#3 Bernd Leno stars for the Gunners
One of the major positives to emerge from Arsenal’s 2019-20 campaign was the emergence of Emiliano Martinez as a possible contender for the number one goalkeeper’s spot. The Argentine proved himself to be an able deputy for the injured Leno.
However, Martinez’s excellent form prompted him to push for more game time even after Leno came back into the picture. This ultimately led to his move to Aston Villa ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
In the absence of Martinez, the spotlight has shone brighter on Leno to repay the faith put in him by Arsenal, which he did in fine style in this encounter.
Having made one save of note in the first half, the German international upped his game to match Liverpool’s increased intensity in the second half. Leno pulled off a number of excellent stops to keep the home side out in regulation time. He then carried his fine form into the penalty shoot-out, saving efforts from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson to secure the win for his side.
#4 New format of the EFL Cup in effect
One of the changes that have been made to the shortened 2020-21 season in England can be seen in the format of the Carabao Cup, which has seen matches go straight to penalties if the two sides cannot be separated after 90 minutes.
After Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United needed spot-kicks to progress to the quarter-finals, it was Arsenal’s turn to go through via a shootout.
Another change that has been made to the Carabao Cup this season has been to switch to one-legged semi-finals in order to ease fixture congestion for the teams that make it to the final four.
Previously held over two legs, this change in format is sure to be welcomed by every team on whom the compressed season is sure to take a toll.
#5 More penalty heartache for Liverpool
Despite the season having started barely a month ago, Liverpool have already suffered penalty heartache twice, both times at the hands of Arsenal. The Gunners emerged victorious in a shootout in their Community Shield win over the Reds in August, before repeating the feat in this Carabao Cup encounter.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s men came away with the three points in their recent Premier League meeting, this win gives Arsenal the edge in their head-to-head clashes this season.
Interestingly, it was Liverpool who had beaten Arsenal at the same stage by the same score in a penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup last season, after the two sides had played out a thrilling 5-5 draw at Anfield.