Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he does not need to spend before next week’s transfer deadline to get his team scoring again after they drew a blank for the fifth time in six Premier League home games last night.
Wenger conceded that Real Madrid had thwarted his attempts to prise France striker Karim Benzema from the Santiago Bernabeu and admitted his team’s return of four points from three games amounted to a “very average” start to the season.
But after a breathless contest in which Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey had a goal controversially disallowed and goalkeeper Petr Cech had to be at his best to deny Liverpool, he maintained his squad was amply equipped.
“We have started very average I must concede because we have four points after two home games,” said Wenger, who was asked if any deal for Benzema was now dead following the player’s apparent pledge to Real yesterday.
“That story, yes of course. We do not master that situation. When a player has a contract it’s the club that owns the contract who decides that and Real Madrid has come out many times to say that. But we have [Jack] Wilshere, [Danny] Welbeck, [Alexis] Sanchez is not completely yet at his best. We know that we can score goals and we will score goals again.”
Liverpool started in the mood to continue their flawless start to the season, Christian Benteke flashing a hurried shot wide before Philippe Coutinho crashed the striker’s cut-back onto the underside of the bar -- all in the first three minutes.
Rattled, Arsenal fought back and Sanchez carved out and then squandered a chance before Santi Cazorla picked out Ramsey to slot past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, only to be denied by a contentious offside decision.
But action soon spilled back towards the hosts’ end, where Liverpool pounced on wayward passes from defender Calum Chambers, who formed a shaky pairing with Gabriel in the absence of the ill Per Mertesacker and injured Laurent Koscielny.
Twice midfielder Francis Coquelin mustered last-ditch tackles, while goalkeeper Petr Cech grew into his most assured display in an Arsenal shirt, denying Milner and then, improbably, Benteke at point-blank range from Roberto Firmino’s low cross.
If Arsenal were hanging on in the first half, it was their turn to apply pressure for much of the second, although their intricate build-up and the inability of striker Olivier Giroud to land a clean shot on target meant Mignolet was rarely stretched.
Aside from a Sanchez effort that struck the outside of the post on the hour, the Gunners’ most dangerous moments came from low crosses, one of which Martin Skrtel diverted just inches wide of his own goal as substitute Theo Walcott waited to pounce.