Reina blunder gifts Arsenal point in frantic opening draw
A late own goal from Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina gifted Arsenal a point as both title contenders fought out a 1-1 draw with 10 men each.
Liverpool debutant Joe Cole was sent off for a reckless lunge on Arsenal’s new signing Laurent Koscielny, before Koscielny himself saw red for a second bookable offence in injury time.
It was Reina’s late intervention, however, which had the most telling effect on the tie, palming the ball into his own net under pressure from Arsenal’s otherwise underwhelming new acquisition Marouane Chamakh.
Liverpool, who are 12/1 to win the Premier League title, took an early second half lead through a thunderous near post drive from David Ngog.
But, having made their numerical advantage eventually count, Arsenal fought back and their continued pressure brought a deserved equaliser.
This frantic encounter was a useful testing ground for new signings from both sides, with Liverpool’s Milan Jovanovic and Arsenal’s Koscielny in particular enjoying solid debuts.
Cole, however, saw his Anfield bow curtailed by his foul on Koscielny which seemed to stem from an over-zealous urge to impress his new supporters.
Arsenal remain at 6/1 to win their first Premier League crown since 2004, and Arsene Wenger will be pleased by his side’s spirited comeback.
Chamakh’s quiet showing, however, could concern the manager, as the Moroccan struggled to make an impact against Liverpool’s robust central defenders.
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