Arsenal showed their mettle to return the top of the Premier League table after a thrilling 3-2 victory over a ramshackle Liverpool.

The gutsy Gunners made a rip-roaring start when Gabriel Martinelli scored the opening goal of the game inside the first minute, lifting an already lively Emirates. But Darwin Nunez blasted Liverpool back level before the break, scoring his first goal in more than two months after dispatching Luis Diaz‘s pinpoint cross.

His goal looked to have sent the teams into half-time on level terms, until Bukayo Saka tucked home after a marvellous added-time Arsenal counter attack. It was all square seven minutes after the restart, though, as Roberto Firmino extended his impressive record against the Gunners. But Saka would get the last laugh, slotting home an ice-cool penalty to send his side to the summit of the table.

Here are seven talking points from the Emirates.

1. One-minute Martinelli

If you’ve watched the Arsenal’s Amazon documentary, you’ll be well aware of how eager Mikel Arteta is to harness the energy around the Emirates. Wanting his team to be as kinetic as the stands which surround the pitch, the Gunners boss would’ve been delighted when Gabriel Martinelli tucked home after his fans barely had a second to catch their breath after the roar of kick-off.

Like a pack of wolves with eyes on their prey, Arsenal’s forward line charged forward on the transition and had the ball in the net when the clock struck 57 seconds. Martin Odegaard was at the heart of the counter, playing through Martinelli. The electric winger – who won Man of the Match – raced in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold before slotting home past Alisson Becker to take a raucous Emirates up a notch and give the Gunners an early lead.

Jordan: Trent Alexander-Arnold support
Jordan discusses Trent Alexander-Arnold and his season so far, and what could lie ahead.
Martinelli scored inside the first minute

2. Jota’s justified fury

If we needed any more drama from an adrenaline-fuelled opening 15 minutes, Liverpool were denied a solid penalty shout when the ball hit Gabriel Magalhaes’ raised arm inside the penalty area. Diogo Jota was troubling the Arsenal centre-back as the Portuguese winger looked to lob the ball over him.

It firmly struck Gabriel’s left forearm and the Reds vehemently appealed for a penalty, only to be rejected. And there was no saving grace, as referee Michael Oliver wasn’t instructed to review his initial decision on the pitch-side VAR monitor.

3. Darwin back in the goals

After a sluggish start, poor run of form and overruled penalty claim, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Liverpool further falter and wallow in their lack of fortune. But Darwin Nunez, the man who’s arguably had the toughest season in a red shirt on Merseyside, used his frustration hit back and it his critics and get his side back on level terms.

Although Nunez started the move in an offside position, Gabriel’s failed clearance from a long Alexander-Arnold ball allowed Luis Diaz to race down the right flank and cross towards the hungry Uruguayan, who hadn’t scored since the opening day of the season. Nunez made no mistake and tucked home beyond Aaron Ramsdale – and he thought he’d sent the teams into the break at 1-1.

Nunez scored his first goal in two months to draw Liverpool level

4. Trent’s torment

Just as it seemed that we were set for a second half with both sides starting level, Bukayo Saka finished a brilliant counter attack to restore Arsenal’s lead on the brink of half-time. Martinelli was again at the heart of a lethal counter attack, racing forward once more before jinking inside a hapless pair of Liverpool players – Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson – and slotting the ball into the path of an unmarked Saka at the back post.

The Gunners had kept themselves onside and the goal only highlight Alexander-Arnold’s struggles. The 23-year-old looks nothing like his old (or young) self and opponents are targeting him more and more – with the same result. What was a rare occurrence was his half-time substitution, due to a nasty knock which he took to his ankle earlier in the first 45 minutes, with Joe Gomez replacing him at right-back.

Alexander-Arnold has another day to forget

5. Firmino keeps on gunning

Before Alexander-Arnold was withdrawn, Klopp had to take Diaz off after suffering an injury late in the first half. Roberto Firmino was his replacement and it only took 11 minutes of action for him to make an impact.

After a chaotic start to the second period at both ends, Jota played a pass which sliced through Arsenal’s defence and allowed the Brazilian to produce a brilliant finish from the left-hand side of the penalty area to give Liverpool parity. The goal marked Firmino’s 10th strike against the Gunners in 17 appearances, his best record of any other Premier League opposition.

Firmino bagged his 10th goal against Arsenal to make it 2-2


6. Ice-cool Saka

As the closing stages approached and Arsenal’s perfect home record began to look like it was slipping away, a few minutes of madness from Liverpool allowed the Gunners to capitalise. Sunday League-like defending led to waves of Arsenal pressure around the penalty area, and eventually the Reds’ resilience waned.

Although it was soft penalty, Thiago Alcantara had taken Gabriel Jesus down and the Gunners forward’s cries were heard by Oliver. Cue a mass scuffle between both sets of players, but away from the madness, a cool-headed Saka waited for his moment. When it came, the England ace was spot-on and beat Alisson – who guessed right – to make it 3-2.

Saka wrapped up the win with a composed penalty

7. Mikel’s men back on top

It’s not often we can say this, but Manchester City’s lead at the top was only a short one this weekend. In just over 24 hours after thumping Southampton 4-0, the Citizens were usurped by the perfect Arsenal, who’re remarkably ahead of the champions.

Arteta’s work – other than his injury-time touchline bickering with counterpart Klopp – is starting to receive the plaudits it deserves, having managed a team who were humbled by Liverpool a year ago to one who well and truly took the game to them this time around. The Gunners are firing on all cylinders and who says it can’t continue?