Arsenal rip apart Liverpool to power on to guaranteed top-three spot

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-6 22:08:01

Arsenal fans may not dare say it too loudly but not only might the Gunners easily finish in the top four, they are threatening for second, and may actually have an outside chance of seizing the Premiership crown.

Of course, Arsenal supporters have every right to be wary as they have been let down by their team quite a few times this season.

But yet, this Arsenal are a much ­different and improved team from the one that earlier this season went down 3-2 to Stoke, lost 3-1 to Monaco at home, or gave up a 3-0 lead over Anderlecht to draw 3-3. The team are on a roll, winning 10 of their last 11 Premiership games.

The latest of these wins was a ­resounding 4-1 victory over Liverpool on the weekend that put them in second place ahead of Manchester ­United and Manchester City as of Sunday. Champions League qualification is almost ­certainly guaranteed as Liverpool now sit nine points behind in fifth place.

Arsenal's win over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium was a far cry from the match between these two in December at Anfield. Then, the Gunners had been outplayed, outshot, outpossessed, and just barely escaped with a 2-2 draw. On Saturday, Arsenal weathered an early Liverpool flourish, then scored three goals in eight minutes just before ­halftime.

Arsenal's fine form is a testament to manager Arsene Wenger who came ­under harsh criticism earlier this season. He must be credited for keeping faith with his players, and actually getting a new defender, center back Gabriel.

The steady improvement of right back Hector Bellerin, just 20, who scored a great goal against Liverpool, is another plus for Wenger.

But the main factor for the team's success has to be the unexpected emergence of Francis Coquelin as a defensive midfield force in mid-season. His forceful play allows the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil to go forward with confidence, while preventing opposing sides from running through Arsenal's midfield like they had in the past.

Liverpool are going the other way, with these last two weeks possibly ­having ended their top-four hopes as they lost 2-1 to Manchester United in a must-win a week ago.

Arsenal may be charging full speed ahead, what with an upcoming FA Cup semifinal as well, but they will need to be wary about their matches against old rivals Manchester United and league leaders Chelsea.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.

Posted in: Extra Time

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