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What can you say about Robin Van Persie? He has been absolutely AMAZING this year for Arsenal. We all know the talent and what he was capable of before, but he could never stay healthy long enough to display his talents. Well this year, Van Persie has started in nearly every single game for Arsenal, and not only has he been prolific, he has (in my opinion) added some strength and heading to his abilities as a forward, making him a complete centre forward now. To think the Chelsea spent 50 million quids on Fernando Torres and Liverpool spending 35 for Andy Carroll, Van Persie was bought for only 2.75 million pounds!
To recap: another fantastic week for Gunner fans! This week, Arsenal played against Top 4 contenders Liverpool at the legendary Anfield. For those unfamiliar, the Barclays Premier League is the top England league, and with it, placing in the first 4 places of the “table” gives you the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League, a European competition that pits all the top European clubs against each other. With it, comes amazing opportunities and money; to summarize, the top teams in Europe want to be in this competition.
In the past decade, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United were always in the “Top 4” in some form or another. Recently however, Manchester City and Tottenham have both become a stronger squad and broken into the “Top 4”, knocking Liverpool out.
Liverpool have a long and proud history, winning 18 English league titles, but none since 1990, when the Premier League did not exist and the top England league was known as “Division One”. With Liverpool 7 points behind Arsenal coming into the game for that final Champions League spot in 4th, they needed a win to try and catch up to the Gunners.
The game started off well for Liverpool, and to be honest, they were dominant in the first half and very unlucky not to have scored at least 2 goals. There were numerous opportunities for them to score, but the first event came in the 18th minute, when Luis Suarez questionably went down in the penalty area resulting in a Liverpool penalty kick. Dirk Kuyt decided to take on the PK – and was stopped magnificently by Wojciech Szczęsny, who made an even better save on the rebound attempt.
The first goal came minutes later though, when Laurent Koscielney mistakenly sliced the ball into his own net from a Jordan Henderson cross. At 30 minutes however, Bacary Sagna crossed into the box for Robin Van Persie to head the ball into the net uncontested.
Liverpool missed numerous opportunities to go ahead, and were made to pay in the 2nd of the 8 additional minutes added on at the end of the game (due to an injury to Mikel Arteta). Alex Song delivered a beautiful chipped through ball, and Robin Van Persie delivered a powerful volley that beat Pepe Reina at his near post. It was reminiscent of his volley against Everton earlier in the season.
With Chelsea losing 1-0 to West Brom and Tottenham losing 3-1 to Manchester United over the weekend, Arsenal are 3 points ahead of Chelsea in the top 4 spot and only 4 points behind the Spurs for 3rd place.