Jota gives Liverpool attack a welcome boost
Diogo Jota may not have found the net since finally returning from his four-month layoff, but it may be no coincidence that Liverpool have seen an improvement in form since he was brought back to the team.
The Reds are unbeaten in the Premier League since Jota recovered from the serious calf injury that saw him miss the World Cup and, while involved in the manhandled at the hands of Real Madridhe played less than a third of that match.
Jota provides a lot of what Liverpool have been lacking in recent months. The time he has spent in Jurgen Klopp’s system means he is more attuned to the demands placed on the manager’s strikers when their side don’t have the ball, while he is more direct than some of his offensive teammates.
Jota also possesses more craftiness in possession than Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, who he showed with his compound ball into the box for Virgil van Dijk’s opener when he was unlucky to foul Max Kilman near Nunez’ disallowed goal. after setting up the chance with a mighty run.
The Portugal international’s lack of goals shows he’s still not fully back to his best, but his return has come at the perfect time for Liverpool as he slips into the top four.
Toothless Wolves continue to show an alarming lack of threat
Wolves’ lack of goal threat was once again evident in their defeat at Liverpool.
Julen Lopetegui’s side managed just one shot on target in the third minute from a Joao Moutinho saved shot.
The second half in particular made grim reading statistically. Wolves did not shoot and only managed two touches in the opposing area.
Their clean sheet at Anfield means they have failed to score in 12 of their Premier League games this season – the most with Bournemouth.
Wolves have also scored just 18 league goals this season – only Everton (17) have scored fewer in the top four divisions of English football.
These are alarming figures for Lopetegui, who must solve this problem quickly.
Wolves remain just three points above the bottom three, and with most of their relegation rivals now having a game in hand on them, the question of scoring takes on new importance.
Zinchenko gives Arsenal an unpredictability factor
For 40 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal’s efforts to navigate between the two benches of blue jerseys defending Jordan Pickford’s goal ended in frustration. Everton were compact and organised. The hosts could barely muster a shot on goal.
They needed a spark and it came, as it often does, from Oleksandr Zinchenko. Bukayo Saka’s opener was of course taken brilliantly, but the chance only appeared thanks to Zinchenko’s vision and ability to execute passes that other players cannot.
That he produced it from the right side of midfield seemed even more fitting. Zinchenko is a left-back in name only. In this game, as in so many others, he spent most of his time in the central areas, where Everton ultimately found it impossible to stop him.
“That’s why we bought him,” said a smiling Mikel Arteta afterwards, “because he gives something different to the team, his mentality and his quality too, to make certain things that allow us to be more unpredictable, to generate a lot of threat every time we are in possession.”
It also helps that he’s done all of this before. He became a serial winner at Manchester City but, as Arteta later pointed out, he also accumulated invaluable experience in unlocking stubborn defences. “He’s played those kinds of games, against low blocks, 200 times and that’s very helpful.”
His role in this victory can be seen in the numbers. In addition to his assist, Zinchenko had the most touches of any player on the pitch (109), while no one made more assists in the final third (31).
His performance was just the latest reminder of how he has helped take this Arsenal side to another level this season.
Another sobering night for Everton
Everton beat Arsenal 1-0 in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge, so they could do it again just under a month later, right?
For 40 minutes it certainly looked like they were in with a scream. Sean Dyche’s men were incredibly well organized for much of the first half, with tight groups of players limiting Arsenal’s room to manoeuvre, and they also looked like a threat on the counterattack. If it hadn’t been for two lapses in concentration before the break, they might have built on those solid foundations after this one.
Oleksandr Zinchenko played a fine ball for Bukayo Saka to finish with aplomb from an angle and, in a flash, it was two when Gabriel Martinelli headed home after Saka stole the ball from Idrissa Gana Gueye after his costly – and bizarre – loitering episode. . Suddenly, the wind was removed from the sails of the Merseysiders.
It didn’t improve in the second half as a goal from Martin Odegaard and a second from Martinelli finished the job for the Gunners, who once again moved five points clear of second-placed Manchester City. with 13 games to go. play.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall considering Arsenal won the same game 5-1 on the final day of last season and Everton’s away form has been nothing short of abject this season, with just one win in 12 Premier League games so far in 2022. /23. But there’s no denying that even a spot north of London would have been invaluable to Dyche and Co.
The reality is that they remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety and having played one game more than the two teams immediately above them – West Ham and Leeds – and the two teams immediately below them. – Bournemouth and Southampton.
With 13 games to play, their fate remains in their hands, but with a total of just seven points taken from the last 30 offered after the World Cup, the fear of a drop isn’t going away anytime soon.