In the absence of Mohamed Salah, Arsenal imposes an “unexpected” result...

In the absence of Mohamed Salah, Arsenal imposes an “unexpected” result...
In the absence of Mohamed Salah, Arsenal imposes an “unexpected” result...

Arsenal imposed a goalless draw at Liverpool with ten players at Anfield on Thursday in the first leg of the English League Cup semi-finals, after playing shorts since the 24th minute after their Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka was sent off.
The first leg was scheduled to take place at the Emirates Stadium in the capital, London, last Thursday, before it was postponed due to injuries to the Corona virus in the ranks of Liverpool.
The identity of the team that will face Chelsea in the final, next Thursday, will be decided when the two teams meet in the capital London, after the Blues were the first to qualify on Wednesday by renewing the victory over Tottenham (2-0 in the first leg and 1-0 in the back).
The competition will witness the crowning of a new champion for the first time in five years, after Manchester City dominated the titles in the last four seasons before exiting from the fourth round in the current.
“They showed fighting spirit, determination, character and brotherhood. You can see the emotion in the way they played,” said Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta, whose team became the first to deny Liverpool a record at Anfield in all competitions this season.
“They never gave up. It’s very difficult to do it on this court against an opponent like this. They deserve credit for what they did today. We played the game we should have played.”

“I would have preferred a goal over an expulsion.”

German coach Jurgen Klopp’s team played the match in the absence of Egyptian attacking stars Mohamed Salah and Senegalese Sadio Mane because they were busy with their countries’ teams in the African Nations Cup in Cameroon, in addition to Ghanaian midfielder Naby Keita, and they were replaced by the brilliant Portuguese this season Diogo Jota and Japanese Takumi Minamino.
“I would have preferred to score than to have a player sent off by them, especially after the result of the game now,” Klopp said with a laugh. “It was difficult because we had to change the squad for known reasons. It’s a good squad and I like it but when you play against a defense that is too low, it’s even more difficult.” Something about football and I’m not surprised we struggled tonight.”
And he continued about the players who were infected with Corona, “It is strange, although they did not suffer from symptoms, but the players are no longer the same as they were before.”
For his part, and for the same reasons, Arsenal missed Gabobby Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been suffering with his team recently for disciplinary reasons, Egyptian Mohamed Elneny, Ivory Coast Nicolas Pepe and Ghanaian Thomas Partey.
Edouard Nikita and French Alexandre Lacazette led the London club’s attack, which lacked the efforts of the brilliant Emile Smith Rowe due to injury.
Arsenal suffered an early blow with the injury of Portuguese defender Cedric Soares, who was replaced by Calum Chambers (11).
And goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale almost caused a goal for his team when Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson cut his ball when he was raising it on the outskirts of the area before he managed to catch up with him and turn it into a corner (12).
Xhaka was expelled after the Scottish left-back Andrew Robertson raised a wonderful long ball behind the defenders towards Jota to the outskirts of the area, and when the latter was trying to tame it with his chest and penetrate into the area, the Swiss raised his foot trying to disperse it, dropping the Portuguese to the ground (24).
As a result, Arteta Nketah was taken out and pushed by defender Rob Holding.
Although Liverpool, the record holder in the competition titles (8, most recently in 2012), equaled possession with City, Arsenal managed to reduce his danger and prevented him from taking any shot on goal before the second minute of overtime.
Klopp pushed Curtis Jones (61) and made a three-way switch with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nico Williams and Joe Gomez (76) in an attempt to revitalize the lines.
The first shot came between the three woods in the match in the 72nd minute, after the ball reached Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka inside the area, and he shot it towards the goal, but Brazilian goalkeeper Alison Becker came out at the right time.
Minamino missed an opportunity for Liverpool in a strange way, when Ramsdale came out after a cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain and the goal was empty, but the Japanese hit it over the crossbar (90).
Jones was the only shot on goal in the meeting for the Reds, but Ramsdale kept it away with his fists (90 + 2).

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