Alexandre Lacazette’s late equaliser extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run to 13 games and gave them a hard-earned 1-1 draw in a thrilling encounter with Liverpool at Emirates Stadium, yesterday.
James Milner’s powerful strike just after the hour, drilled home after Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s clearance rebounded off Rob Holding, looked to have put unbeaten Liverpool on course for victory.
Lacazette, however, had other ideas and drew the Gunners level eight minutes from time with a superb finish on the turn after he had taken the ball away from Liverpool keeper Alisson.
The point puts Liverpool back on top of the Premier League but they will feel hard done by after a first-half strike from Sadio Mane was incorrectly ruled out for offside, while Virgil van Dijk hit the post with a header and forced a fine save from Leno after the break.
Arsenal’s persistence deserved reward despite those escapes and their display confirmed their development under new manager Unai Emery.
Despite Arsenal’s unbeaten run, questions remained unanswered about the new Emery regime, no matter how impressive their results since defeats in their opening Premier League games at home to Manchester City and away at Chelsea.
It was felt Liverpool’s potent attack would provide their most severe test – and to come through against Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten side with a point will do wonders for belief and self-confidence.
Arsenal still have much to do to catch Liverpool but Emery’s era is in its infancy and there was much to admire about the Gunners – even though they got lucky with the first-half offside call that saw Mane’s goal ruled out for offside.
They showed real urgency in the first half to shade an enthralling first 45 minutes but arguably even more satisfying will be the manner in which they dug in to rescue a point after Milner put Liverpool ahead and Klopp’s side looked in the mood to finish Arsenal off.
Arsenal, with Lucas Torreira a fine addition and Lacazette a force up front, stuck to their task and were rewarded with a point.
They remain a work in progress but in a match many felt would see the new Arsenal’s flaws exposed, Emery and his players can regard this as a highly satisfactory result and performance.
Emery’s own urgency in the technical area transmits itself to the stands with, especially during the first half, a thunderous atmosphere in a place that seemed to have forgotten how to enjoy its football last season.
Arsenal’s supporters gave their team a warm reception at the final whistle and will have seen enough to confirm that Emery is on the right lines after succeeding Wenger.