Arsenal have now suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats as Liverpool humiliated them at Anfield with a comfortable 4-0 win.
In fact, Arsene Wenger’s team were lucky to leave Merseyside having conceded only the four goals.
Goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge made it a truly miserable afternoon for the Gunners.
Lambasted by a number of pundits following their gutless display, the national newspapers didn’t hold back either.
Here’s a selection of some of the best reports:
Martin Samuel – Daily Mail
But here, the harshest judgment was simply unavoidable. They all piled in. Thierry Henry, Gary Neville, Graeme Souness, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Jamie Carragher. Hell, even AP McCoy took a swing at it, and he rides horses.
They used words reserved for the most damning of verdicts. Embarrassing. Disgrace. Shocking. Schoolboys. Arsene Wenger, it was suggested, could put the entire team up for sale, or substitute any one of them.
And while this was going on, Liverpool’s lead kept steadily increasing. Goals in the 17th minute, the 40th, the 57th, the 77th. Split the game into quarters and there was not one in which Liverpool did not score, not one in which they were not the superior team.
Their dominance was total, Arsenal’s surrender abject. It could have been worse because Petr Cech needed to be on top form, just to keep it to four.
Jurgen Klopp was jubilant at the end and rightly so, but how could Wenger defend this? It was everything the dissenters complained about last season, squared, and telling that there was little criticism from the away end.
David Maddock – Mirror Football
Alexis Sanchez looked as though he would rather have been anywhere else… and most certainly in Paris, or Manchester.
He looked a beaten man.
And so did just about every one of his team-mates.
Just consider that for a second.
Three games into a bright new season where everything is supposed to have changed for the Gunners, and they look a beaten team, with no hope and no idea. And Wenger – for all his historical brilliance as a manager – must take the blame for that.
Another thing to think about for a second.
Mane is quite possibly the most dangerous wide player in the whole of Europe right now, and yet Arsene Wenger chose to mark the devastating Liverpool forward with a player intent on leaving because he doesn’t want to play wing-back.
Paul Wilson – The Guardian
Their three-man back line was under pressure all the time because Liverpool had the numbers in midfield. There was no way Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka could stem the red tide; in fact both Arsenal midfielders had experiences they would prefer to forget.
Xhaka found himself passing the ball out of play for a corner because he had nowhere else to turn when Salah closed him down in his own area while Ramsey, who was replaced at half-time, suffered the indignity of being stood up and beaten by Georginio Wijnaldum twice in quick succession.
Welbeck struggled to get into the game up front after putting an early half chance over the bar, but so did Özil and Sánchez. Arsenal’s front men found themselves isolated whereas Liverpool’s were constantly supplied by Emre Can, Henderson and Wijnaldum. Clearly Liverpool’s job was made easier in the second half by Arsenal’s need to take risks and chase the game, though that does not explain why the visitors were so regularly caught in possession by determined home runners relentlessly closing them down.
A pattern was already emerging in the second half before Héctor Bellerín realised too late on halfway that Salah was not going to allow him as much time on the ball as he required. Nacho Monreal had already coughed up the ball to Salah in the same way, obliging Cech to come to his rescue with a save, and even before the third goal Rob Holding and Sánchez had been similarly pickpocketed.
Once Salah took maximum advantage of having an empty half to run into, Sánchez adopted his now familiar “beam me up” pose, and when Wenger took a step into his technical area there were a few boos from travelling supporters in the Anfield Road end.
Jason Burt – The Telegraph
Liverpool were fantastic; Arsenal fantastical; an embarrassing shambles; a pale, grotesque shadow of the side they should be. A parody. They were humiliated by Liverpool’s attacking power and pace but added to their miserable downfall with their lack of organisation and determination. Once behind, it was over. All over. They had no belief and no leadership.
It was summed up by the utter ridiculousness of Liverpool’s third goal; a concession that would have led to angry recriminations in Sunday league football never mind elite professional sport. Arsenal took a corner. But they left Hector Bellerin as their sole defender and when the ball was cleared to him he wafted a leg at it unconvincingly, trying to control it, with Mohamed Salah charging down and then running from deep in his own half to calmly steer a low shot beyond Petr Cech.
The second goal was not much less of a travesty for Arsenal as they, again, were attacking before they lost the ball inside the Liverpool penalty area. Then it was pass, pass, pass and a final pass from Roberto Firmino out to Sadio Mane who cut back across Rob Holding – what possessed the Arsenal defender to show him inside? – with the outstanding forward then curling a superb right-footed shot around Cech and into the corner of the net.
It was that bad. A Liverpool win, given the recent history of this fixture, was predictable enough and the manner of it was also wholly familiar. They were too quick and aggressive and incisive for Arsenal to cope and therefore laid down their own marker as to what this season could hold.
On this evidence there is only one side who could possibly be considered as potential title – or even top four – contenders. “We’re going to win the league,” sarcastically sang the travelling Arsenal fans followed by “we are staying up”. It was that painful for them.