Trent Alexander-Arnold Arsenal mind game backfires after Liverpool suffer major title blow

Trent Alexander-Arnold's attempt at mind games fails amid latest title twist leaving Liverpool off Arsenal's pace.

The title race took its latest twist on Wednesday evening as Liverpool lost the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in a historic win for the home side. Arsenal watched gleefully from home as Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both scored to keep the Reds three points behind the league-leading Gunners.

Arsenal have often been the side written off first amongst Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s teams, who have both won the league in recent history, of course. Perhaps a good reason, but it has seen comments made by the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold suddenly backfire in quite spectacular fashion.

Speaking to Sky Sports following Liverpool's defeat to Crystal Palace and subsequently Aston Villa's win over Arsenal, the England international claimed that their loss at Anfield had overexcited Mikel Arteta's side. A reality which now looks quite ironic.

"If those fixtures were reversed and we played second and Arsenal played first, maybe it would've been a different mentality," he said. "It all comes down to mentality.

"I think our result played a part in Arsenal's result. They have potentially got too excited and thought 'this is our chance, this is what we need to do'."

Alexander-Arnold was substituted and the television cameras panned to the full-back gesturing frustratedly from the bench - and understandably so. To make such bold statements about your rivals only for fate to come crashing down in such a humbling fashion is not ideal.

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Arsenal have had this stigma surrounding them from early in Arteta’s tenure of being 'too emotional'. Gary Neville said during the North London Derby back in September that the celebrations after the Gunners' second goal before Jorginho's error surrendering the lead shortly after were 'not a good thing'.

"If Arsenal do it and win the league it will be an unbelievable achievement, but they haven't been around the block like Manchester City," he said. "It's too much emotion, too early for Arsenal.

"To be that desperate and to celebrate that much with half the race still to go, it's not a good thing. After the Aston Villa game, I can understand how big of a moment it was, but that level of celebration was quite desperate, quite early.

"There was a lot of celebrations at the end of the game. The emotions are something that’s a negative, it’s not a positive for me in a title race."

Arsenal are forever the punching bag and easiest target for many critics. Ultimately, they've come a long way under Arteta and the players understand the reality and the weight of what they hold going into each game.

But the sport remains a spectacle filled with emotion, which has helped motivate this side to achieve things like establishing itself as a title contender for the first time in more than 20 years. A reality no one honestly predicted just a couple of years ago; now it is here, people are being very quick to try and find ways to undermine it.

If it means results go down as they have, long may it continue. A race goes on.