Advantage Reds- Arsenal vs Liverpool

Arsene Wenger will be livid at Pieter Vink. And has right reason for being so. Despite being in perfect view of Dirk Kuyt dragging Aliaksandr Hleb by the arm in the penalty box, the Dutch referee waved away desperate Arsenal appeals for a penalty.

And that decision may come to haunt Wenger as his side travels to Anfield for the second leg of this quarterfinal tie a week from now. Liverpool are one of the toughest teams to beat at home, and the Anfield crowd will not help Arsenal’s cause at well. It is the Reds that hold the advantage going into the second leg as they came out of the Emirates stadium with a draw and an away goal to their name.

The home side had the first clear chance after 20 minutes, but Robin Van Persie sent his shot over the bar. Arsenal took the lead through Emmanuel Adebayor, with the Togolese forward heading home from a corner in the 23rd minute. However their joy was shortlived as some sluggish defending allowed Steven Gerrard to force his way into the Arsenal box and cross for Dirk Kuyt to slide in the equaliser.

The second half was all Arsenal, with Liverpool defending for their lives. You could see Gael Clichy advance down the left flank, with Dirk Kuyt trying to contain him. I would have liked to see a little more variety from Arsenal…probably initiating a few more attacks from the right flank, a couple of long range shots here and there. Whichever team you were supporting, there was no doubting the fact that Arsenal were the better side.

Hleb made a glorious run into the box in the 65th minute, leaving several Liverpool players as mute bystanders. Kuyt dragged his arm while attempting to restrain him,  but the referee did not seem to think the foul was worth a penalty. A few minutes later, Adebayor ran into the box from the left hand side, crossed the ball into the path of Pepe Reina. The ball fell to Cesc Fabregas, whose shot did not have a single Liverpool player between the goal and it. However Nickolas Bendtner unfortunately interrupted the ball despite his best efforts not to do so, and Arsene Wenger could only moan in frustration on the sidelines.

Meanwhile Fenerbahce beat Chelsea 2-1 with goals from Kazim Kazim  and Deivid. Deivid  scored an own goal when Florent Malouda’s cross was deflected his by leg into the Fenerbahce net. Kazim Kazim equalised from Aurelio’s pass, and Deivid completed a stunning night for the Turkish side when he lashed home a winner from 30 yards, giving the outstretched arms of Carlo Cudicini no chance.

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