Sunday, April 01, 2007

Clinical Reds Finish Off Gunners

Crouch Scored The 'Perfect Hat-trick'

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 4 - 1 Arsenal

LIV - Crouch (4min, 35min, 81min), Agger (60min);
ARS - Gallas (73min);

Match Highlights:

What a way to score your first ever hat trick for the club. Peter Crouch, despite having a nose job prior to the game, showed that he hasn't lost his sense of sniffing for goals as he scored the perfect hat trick, with his head, left and right foot.

The journeyman of football, stigmatised as just a targetman and ridiculed because of his height, rose above everyone last night as he tormented world class defenders like Kolo Toure and Willy Gallas with skills, precision and clinical finishings.

But it was a superb team effort as Liverpool leapfrogged Arsenal into 3rd place and there was the air of vengeance at Anfield last night as Rafa Benitez's men ruled out the possibility of a 4th defeat in a season by the same team.

The Spaniard created confusion prior to the game as he surprised everyone with a 4-2-3-1 tactic with Peter Crouch the focal point of his attack while Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano protected the defence.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were depleted off several key players including Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Gilberto.

With the new owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks spotted in the stands, Liverpool came out all guns blazing to show their worth and it took only the first minute of the game for Steven Gerrard to take up a good position to fire a shot just over the bar.

With all the talks about Arsenal's brand of beautiful football, Liverpool showed that they're capable of it as well when Alvaro Arbeloa and Jermaine Pennant both showed trickery and a bit of magic as they exchanged backheel passes before the Spanish right back put in a brilliant square ball into the penalty box.

Crouch uses his advantage well, which is his dandy long legs. He got ahead of his marker, Toure, and slotted the ball nicely past Jens Lehmann. Just like the match against Chelsea, Liverpool took the early lead and the rest as said, is history.

But after the home side took the lead, they started to slacked off a little and allowed Arsenal to dominate possession. And we are well aware of what Arsenal of capable of when they have the ball. With their flair and free flowing moves, they can unlock the stingiest defence with ease.

Adebayor came close when Denilson's corner was well met with his head but the Togolese striker couldn't control the height of the ball as it went over Reina's goal. Baptista had the best chance for Arsenal as he was found unmarked just inside the penalty box but he mind-bogglingly sliced the ball away from the goal.

Arsenal were made to pay for their generosity in front of goal as Peter Crouch scored his second of the game with a brilliant header. Fabio Aurelio's fantastic cross from the left was met with a leaping Crouch as he overpowered Gallas and Toure before heading past a stranded Lehmann.

With Alex Hleb and Julio Baptista ineffective and the rest of the team a little tired and jaded, Arsenal lacked any bite in them despite having the possessions while Liverpool threatened whenever they spread their plays wide and the Arsenal defence struggled to deal with their crosses.

It's a common knowledge that Arsenal's defence against set pieces is weak and Liverpool exploited it well with Daniel Agger nodding home the third goal. Once again, it was Aurelio's ball into the box and the Dane only needed to get a touch of the ball before it flew past Lehmann.

Although Arsenal did made an attempt to make the score line look more respectable with William Gallas, yet again, scoring from a corner, it was too late when Crouch twisted and turned the defence inside out and with his left foot, smashed the ball into the goal and sent the Anfield faithful into raptures.

What a neat piece of skill, from a man who looked so awkward and gangly. It's his 16th goal of the season in all competition and only 4 away from being the '20 goals a season' striker.

It was a perfect revenge for Rafa Benitez's men as they gain the upper hand in the fight for 3rd place. And Crouch must be delighted with his efforts. Well done, son.

Drogballs' Player Ratings:

Reina (7) - Comfortable but still looked unsure when it comes to crosses.

Arbeloa (7) - Nice league debut for him. Solid and composed
Carragher (8) - As usual
Agger (7) - Some awkward moments but overall, did well and scored a good goal
Aurelio (8) - His delivery is top notch and one of his best performance in the red shirt

Pennant (8) - Tricky and determined. Did well against his ex club
Mascherano (9) - Hard working, imposing and dictating play. Good at tackles and game reading
Gerrard (8) - Usual self, although could've done better and score!
Alonso (7) - Pretty subdued. Lot's of defensive work for him
Gonzalez (7) - Put in some good crosses and provided width but still look too light weight

Crouch (10) - All things positive. Good control, header, touch and scored a hat trick. Nothing more I could say.

For all the goals, interviews and post match videos, HEAD OVER TO for more!


cahyo wijanarko said...

good game last night..!!btw, thanks for linking back to me.

TLR said...

Great confidence boost for the guys with this result.

Just gotta carry that form into PSV.

Was rapt with the way Rafa deployed two dedicated wingers in Pennant and Gonzalez. Thought Pennant was quite brilliant and had a direct hand in two goals.

With Crouchinho in great form, getting to the byline is going to cause many many teams a lot of trouble.

And how refreshing was it to see a "0" in the Offside column for Liverpool after the match ... ? Craig who?


More like because Arsenal had a deep line and Peter Crouch sort of push their defence back a little.

Yea, winning Arsenal is one thing. PSV next and better no slip up again this time.