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Arsenal dead on their feet but alive to tie after epic defensive performance at Anfield

They’ve had a lot of miserable mutilations at Anfield in the past and several of them have been with 11 men.

It seemed like the story was meant to be about Xhaka, who was straight out of solitary confinement after testing positive for Covid-19, and it certainly sounded like the case when he received a red card after catching Diogo Jota like the last man with a high tackle.

Instead, however, it was Arsenal putting in a defensive performance that would have left Mikel Arteta extremely satisfied.

Liverpool only managed one shot on target in the 90 minutes, with this one coming just to death, and Arsenal kept them superbly at bay.

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The Gunners, of course, were lucky at times, especially when Takumi Minamino threw the ball over the bar in the 90th minute with the goal gaping in front of him. The Japan international was Liverpool’s biggest offensive threat all night, twice sending crosses through the goal that no one could convert.

Other than that the hosts have created very little which is why Arsenal will play in the second leg next week at the helm.

Ben White was a rock at the heart of the defense, playing with the poise and strength that made you understand why Arsenal paid £ 50million for him. Gabriel has also been excellent on his side, but Calum Chambers and Rob Holding deserve a lot of praise as well.

The pair were pitched in the first 30 minutes, as Arsenal struggled to recover from Cedric’s injury and Xhaka’s red card, and they stepped up to the plate. Chambers hadn’t played since October, but on that evidence he should have more chances.

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