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Arsenal are well and truly title contenders after beating Liverpool

As the whistle blew for full-time at the Emirates, the camera cut to Mikel Arteta’s jubilation-filled fist pump on the touchline. For neutrals, it began to sink in that his side might be seriously capable of competing with the big boys. A thrilling 3-2 win over Liverpool is the latest confirmation, in a season overflowing with brilliance, that Arsenal is not just a fun side to watch but one of the world's best teams.

It took just 58 seconds for Gabriel Martinelli to find the back of Liverpool’s net after Arsenal carved the Reds apart with a surgical counterattack. Bukayo Saka found Martin Ødegaard roughly 30 yards from goal, attracting three Liverpool defenders and pulling Trent Alexander-Arnold out of position. This gap in behind allowed Ødegaard to play an incisive pass through to Martinelli, who made no mistake and slotted his effort past a helpless Alisson.

Jürgen Klopp’s side has just two wins in eight Premier League games this season, and after today’s match, the Reds now have as many losses as they accrued in the entirety of last season. A lineup featuring the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Darwin Núñez, alongside other undeniable world-beaters, is amongst the strongest in the league on paper, but on the pitch, something just looks off. 

The Reds managed two goals on the day, both oozing the class that fans know Liverpool is capable of. A swift attack from Luis Díaz was finished well by Núñez to level the score at 1-1, and after a tap-in by Saka restored Arsenal’s lead at the half, substitute Roberto Firmino scored a beautiful goal from a streaking run into the box.

Arsenal’s winner came from the spot, thanks to the cool head of Saka as the 21-year-old fired his shot into the bottom left corner, leaving Alison to pick the ball out of the net. 

Under Arteta, Arsenal has been playing a beautiful, free-flowing brand of soccer that exploits space and has manifested itself this season with over 2.5 goals per game. A stellar defense, headlined by William Saliba, has kept three clean sheets and has also looked impenetrable for much of the season so far.

A visit to Elland Road awaits the Gunners next week, where they'll face a plucky and determined Leeds side that's already downed Chelsea earlier this season.

To compete with the best, you need to beat the best and Arsenal proved that was possible against Liverpool, but slipping up in winnable matches is where Arsenal has historically struggled, so a visit to Leeds will prove crucial as Arsenal seeks to achieve the success that Arteta’s squad is capable of.

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