Arsenal storm back with superb wins but Liverpool continue slide

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-15 22:43:01

Christmas is coming up soon but for some Premiership teams, the holiday season is anything but festive.

That's because this is usually when the contenders start to separate themselves while the pretenders get shown up. That is what might be happening to Southampton, which lost their fourth straight league game, while Liverpool's decline has only been exacerbated. Meanwhile Arsenal are still trying to show whether they are a top-four challenger or a mid-tier team.

What is for sure is that Arsenal, and manager Arsene Wenger, should be ­feeling a lot better this week.

One week ago, Arsenal put up the most feeble first-half performance to be 3-0 down and on their way to a ­ridiculous blowout from Stoke before two second-­half goals restored a bit of dignity in an eventual 3-2 loss.

Still, the stunning manner of ­early ­capitulation had many supporters alarmed and angered, resulting in ­arguments and even insults thrown at Wenger in public. Even this columnist felt Arsenal might be on the verge of faltering and finishing below fourth place at the rate they were going.

Since then, two consecutive 4-1 victories in Europe and at home have followed. Their win over Newcastle Saturday was a vital one given the Magpies were right behind them and had just dealt leaders Chelsea their first defeat of the season a week ago.

Even more encouraging is that all the Gunners' goals were scored by players other than the reliable and deadly but overworked Alexis Sanchez.

But then, offensive fireworks aren't surprising given Arsenal's talented squad. The question is: Can they do it against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City? Can they do it against a seriously faltering Liverpool when they play this upcoming Sunday?

Liverpool had a terrible week, being knocked out of the Champions League, before being humiliated 3-0 Sunday by Manchester United. While Arsenal's season has been one of ups and downs, Liverpool seem to be mired in a sea of mediocrity.

They were a bit unlucky against ­United, due to great goalkeeping from David de Gea and conceding a goal that was allowed despite being scored from a very obvious offside position.

Even still, goals have been hard to come by for Liverpool recently, such as in their 0-0 draw against Sunderland one week ago. Their labored presence in the Champions League was mercifully ended by Basel in a 1-1 draw after a group campaign that saw only one win, a 2-1 result over Bulgaria's Ludogorets.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.

Posted in: Extra Time

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