Before the beginning of the top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal and Liverpool, all talk was about the two teams' attacking prowess. Arsenal's dynamic playmakers vs Liverpool's SAS combine of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Well, after 90 minutes of a fascinating technical battle full of quality, it was Arsenal's playmakers that held all the trump cards with Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey scoring two sumptuous goals to help their side to a 2-0 victory.
The three points means the Gunners extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points from Chelsea and Liverpool after ten matches.
Both sides had key players missing from their starting lineups, with Arsenal having to do without Jack Wilshere, who was ruled out with an ankle knock, while Glen Johnson could not be made available to play due to illness for Liverpool.
The match started on an even note, with neither side really bossing it, even though Arsenal perhaps did look a shade better going forward, with Tomas Rosicky forcing a smart save from Simon Mignolet early on.
After a period where both sides were feeling each other out, as is always the case in big games, Arsenal struck the opener on 19 minutes. Mikel Arteta, Arsenal's holding midfielder in the absence of Mathieu Flamini, burst forward from midfield and found Bacary Sagna in space on the right.
The Arsenal right-back, who has a habit of misfiring the majority of his crosses, did not disappoint this time around, finding an onrushing Santi Cazorla, whose thumping header from the edge of the box struck the crossbar. However, Cazorla himself was on hand to latch onto the rebound, volleying home brilliantly past Mignolet.
Arsenal definitely had the better of the chances in the first half, with Aaron Ramsey testing Mignolet with a shot after a nice one-two. The Gunners were making good use of their understanding and prowess going forward, but just could not find that second goal, with Cazorla coming close on a couple more occasions. Liverpool, meanwhile, at the other end always posed a threat with the Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge partnership.
There was a moment of contention in the first half, when Martin Atkinson called play back after Suarez had taken a quick freekick following a foul on himself by Sagna.
Sturridge went on to take the pass from Suarez and lay the ball off to Jordan Henderson for a tap-in, but the whistle had already gone, and Mikel Arteta, covering back, had relaxed.
Brendan Rodgers changed his formation in the second half, bringing on Philippe Coutinho for wingback Aly Cissokho and with it going back to a flat back-four.
Liverpool started the brighter in the second 45, with Henderson firing high after some good work from Suarez, the striker that Arsenal wanted in the summer, as the latter looked menacing and in the mood to cause some damage.
The game had a really good pace to it in the second half, and former Arsenal man Kolo Toure nearly gifted the home side their second goal. A backpass was seized upon by the alert Giroud, but the Arsenal striker's chip over Mignolet just crept wide.
With Liverpool pushing men forward, Arsenal always looked a threat on the counter, and another quick attack saw Cazorla slip Giroud in, but his stab-shot under pressure was easily kept out by Mignolet.
Arsenal needn't have worried, though, as their Welsh magician stepped up to the plate yet again to make it 2-0. Ramsey received a ball from Mesut Ozil outside the box, before striking a quite sweet, dipping and swerving half-volley into the top of the net, leaving Mignolet grasping at air.
Liverpool gave a good go of it, but apart from a few nervous moments here and there Arsenal held firm pretty well. Suarez struck the base of the post off a nice strike from a tight angle, while Arsenal nearly made it 3-0 via Ozil, whose near-post strike was saved by Mignolet.
With the home side, who had lost their previous two games at the Emirates, albeit in different competitions, not looking in the mood to relinquish their lead at the top, the game was only headed one way - three points to the Arsenal.
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