• Date: Wed 10 February 2010
  • Venue: Emirates Stadium
  • Ref: Webb, H
  • Attendance: 60,045

Arsenal vs Liverpool

Team Lineups

Arsenal

Manuel Almunia
Thomas Vermaelen
William Gallas
Gael Clichy
Vassiriki Abou Diaby
Cesc Fabregas
Samir Nasri (Tomas Rosicky, 34)
Alexandre Song
Andrey Arshavin (Theo Walcott, 68)
Emmanuel Eboue
Nicklas Bendtner (Bacary Sagna, 82)

Liverpool

Jose Manuel Reina
Daniel Agger
Emiliano Insua
Jamie Carragher (Philipp Degen, 55)
Martin Skrtel
Steven Gerrard
Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez
Javier Mascherano
Leiva Lucas (Ryan Babel, 78)
Dirk Kuyt
David N'Gog

Match Report
Abou Diaby's second-half header helped raise the spirits of the Arsenal faithful as the Gunners won their first game in six matches to close in at the top of the Premiership with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool. The fortunes between these two clubs have changed dramatically in recent weeks. The Gunners started the game looking for their first win in six, whereas, Liverpool, in fourth place, were looking to close the gap. Liverpool were the first to go close after just three minutes when Steven Gerrard delivered a dangerous free-kick into the box that the Gunners defence failed to deal with and were thankful to Manuel Almunia for an acrobatic save. At the other end William Gallas went close when he met Cesc Fabregas' free-kick with a powerful header, but his effort flew over the bar. Nicklas Bendtner should have done better on 26 minutes when he was slipped in by Andrey Arshavin on the right side of the area. The tall Dane burst into the box, but his shot was high and wide, when he really should have tested an exposed Pepe Reina. Arsenal were beginning to come to life. Samir Nasri had a goal-bound effort blocked when he pounced on a weak punch by the Liverpool keeper in the 27th minute and seconds later Thomas Vermaelen got the ball caught in his feet when unmarked in yards of space. Liverpool were looking dangerous from set-pieces and on 31 minutes the Gunners failed to clear another Gerrard free-kick. The ball fell to Maxi Rodriguez whose shot cannoned off Vermaelan's arm for a corner. The penalty claims were waved away though. Fabregas had Arsenal's first shot on target in first-half stoppage time but it was a tame effort from the edge of the area that Reina gathered with ease. Both sides started the second half more brightly. Arshavin had a cross-cum-shot go just wide of Liverpool's left post and Lucas stole the ball from Gael Clichy before racing into the right side of the area to fire a shot just over the bar. David N'Gog looked to be clear but William Gallas raced back to put in a brave and precise sliding tackle to clear the ball as the young striker was about the shoot. Arsenal were beginning to take control, but the threat of a Liverpool counter-attack was a real possibility as the home side lost possession too easily. Fabregas shaved the top of the bar with a shot from the edge of the area and that was the highlight of a sustained period of pressure. Arsenal looked as though they had forgotten how to win but eventually took the lead on 72 minutes when Diaby ghosted in between the Liverpool central defence to head home Rosicky's cross from the right from close range. Fabregas fired a volley just wide on 82 minutes, but the Gunners were once again in their keeper's debt two minutes later when he made a fantastic flying save to keep a fierce 25-yard drive by substitute Ryan Babel out. Liverpool tried their best to pull a goal back, but a nervous looking Arsenal defence held on for the points and closed the gap at the top.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

FULL TIME: ARSENAL 1-0 LIVERPOOL. A nervous finish for Arsenal, but they deserve this win.

90

Liverpool win a couple of free-kicks in Arsenal's half, but they cannot fashion the crucial chance.

90

Four minutes of stoppage time will be played.

89

Liverpool are bossing possession, with Arsenal content to drop deep and play on the break.

87

Time running out for the Reds, who have not created enough tonight.

85

Babel is nearly the hero for Liverpool, hitting the bar with a fizzing shot. Almunia got fingertips to it - a fine save.

83

Fabregas tries his luck from distance, but his effort flies well wide.

81
Substitution
 

Nicklas Bendtner makes way for Bacary Sagna.

78
Substitution
 

Ryan Babel replaces Lucas Leiva.

77

Gerrard goes down in the Arsenal box, but referee Webb says no penalty.

74

Liverpool respond well to going behind, pouring men forward with intent.

72
Goal
 

ARSENAL 1-0 LIVERPOOL. DIABY heads home Tomas Rosicky's excellent cross to reward Arsenal for their improved second-half performance.

68

Tomas Rosicky fires over - gaps are starting to appear at both ends.

67
Substitution
 

Theo Walcott replaces Andrey Arshavin.

65
Yellow Card
 

Controversy as Nicklas Bendtner is booked for diving, despite the fact Daniel Agger seemed to foul him.

62
Yellow Card
 

Philipp Degen is booked for a foul on Andrey Arshavin.

60

Liverpool enjoy a spell of pressure and a spate of corners, but they cannot get a effort on goal.

58

David N'Gog is denied a clear shot at goal by a last ditch tackle from Gallas.

56

This match is really opening up, with Nicklas Bendtner forcing Reina into a decent save.

54
Substitution
 

Jamie Carragher is replaced by Philipp Degen.

51

David N'Gog forces a good save from Manuel Almunia.

48

The second half has started at a better tempo.

Second half
 

The second half starts.

Half time
 

HALF TIME: ARSENAL 0-0 LIVERPOOL. The referee ends a disappointing first period.

45

Fabregas strides forward and tests Reina with a skimming low shot from 20 yards. A regulation save for the Liverpool keeper.

43

Neither keeper has had a save of note to make as the stalemate continues.

40
Yellow Card
 

Maxi Rodriguez is cautioned for a foul on Emmanuel Eboue.

39
Yellow Card
 

Gael Clichy is booked for a trip on Gerrard.

39

A succession of fouls further breaks up the flow of this scrappy match.

36

Lucas Leiva nearly latches on to a Gerrard lay-off, but the ball just evades him.

34

A poor clearance by Emiliano Insua lets Arshavin in, but the Russian blazes over from the edge of the area.

33
Substitution
 

Tomas Rosicky replaces Samir Nasri, who has not recovered from an early blow to the head.

32

Rodriguez has a half-chance, but his effort is weak and easily blocked.

30

Arsenal enjoy a decent spell of possession, suggesting they have a foothold in this match.

28

Nicklas Bendtner has the best chance so far, firing wide after being played in by Andrey Arshavin.

26

The match is becoming scrappy, with neither side able to make much of an impression in their opponents' half.

24

Nasri delivers a good low cross to the near post, but Martin Skrtel clears behind. The corner is cleared.

22

Rodriguez brings down a bouncing ball and balloons a volley high into the stands.

19

Eboue is in a good position to cross from the right flank, but his cross is a terrible one that flies high over the Liverpool goal.

17

The hosts have made a stuttering strart and are yet to find their passing rhythym.

15

N'Gog produces the first shot on goal, turning and shooting rather weakly straight at Almunia.

14

Samir Nasri is struggling with a knock.

13

David N'Gog does well to flick on for Rodriguez, but Eboue intervenes on the edge of the area.

11

Martin Skrtel trips Fabregas in a dangerous position. The Liverpool wall does its job well.

9

Liverpool are the first team to settle, perhaps reflecting their superior confidence.

7

Arsenal's first threat comes from William Gallas, who heads a Cesc Fabregas free-kick over Reina's crossbar.

4

Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez is fouled by Thomas Vermaelen, but Steven Gerrard cannot make anything of the free-kick, Manuel Almunia claiming well.

2

A tentative start from both teams. Nicklas Bendtner, making his first start since October, tries to latch onto a long ball, but Jose Manuel Reina is out quickly to gather.

1
Kickoff
 

Howard Webb gets play underway at the Emirates.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Rafael Benitez brings in Martin Skrtel for the suspended Sotirios Krygiakos. Arsenal show two changes from the side that lost at Chelsea, Emmanuel Eboue and Nicklas Bendtner replacing Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Liverpool have kept clean sheets in six of their last seven league matches.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Arsenal's only win against the rest of the 'big four' came at Anfield and Liverpool are bidding to end an 11-game league and cup winless streak at Arsenal that stretches back 10 years.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

The Gunners need to improve on a poor record against the the rest of the 'big four' this season - they have lost four of their five matches against their major rivals.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Arsene Wenger might not have given up on the title race, but defeat tonight would leave his team just two points ahead of rejuvenated Liverpool.