Arsenal’s extra man at Liverpool stands up to fill all too familiar Granit Xhaka void – Football.London

Ask any football fan which of the most famous grounds are known for their electric atmospheres and Liverpool’s Anfield is typically one of the first names to be listed off. Find a supporter say the Emirates and what follows is a satiric giggle.

Whilst Arsenal’s home stadium may have the stereotype of being one of the quieter grounds in the league, the same cannot be said for the fans who travel up and down the country to follow the boys in red and white.

Arsenal’s away supporters are by far one of, if not, the best in the league. Having had the pleasure myself to accompany my fellow Gooners to a multitude of grounds, the chanting is near non-stop and at Anfield, there was a small corner of Highbury on Merseyside.

In fact, whilst the possession statistics fell far more in favour of the Reds, if there was a percentage for the possession of the television microphones, the Arsenal supporters would have won easily.

Besides the famous ‘You’ll never walk alone’ which bellowed from the stands before kick-off, the Liverpool supporters did in fact leave their team, for the most part, alone to find the breakthrough without their audible backing.

Whilst 10-man Arsenal remained buoyed by the efforts of the travelling hundreds. Many of whom had missed the start of the match after a traffic accident on the route up threatened to cancel their trip altogether. Yet like their side who faced an obstacle themselves, they ploughed on and achieved their goal.

Speaking of the red card. Another senseless, rash, uneducated… in fact, leave whatever adjective you used the last time Granit Xhaka dove into a challenge with the last man or left a high stud into a random body part of an opponent.


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Ironically and impressively, perhaps exclusively to the likes of Pepe and Sergio Ramos, Xhaka managed to combine the two on Diogo Jota.

Yet, the Arsenal supporters filled the void and became the eleventh man for Mikel Arteta’s side. The Spaniard set up his team in a resistant fashion with a bank of five behind a makeshift four, with Alexandre Lacazette dropping in alongside Sambi Lokonga, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

After the match, Arteta admitted the concerning situation at the club.

“We don’t have any midfielders in the squad, We played with three midfielder players, Martinelli, Lokonga and Saka who never played there in their lives,” Arteta said both worryingly and proudly.

Arteta, who lost his cool in Xhaka-esque fashion prior to conceding four goals at Anfield back in November, was a calm and collected figure for his team tonight and his side mirrored him. Perhaps showing how connected he and his squad really are.

With a midfield signing hopefully on the horizon in the form of Arthur Melo, who football.london understands the club are pushing hard to sign, Arsenal will need their extra man again on Sunday.

Although this eleventh man will in fact be the twelfth as the Gunners face Tottenham in the North London Derby. A game of huge importance in the race for the top four and that Arsenal cannot afford to lose.

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Arsenal may be light in regards to their squad, but their support away from home once again proves to be a difference-maker and the exact boost needed to earn a well-deserved draw to take back to the fortress.

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