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  • Diaby (72)
  • Date:2010-02-10
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:Emirates Stadium
  • Attendance:60045
  • Referee:Webb, H

Live Commentary

90mins

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

90mins

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

90mins

Four minutes of stoppage time will be played.

89mins

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

87mins

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

85mins

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

83mins

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

81mins

Nicklas Bendtner makes way for Bacary Sagna.

78mins

Ryan Babel replaces Lucas Leiva.

77mins

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

74mins

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

72mins

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

68mins

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

67mins

Theo Walcott replaces Andrey Arshavin.

65mins

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

62mins

Philipp Degen is booked for a foul on Andrey Arshavin.

60mins

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

58mins

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

56mins

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

54mins

Jamie Carragher is replaced by Philipp Degen.

51mins

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

48mins

The second half has started at a better tempo.

46mins

The second half starts.

45mins

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

45mins

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

43mins

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

40mins

Maxi Rodriguez is cautioned for a foul on Emmanuel Eboue.

39mins

Gael Clichy is booked for a trip on Gerrard.

39mins

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

36mins

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

34mins

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

33mins

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

32mins

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

30mins

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

28mins

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

26mins

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

24mins

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

22mins

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

19mins

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.

17mins

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

15mins

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

14mins

Samir Nasri is struggling with a knock.

13mins

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

11mins

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

9mins

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

7mins

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

4mins

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

2mins

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.

1mins

Howard Webb gets play underway at the Emirates.

0mins

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.

0mins

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

0mins

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.

0mins

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.

0mins

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.

Match Preview

Arsenal face Liverpool in what has turned into a must-win clash for the Gunners following back-to-back defeats against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger's exuberant side were harshly brushed to one side in the showdowns with the Premier League big-hitters and a further setback would surely see their flickering title dream come to an end.

They now trail Chelsea by nine points following Sunday's 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge with Didier Drogba once again proving too much for William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

He scored both goals early in the first half to add to his brace at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the campaign. The Ivory Coast hit-man has now scored a superb 12 times in 12 games against the Gunners.

In sharp contrast to Arsenal's current woes, Liverpool will be flying after another Merseyside derby win over rivals Everton on Saturday.

A 1-0 win, thanks to Dirk Kuyt's 50th Liverpool goal, sealed the three points as they further aided their top-four challenge and they look to be regaining form at the right time.

They have picked up ten points from the last 12 on offer without conceding a goal and life at Anfield is beginning to look a little better with boss Rafa Benitez breathing much easier.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos was dismissed in the first half at the weekend as the highly-charged derby clash threatened to boil over and he will miss the trip to London as he begins a three-match ban.

Arsenal have several injury problems ahead of the clash with Eduardo (hamstring) and Fran Merida (ankle) out of Wenger's team.

Kieran Gibbs (metatarsal), Johann Djourou (knee) and Robin van Persie (ankle) are also definitely out while Mexican Carlos Vela (knee) missed the Chelsea clash and is unlikely to feature on Wednesday.

Benitez is still without Fernando Torres after the Spaniard picked up a knee injury in last month's FA Cup defeat against Reading with Yossi Benayoun's fractured rib continuing to cause concern.

England right-back Glen Johnson (knee ligament) is out until early next month and will be striving to return to action as soon as possible to enhance his chances of figuring for his country at the World Cup finals in the summer.


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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.

Arsenal

Liverpool

Corners

36

Fouls

2115

Goal attempts

87

Shots off target

53

Offsides

33

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