Beardsley shows no charity

Beardsley shows no charity

by Stuart Jones of "The Times"

Eleven weeks on and the roles of the country's principals were reversed. Whereas Arsenal had been so vibrant and so inspired when winning the League championship amid such drama inside Anfield at the end of May, they were dull and listless throughout Saturday afternoon at Wembley.

Whereas Liverpool had been so uncharacteristically diffident and so cautious when conceding the title, they were bright and positive in retaining the Charity Shield. Peter Beardsley, during a sparkling individual performance, won it for them on the half-hour, they should have claimed two other goals and could have added several more.

Lukic, though a statuesque figure as Rush's header thudded against a post and conveniently back into his stomach, alone restricted the size of the defeat. George Graham, the Arsenal manager, conceded that, apart from his goalkeeper, his side looked "jaded", the price paid for travelling to and playing in the stultifying heat of Miami the previous weekend.

Although the apparent mismatch was therefore largely misleading, there were significant features in both defences. The arrival of Glenn Hysen from Sweden promises to tighten the already solid security of Liverpool. On his debut, he was immaculate.

Hansen, restored as captain, and the equally elegant Hysen give the impression that if a hand grenade were lobbed in their vicinity, they would casually await the explosion and check in which direction the shrapnel was flying before taking evasive action. They epitomized composure, almost nonchalance, under stress.

Hansen missed all but the closing nine fixtures of last season, Gillespie was also absent for almost a third of the programme. Should all three cultured central defenders remain available, Kenny Dalglish would have the option of introducing the sweeper system to reinforce his fearsome attack.

Graham changed his formation last April specifically, as he has since admitted, to prepare for the occasion at Anfield. With Adams and Bould acting as the tight markers in front of O'Leary, it worked to perfection. With Caesar taking the place of the injured Bould at Wembley, it did not.

Caesar's discipline is flawed. Sent off for misdemeanours against Independiente, he was taken off after an hour at Wembley and could have been charged with a different offense, ballwatching. Too often, he lost his intended victim, Beardsley, and never more damagingly than when Venison floated a cross to the far post.

Beardsley's contribution, especially his eagerness to finish Liverpool's attacks himself, was a heartening sight for Bobby Robson, the England manager, who was one of the 63,149 spectators. Less comforting was the implacability of Hysen, who will be in control of Sweden's rearguard in the World Cup qualifying tie in Stockholm next month.

Contrastingly unreliable at the back, Arsenal offered no invention in midfield and, even when Marwood and Quinn came on, Grobbelaar was not once genuinely challenged and the north's prolonged hold on the trophy was never threatened. Not since 1962 has a southern club won the Shield outright.

Copyright - The Times

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