The only plus from Liverpool drubbing for Arsenal

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

Fresh off the back of his two-goal salvo against Crystal Palace, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was one of precious few Arsenal players to turn up at Anfield.

There was precious little to cheer from an Arsenal perspective on Saturday as Liverpool handed out a merciless beating to a Gunners side which just could not deal with the power, intensity or speed of wave after wave of attacks.

Brendan Rodgers got his tactics spot on, while Arsene Wenger quite simply didn't. The travelling outfit were littered with non-performances from the likes of Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla, who spent the entirety of the match on the periphery and were constantly overrun by Liverpool's swarming midfield.

The only positive to be deduced in some respects was the fact there were a few who refused to give up in the face of a relentless attacking display from the hosts despite being on the end of a 5-1 defeat with four goals in the opening 20 minutes ultimately settling the contest from the match's infant stages.

Jack Wilshere, despite his indiscretions with Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, tried to drive his team on, Laurent Koscielny emerged with some second-half credit and Wojciech Szczesny, haplessly exposed throughout, made a couple of decent saves.

That aside, it was an abysmal, humiliating and, perhaps most pertinently, humbling experience for the Gunners ahead of a make-or-break month which will shape the rest of their season.

Wenger described his players as "feeble" which highlighted the pain he felt, given the staunch manner in which he usually defends his charges, you could feel the Frenchman's pain. If there was any consolation for the manager and coaching staff, however scant it might be, then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's performance was it.

The Ox, as he is most commonly known, was missing for large periods of the opening quarter, let's not mistake that but it was admirable that the visitors' youngest player was the one who showed the most passion in at least trying to reduce the arrears.

He put more experienced first-team members to shame with a spirited display which featured one of the Gunners' six shots on target with an effort which Simon Mignolet had to be alert to deal with.

Oxlade-Chamberlain had just last week put Crystal Palace to the sword with a brace as he formally announced his return to first-team proceedings and while this performance was nowhere near the levels reached then, the passion he showed could not be doubted.

He attempted two shots on goal against Liverpool, completed 34 out of 42 passes - working out at a commendable 81% - and also illustrated why he can provide a valuable asset to the Gunners on the wing as much as he can in the centre.

He operated next to Mikel Arteta in the win over Palace but started wide on the right and while the results obviously differed, it would be a discredit to his service to say the experiment failed.

The former Southampton midfielder completed 44% of his contests, mainly up against Reds left-back Aly Cissokho, having attempted nine and come out on top in four of those.

It was a bad day for everyone involved with Arsenal Football Club and they must bounce back immediately to prove the fire is still burning bright with regards to a title challenge, with questions raised off the back of a chastening afternoon on Merseyside.

But if anyone deserves to retain their spot, the Ox is a leading candidate for the sort of spirit his peers so sorely lacked on Saturday.

PlayerTeamPosTotal Scoring Att / appsOntarget Scoring Att / appsShot Off Target / appsTotal Pass / appsAccurate Pass / appsTotal Contest / appsWon Contest / appsAppsMins
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal MF 2.00 1.00 0 42.00 34.00 9.00 4.00 1 90

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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