Liverpool legend turned Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has complimented Arsenal by saying how much he hated us, insisting that games at Highbury and the Emirates were some of the most difficult of his career, as reported by the Daily Star.
The retired defender claims the clubs you love playing against are the ones you beat, which his Liverpool side always found difficult to do against Arsenal. This is obviously down to the team rather than the stadium, but he claims the Arsenal grounds – both current and former – made things very, very difficult.
“Villa Park was a ground I liked because you always like where you win, even at Stamford Bridge our results were not too bad,” he said.
“But Arsenal was always the killer for us, especially at Highbury and then at the Emirates our record was really poor.
“It felt like the pitch [was very small] when we had the ball but when they had the ball it felt really big.
“I found it more difficult at Highbury than the Emirates.
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“You’d think the bigger pitch would make it more difficult, but playing against that side of [Patrick] Vieira and Thierry Henry, I think that was my toughest assignment.”
Highbury was unquestionably a fortress, and no team wanted to play us at home. Whether it was Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, or anybody else, Arsenal were a team to be feared at Highbury.
While our record at the Emirates in recent years has been excellent, we don’t impose the same levels of fear on our opponents as we used to. Obviously this is largely due to the fact that we don’t have the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, and Sol Campbell at our disposal anymore, but we’re slowly starting to instill that fear in our opponents again with our current crop of players.
Nobody wants to be up against the pace of Theo Walcott, the vision and trickery of Mesut Özil, the indescribable quality of Alexis Sanchez, or the athletic ability of Laurent Koscielny. We’ve been far harder to beat at the Emirates recently than we have been in years gone by, and after navigating our way through the financial mire of the last decade, we’re on our way back to being one of the best teams around.
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We want to hate and respect that comes with being hard to beat, and we want players like Jamie Carragher to fear us. With the emergence of cash-rich teams like Chelsea and Manchester City that is obviously harder, but our achievements will be all the more impressive if we get back to our best by doing things our way.