No One’s Surprised Liverpool Won Easy, But Arsenal Managed To End One Epic Streak

Liverpool defeated Arsenal 3-1 in an early first-vs.-second Premier League battle on Saturday at Anfield. The final result wasn’t really a surprise for anyone who has paid attention to the Premier League the last few years, even if the Gunners had looked improved in their first two matches of the season. 

But Arsenal did manage to end one of the most impressive stats in the Premier League.

Joel Matip headed in a corner in the first half and Mohamed Salah tallied a second-half brace thanks to some boneheaded play from David Luiz while Liverpool limited Arsenal’s chances going forward throughout the match. When the Gunners did break, neither Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nor new signing Nicolás Pépé could supply a decent-enough finish to trouble Adrian in goal. A late goal from Lucas Torreira had to real impact on the result.

But there was one moment of joy for Arsenal.

In the first half, Pépé became the first player in the last 50 Premier League matches to dribble past Liverpool bulwark Virgil van Dijk.

The last player to dribble past van Dijk was Mikel Merino more than a year ago. Before that, Alexandre Lacazette had last dribbled by VVD in 2017.  

The Pépé dribble vs van Dijk came in the seventh minute, when Arsenal still looked like it might threaten the Reds on the break. The Ivory Coast international sucked VVD in with his first touch before blowing past him with his second.

(Hopefully the Premier League doesn’t take down the videos because apparently the league doesn’t want proof that van Dijk is beatable and the clip is hard to come by.)

Of course, after the Pépé dribble vs van Dijk, it was all downhill for Arsenal. Even if the dribble had been worth a goal, it wouldn’t have mattered. 

Liverpool extended its home unbeaten run to 42 matches with a fairly routine victory. 

Sustained first-half pressure resulted in countless corners and eventually Matip converted one for the Reds. Sokratis was too busy fouling van Dijk to defend Matip, who scored his second goal of the season. 

In the second half, Mohamed Salah took over. 

David Luiz showed he wasn’t as smart as Sideshow Bob when he tugged on Salah’s shirt in the box, a light but blatant foul to gift Liverpool a second goal. 

Next, David Luiz looked like he didn’t even care to try to defend Salah, who breezed by the Brazilian before making it 3-0.

Torreira managed to prevent a Liverpool clean sheet when he finished neatly after he totally meant to miss the first attempt in the 85th minute, but the Gunners never looked like making a full comeback.

Liverpool passed yet another test as it aims to win its first-ever Premier League title. The Reds went five points clear of Manchester City, at least until last season’s champs play Sunday.

Arsenal, meanwhile, showed it still doesn’t have the defensive solidity to challenge for the top spots in the Premier League.

But at least Pépé is one awesome dribbler. 

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