Arsene Wenger’s difficult start to the season continued when his 10-man Arsenal side lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool thanks to an Aaron Ramsey own goal and a late strike from Luis Suarez.
Ramsey’s freak own-goal set Liverpool on course for a first win of the season after Kenny Dalglish’s side had been held by Sunderland on the opening day. But Arsenal’s decline had begun eight minutes earlier when Emmanuel Frimpong marked his first Premier League start with a red card following an ugly challenge on Lucas Leiva.
Frimpong’s dismissal comes on the back of Gervinho’s sending off at Newcastle last week and means that Wenger’s side have collected one point and two red cards in their opening two games of the campaign.
And having already come in for heavy criticism from fans for his failure to strengthen the squad during the close-season, this result will do nothing to lift the pressure on Wenger.
By contrast Liverpool manager Dalglish will be relieved to have got off the mark after spending heavily on new signings. The spark, following Frimpong’s dismissal, was provided by the introduction of Uruguay forward Suarez.
The outcome overshadowed Wenger’s decision to restore Samir Nasri to his starting line up.
Taylor’s stunner sinks Sunderland
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor settled a stormy Tyne-Wear derby with a stunning free-kick that clinched a 1-0 victory over 10-man Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Alan Pardew’s side stretched their impressive run at their rivals’ home to just one defeat in 31 years thanks to Taylor’s second-half strike and the late dismissal of Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley.
Taylor’s 25-yard free-kick from just outside the penalty area, after Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole had fouled Jonas Gutierrez, settled a contest that was high on commitment, but sadly lacking in quality.
Taylor, who scored four times against his current employers earlier in his career for Wigan, before being sold by current Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, stepped up to comprehensively beat goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who was caught badly out of position.
In the late matches of the day, QPR stunned Everton 1-0, Aston Villa thrashed Blackburn 3-1 while Swansea held Wigan 0-0 at home.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.