on the hour mark.

The goal seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of us, after we had expended so much energy in the first half.

But with less than 10 minutes remaining substitute Alex Iwobi threaded the ball into the box for Lacazette to run onto. It looked as though the striker had taken the ball too wide when rounding Allison, but he composed himself to fire just inside the far post.

Emirates was rocking once more, as it had been for most of the evening to be fair.

We started well, Aubameyang had a shot turned round the near post before Henrikh Mkhitaryan beat Allison to a deep cross, only for his header to drop just wide.

But then Liverpool stepped up a gear. Sadio Mane had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside after Roberto Firmino's shot came to him off the post, before Bernd Leno saved from Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson.

Arsenal rode the storm, and came roaring back. The game was alive now, and being played at a fantastic pace. We started to creating chances of our own. Lacazette came closest, dragging his shot just wide from Mesut Ozil's superb flick.

Lacazette put the ball in the net shortly afterwards, but the linesman's flag had already gone up.

It was a thrilling half, that somehow ended goalless. Van Dijk headed against the post injury-time with Leno well beaten.

We started the second half on the front foot, but it was Liverpool who struck first. Mane's cross was palmed away by Leno, but only to the waiting Milner who fired home.

Lucas Torreira was denied by Allison just a minute after we fell behind, the lively Uruguayan swapped passes outside the area but his effort was tipped just over.

Unai Emery, celebrating his birthday, then made a couple of substitutions, introducing Aaron Ramsey and Iwobi, and the latter created the breakthrough, finding Lacazette with a fine pass.

Hector Bellerin blazed a late chance over the bar on his wrong foot, and in the end we settled for a point, taking our unbeaten run to 14 matches in all competitions.

TEAM NEWS

For the first time ever Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang and Lacazette were all named in the same starting XI, while full-backs Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac both shook off injuries to be selected.

In all there were nine changes from the midweek win over Blackpool, with only Mkhitaryan and Shkodran Mustafi retaining their places.

WHAT'S NEXT

The third of four consecutive home games is this Thursday evening against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League. Victory would guarantee top spot with two games to spare.

We are next in Premier League action on Sunday, against Wolves at Emirates Stadium at 4.30pm.

Interview

‘We’ve got special team chemistry’

Seven clearances, six recoveries, four tackles, two interceptions and a block: Rob Holding’s stats against Liverpool on Saturday night made for impressive reading.

Our centre half helped keep the visitors’ attacking trio of Mo Sarah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino largely quiet - and after the game, he reflected on our late comeback.

on the game…
It was fast paced and we knew it was going to be like that with their style of play and the way we’ve been playing this season - getting the ball down and breaking with pace. It was end-to-end stuff and entertaining for the fans, and we’ve come away for a draw, though it could have been more. If we’d have lost that game, it would have been so unlucky. We’ll take the draw and hopefully next time we’ll get three points.

on positive fan sentiment…
Yeah definitely. I thought the fans were fantastic today. They got right behind us when we went a goal down and that lifted us. We got confidence from that. If everyone’s together, the sky is the limit. We’ll just keep pushing on.

on if he feels as though we’re on Liverpool’s level…
It’s a competitive league. Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool have all had flying starts and we’re right on their tails, so we’ve just got to keep ticking away with the points and you never know what can happen further on in the season.

on the fighting spirit and togetherness…
There’s a really good team chemistry here and a winning mentality. We’re not losing and we’ll keep fighting until the end. We never give up, we’ll keep going and get what we deserve.

Press conference

Emery's press conference: every single word

Unai Emery was a happy man after Alexandre Lacazette scored a late equaliser to earn a point against Liverpool. Here's every single word from his post-match press conference. 

on a deserved draw…
I don’t know. I'm happy with our performance and I think today the balance in the 90 minutes is more balanced positively with the control against them, but it’s very difficult to not let them have chances also. We needed a little luck in some moments of the match and also we needed, when we were attacking, to find our goal. It’s the reason that at the end, I think 1-1 is a good result for how we did in the 90 minutes after 1-0 when we are losing and it’s the reason we are happy 50 per cent. The second, maybe also we can lose in one moment and in the 90 minutes we could also have won in the balance of the 90 minutes.

on the crowd…
One characteristic of Liverpool is the intensity and their big players, so today was a good test for us. We need more, I think we need more in our work and tactically also, but the spirit is like we want and also the atmosphere today was a very big atmosphere with the supporters pushing for 90 minutes. Today is a very good spectacle for them and for us.

on belief growing…
I think the progress is with time, a long time. In football it's very difficult to ask for a lot of time, but we need it. A good example is against Manchester City, Chelsea and today against Liverpool, the performance and how different matches have been played. I think in these three matches, today is a more competitive game for us.

on Iwobi’s impact…
We need every player and the characteristics he has are important. Iwobi can impact highly in the match, also in the beginning of the match when we play with him starting on the bench. Today, I think he started on the right and then he was better on the left. He had an impact in some moments on the match, like with our goal. His energy is important, his quality. But he can do better also. He scored against Chelsea, there’s been a lot of matches, I want him to be nearer the box to score more and I think that he can. I think he is very young and he is improving, but I have ambition because he can do more.

on matching the top teams…
The first thing is that the Premier League is the first competition for us because it is giving us the big regularity in the season. 38 matches. It’s very important when you play against City and Chelsea or against Liverpool. If you win, it’s better, but a lot of matches are very important because three points is the same against Liverpool or against Crystal Palace. Today is one test, how we are against one team, after City, after Chelsea, maybe today we were more near with our performance. But also, we need the regularity of every match and the next match against Wolverhampton here, is the same. Another important game.

on the idea of a European Super League…
I don’t know exactly. Maybe this is a bigger discussion with more time to explain together with the football world and with people, for what is the best competition in the world. I think it’s a bigger discussion with more knowledge.

on the late goal and our goalscorers…
We have a top scorer like Aubameyang and also Lacazette can score a lot, and other players. This statistic is important. This goal, for Laca and for us, is important. To continue creating chances to score is important. Today I think we had a lot. It is important for us to continue in this way of having chances.