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  • By Yann Tear at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal make another impressive statement as they find the adventure and rhythm to unseat Liverpool

Arsenal (2) 3 Martinelli 1, Saka 45, 76pen

Liverpool (1) 2 Nunez 34, Firmino 53

Dazzling Arsenal grabbed a richly deserved victory in front of a vibrant and appreciative Emirates to stoke this season’s ambitions even more.

Much more of this and Arsenal are going to make a good case for assuming Liverpool’s mantle as team most likely to finish runners-up to Manchester City.

And for now, they can even savour the great feeling of being on top of the table again.

That may sound like damning with faint praise, but this does genuinely feel like a team reborn.

The Gunners once more looked impressive, purposeful and full of what modern parlance would describe as ‘personality.’ And against a Category A opponent too, for once.

This felt like a very special win. Perhaps another signpost along the way towards being a proper force once again. ‘Move on up’ was a fitting tune over the PA at full time.

They looked like they wanted it more, from the off. The fans gave the same impression. They have raised their game in tandem with a team they are starting to feel proud of.

The Gunners’ pace and slickness of movement took only 58 seconds to bear fruit – the effervescent Gabriel Martinelli finishing sweetly after Bukayo Saka had worked the ball infield to Martin Odegaard and the Arsenal skipper had slipped in an inviting pass.

Both Martinelli and Saka were in irrepressible form and are so good to watch when in the mood, as they were today.

Liverpool drew level when Darwin Nunez poked home from six yards after Luis Diaz had played in a cross from the right which William Saliba could not quite cut out.

Mikel Arteta’s men responded in first half injury time when Martinelli’s break from half way proved too much for the covering Jordan Henderson and he checked back before rolling an angled cross to the far post for Saka to tap-in from close range.

That seemed to signal a firm shift in proceedings in favour of the home side, but having started the half on the front foot, they were sucker-punched from the first meaningful Liverpool attack.

Diogo Jota – the Reds’ most industrious performer - slipped in substitute Roberto Firmino for another equaliser – the Brazilian firing low past a diving Aaron Ramsdale’s left hand.

That goal was totally against the run of play, though, and Arsenal soon picked up the levels of intensity to pile on the pressure.

Their pacy attacking play and combinations were relentless and eventually rewarded, when Saka fired home from the spot after a foul on Gabriel Jesus, who has added so much quality to this evolving side. Saka's calmness with penalties is something no-one might have predicted after the heart-break of that Euro final spot-kick last year.

No-one should get carried away. Liverpool are not the force of last season and struggling for rhythm and poise since the departure of Sadio Mane. But they are still a scalp the Gunners will be so happy to claim.

Gunners: (4-3-3) Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu – Odegaard (Tierney 82), Partey, Xhaka – Saka (Vieira 90), Jesus (Nketiah 90), Martinelli. Subs not used: Turner, Holding, Soares, Lokonga, Nelson, Marquinhos

Reds: (4-2-3-1) Alisson – Alexander-Arnold (Gomez h/t), Matip (Konate 69), van Dijk, Tsimikas – Henderson, Thiago Alcantara – Salah (Fabinho 69), Jota (Elliott 81), Diaz (Firmino 42) – Nunez. Subs not used: Kelleher, Milner, Carvalho, Phillips


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