Liverpool Vs. Arsenal, 2012 Premier League: Robin Van Persie Wins It Late

Arsenal certainly weren't at their best at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, but finished their chances when they came, while Liverpool were extremely wasteful. Even though Liverpool had more of the ball and more quality scoring opportunities than their opponents, their only goal was an absolute gift -- a terrible own goal by Laurent Koscielny. Robin van Persie struck twice for the Gunners, and his clinical finishing was the difference between the two teams in a 2-1 Arsenal win.

Liverpool were on the front foot early and were rewarded with a penalty in the 18th minute, though it was a dubious one. Wojciech Szczesny was whistled for a trip on Luis Suarez in the box, but the contact between the two players was minimal and Suarez clearly embellished to win the spot kick. Dirk Kuyt stepped up and placed his penalty poorly, allowing Szezesny to make a save. Kuyt looked like he was going to have a better result on the rebound, but the Arsenal keeper made an even better save to deny Kuyt the second time around.

Koscielny's own goal came five minutes later, and it was a comical one. On a cross to the near post by Jordan Henderson, Koscielny stuck his leg out and deflected the ball into his own net when it was probably easier to put the ball out for a corner. What he was thinking and how he failed to clear the ball, the world will never know.

The home side continued to control the game after that, but Arsenal would find a goal from absolutely nothing. Bacary Sagna set it up with a great cross from the right towards van Persie, who completely lost Jamie Carragher. Thanks to Carragher's poor defending, he was left with a simple header and finished the chance to level the game.

Liverpool had plenty of other opportunities to score, but failed to take them. Szezesny made one brilliant save late in the half, while Suarez hit the post on another shot. The Reds probably should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up at the half, and had only themselves to blame for the game being level. If it wasn't for their simple mistakes, they would have had the win all but locked up at halftime.

Just after the halftime break, Henderson struck Mikel Arteta in the head with his arm, something which referee Mark Halsey did not appear to see. If he did, he probably would have booked Henderson and might have sent him off. The blow to the head caused an apparent concussion for Arteta, who had to be given oxygen before he was stretchered off the pitch. He appeared to lose consciousness and it took more than five minutes for him to come off the pitch.

Arteta was replaced by Abou Diaby, who made his return from a long injury layoff, but he didn't last long. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced the never fit midfielder in the 80th minute.

Van Persie would find the winner a couple of minutes into stoppage time, and it was an absolutely brilliant one. Running onto a long ball from Alex Song, the Premier League's leading scorer showed off the skill that has allowed him to score with such regularity, hitting a stunning volley past Pepe Reina at his near post. Though the angle was narrow enough that Reina probably should have made a save, the technique that van Persie displayed on the goal was absolutely spectacular, and no one can call the winner undeserved.

For more on the Gunners, check out Arsenal blogs The Short Fuse and The Offside Arsenal. For more on the Reds, head over to Liverpool blogs Anfield Asylum and The Offside Liverpool.

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