Arsenal’s lengthy wait for a league triumph at Anfield continued on Saturday as Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool was dubbed one of the most heated games in decades by manager Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal had hopes of winning the league against Liverpool for the first time since 2012 thanks to an early headed goal by Gabriel, but Mohammed Salah equalised brilliantly just before halftime.
Despite their inability to force a winner, Arteta’s team had a solid finish and will go into Christmas with a one-point advantage over Liverpool and Aston Villa at the top of the table.
Prior to the match, the Spaniard claimed that competing at Anfield was like to being in a washing machine and that he should expect a fast-paced, intense battle.
“An unbelievable game of football, one of the most intense I’ve witnessed in 20 years in this league,” Arteta said.
“For many moments we were on top, in the last 20 minutes we wanted it more, but a draw is a fair result.
“To see our boys have the courage and belief to play like we have done here I think our players deserve big, big credit.”
Arsenal received overwhelming appreciation from Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, but Arteta said that Liverpool was the cause of pandemonium.
“We were determined to attack and cause them problems.
They are a team who cause chaos, they are so vertical and direct.
“They are the best in the world at doing that,” Arteta said.
“It was an unbelievable game of football with two teams that raised the bar to another level.”
For the second year in a row, Arsenal will be the team to celebrate Christmas Day on top, however they might have lost their position before their next game on Thursday.
On Tuesday, both Liverpool and Aston Villa, who trail by one point, are playing.
“I’m happy to be where we are. Tomorrow we have a beautiful dinner with our families, then back to work,” Arteta said.
Despite winning five of their past seven league games, Arteta stated that Arsenal still needs to make improvements if they hope to maintain their lead in a close race for the championship.
“Yeah of course there are certain things that we have to improve. Especially killing games,” he said.
“Sometimes the results have been too close. But we have showed a good level with five key players out. That’s something we have to maintain.”
Left back Kostas Tsimikas, who is believed to have broken his collarbone, cost Liverpool a point, and manager Jurgen Klopp was also left fuming when his team was not given a penalty for what appeared to be a handball by Martin Odegaard.
“I am pretty sure someone will come to explain it to me why it was not a handball but I don’t know how?,” Klopp said.
“I don’t say that the ref can see it because I don’t know where he was in that moment. But how can a guy in an office see that and not come to the conclusion that maybe, possibly it could be worth the referee having another look?”