Awful Gunners in the line of fire

Goalkeeper Petr Cech cannot stop substitute Daniel Sturridge from heading in Liverpool's fourth goal against Arsenal on Sunday. Only West Ham (10) have conceded more Premier League goals this season than Arsenal (eight).
Goalkeeper Petr Cech cannot stop substitute Daniel Sturridge from heading in Liverpool's fourth goal against Arsenal on Sunday. Only West Ham (10) have conceded more Premier League goals this season than Arsenal (eight).PHOTO: REUTERS

Wenger blasts his side for inept performance against Liverpool while he faces fans' wrath

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger branded his side's surrender in the 4-0 rout by Liverpool on Sunday as unacceptable and "absolutely disastrous" as his tenure became engulfed in fresh crisis just three games into the new Premier League season.

Arsenal's inadequacies were laid bare as Liverpool feasted on their rivals' shortcomings to leave Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry saying that he could not bear to watch his former club.

Liverpool humiliated Wenger's team with goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and the substitute Daniel Sturridge - and could have scored more in a one-sided contest.

Arsenal have conceded 17 goals in their last five visits to Anfield and have lost two of their opening three league games for only the third time in 26 seasons.

The uncertainty over Wenger's future is no longer an excuse for Arsenal's repeated failures against the Premier League's leading teams, with the manager having signed a two-year extension, and he did not spare his players in a damning assessment of their efforts.

Asked what went wrong at Anfield, he replied: "Everything. From the first minute to the last minute we were not at the level requested for such a game. Not physically, not technically, not mentally and we were punished.

"That's basically it. Of course, you can analyse the chances we gave away, but I just think overall the performance was not at the requested level."

His post-match press conference lasted only two minutes and 10 seconds before he left the media room, but he also said: "The result is a consequence of our performance.

"We were not good enough. We were beaten everywhere physically, in the end I believe we made it easier for them, and the mistakes gave them a cushion."

He was booed by sections of the away support when he stepped into his technical area for the first time in the second half.

On the hostile reception, the Frenchman said: "I don't want to answer that. That's part of the crowd's feelings. If I am the problem, I am sorry, but I believe all together we lose.

"The only thing we can do is come back and give them a better level of performance."

Yesterday, however, he was faced with further bad news, as midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been angling for a transfer all summer, is reportedly on his way to rivals Chelsea, after the Blues agreed upon a transfer fee with the Gunners.

For Jurgen Klopp, victory showed his side's improvement, and of their formidable attacking threat.

"We need to learn we can do things like this every three or four days. We wanted to show it today and prove to ourselves and be spot on from the first second. The performance was perfect," he said.

THE TIMES, LONDON,THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'Awful Gunners in the line of fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe