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Man City impress at Arsenal; Pogba vs. Mourinho

Marcotti's Musings
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Jack Wilshere 8/10 for Arsenal in thrilling 3-3 draw vs. Liverpool

Arsenal came away from a thrilling match against Liverpool with a 3-3 draw. Despite leading 3-2 at one stage, they'll probably consider themselves fortunate to finish the game with a point. Had Liverpool been more clinical, it would surely have been over by half-time.

Philippe Coutinho nodded Liverpool ahead with his first headed goal in the Premier League before Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage shortly after the break. However, quick-fire goals from Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil saw Arsenal complete a remarkable turnaround.

However, they could not hold out for the win. Petr Cech got a hand to Roberto Firmino's shot, but it dropped into the net behind him for an equaliser.

Positives

Arsene Wenger will doubtless talk up the character of his team, which did show impressive tenacity to come from 2-0 down to lead 3-2. He'll also be heartened by the performance of Jack Wilshere, who started his third consecutive Premier League match for the first time since 2014 and was one of Arsenal's better players.

Negatives

The Arsenal defence was a mess and were it not for several outstanding Cech saves, this would have been a no-contest. Wenger appears to have elected to make a full-time switch to a back-four, but it has not solved Arsenal's defensive issues.

This must also go down as a missed opportunity to record a valuable win over Arsenal's immediate rivals for a top-four place. Liverpool will regard four points from their two league fixtures against Arsenal as a good return.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- How do you assess a performance like this? Theoretically, Wenger deserves as much credit for Arsenal's fight-back as he does criticism for their initial awfulness. He will argue his faith in his players was ultimately rewarded but there are clearly still big problems at Arsenal.

ArsenalArsenal
LiverpoolLiverpool
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Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 8 -- Arsenal were grateful to their experienced goalkeeper for making a number of vital saves to keep them in the game. He got some criticism for failing to keep out Firmino's leveller but was arguably unlucky to see his save drop into the net. The good he did far outweighed any bad.

DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- The Spain defender has a dreadful first half but improved in the second and he created Sanchez's goal with an unusually good cross. He must improve his delivery if he is to fulfil his potential and become one of the best right-backs, and that centre was a step in the right direction.

DF Laurent Koscielny, 5 -- One of the advantages of Arsenal's back three was that it offered a measure of protection for Koscielny's ageing legs. In a central defensive pair he is more frequently asked to race against the striker, and that is when he is exposed.

DF Nacho Monreal, 6 -- The Spain international managed only 45 minutes before succumbing to injury. He was probably relieved to get off, given the manner in which the Liverpool attack toyed with the Arsenal defence in the first half.

DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 7 -- The most controversial selection of the evening, the youngster didn't embarrass himself against Salah, the league's most in-form player. There were times when his inexperience showed, such as when he let the Egypt international run off him in the build-up to the opening goal. However, he will be proud of his display.

MF Granit Xhaka, 6 -- His screamer from range will go some way towards redeeming him but don't let that fool you into believing this was a good performance from the Switzerland international. His defensive awareness and decision-making simply aren't up to scratch.

MF Mesut Ozil, 8 -- As his Arsenal contract gets closer to expiring, Ozil's influence over this team seems to be growing. This was another excellent performance from the German international, who was the key figure in their second half fight-back.

Wilshere was spirited and aggressive as Arsenal fought to a draw vs. Liverpool.

MF Jack Wilshere, 8 -- Even when Arsenal were at their worst, Wilshere showed fight and finesse. This was a big performance from a player who is making a real case to earn a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.

FW Alex Iwobi, 5 -- The Nigeria international struggled against Liverpool. He is usually very efficient on the ball but on Friday night, he couldn't keep hold of it. He looks like a player with little confidence at present.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 6 -- Like Xhaka, Sanchez scored to cover a multitude of sins. He seems to give the ball away an alarming amount right now, yet he continues to make vital contributions in the final third. His goal is ultimately the one that changed the dynamic of the game.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- Although he didn't get too many scoring opportunities for himself, Lacazette linked the play well from his centre-forward spot. His flicked pass to Ozil for Arsenal's third goal was particularly outstanding.

Substitutes:

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- Came on for Monreal (72nd minute) and was unfortunate to see Salah's goal deflect in off his heel.

FW Danny Welbeck, NR -- Replaced Iwobi (78th minute) but did not make much impact.

FW Theo Walcott, NR -- Introduced for Sanchez (89th minute) but barely had time to get a touch of the ball.

James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.

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