Arsenal hosts Liverpool at the Emirates tonight as the Premier League resumes after the two-week international break. This isn’t the all-powerful, all-conquering, and vastly superior Liverpool side of last season. Jurgen Klopp’s men have had their problems this year and are certainly guilty of underachieving this campaign. However, let’s be clear, despite the injuries and rumours of unrest within the dressing room courtesy of one particular player, they are still a force on their day.
Arsenal will have to be at their very best against Liverpool and Mikel Arteta will need to learn how to get the engine running well before the first whistle to avoid another first-half demolition as they suffered against West Ham. What that game did show us were heart and desire but chasing a game against Liverpool is a different prospect and they have enough talent to punish Arsenal even if they are only running at 75%.
Even with a weakened team and with their present lackadaisical form, bookmakers around the world like the casino aus online casino are offering Liverpool significantly better odds at returning home with all three points, clearly Arsenal and Arteta specifically have a point to prove here.
Key to the proceedings from an Arsenal perspective will be the choice of the back four and it will be a back four that probably converts to a back five on occasion. I have issues with rotating the defensive line, it’s unsettling and counterproductive and tends to cause problems with cohesion. That’s a big issue for Arteta and he will no doubt be thinking about the pace Liverpool can bring which will rule certain individuals out of this Premier League fixture.
Also, the key to this will be the pairing of Xhaka and Partey, who surely have the best chance of shutting the door on Liverpool and getting Arsenal on the front foot. Partey seems to provide Xhaka with a new sense of confidence and compliments the scissor action between the pair with Xhaka raising his game to keep pace with the Ghanaian.
This is an opportunity for Gabby Martinelli to shine with news that Smith Rowe and Saka may well be sidelined due to injury concerns. Martinelli has had the brakes on for whatever reason, but Arteta may have to stick the exciting young Brazilian into the fold and a great many of us are looking forward to that. Will Arteta stick with his usual suspects of Pepe and Willian or will he go for broke and take the game to Liverpool with the exhilarating youngster that many believe will eventually replace Aubameyang.
Odegaard must start because he has the vision and skill to cause Klopp’s side all sorts of problems and it was clear against West Ham that we are just beginning to see the Norwegian’s repertoire if only he could sign on the dotted line today.
According to Opta:
“No fixture in Premier League history has seen more goals scored than Arsenal vs Liverpool (166). 94 of these goals have been scored by Liverpool, the most goals the Gunners have shipped against a single opponent in the competition.”
166 – No fixture in Premier League history has seen more goals scored than Arsenal vs Liverpool (166). 94 of these goals have been scored by Liverpool, the most goals the Gunners have shipped against a single opponent in the competition. Popcorn. pic.twitter.com/msKYWXa7Eo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2021
There’s the warning for you if one were needed and for Arsenal’s defence, it serves as a reminder that they can’t nod off for a second of the 90 minutes plus with the likes of Salah, Jota, Mane, and Firmino on duty. It could be a tight and feisty affair for the first 45 but it will depend on how the first 20 minutes shape up.
The first goal will be incredibly important and if Arsenal can just get their noses in front, who knows where this could end up but it’s a match with goals written all over it. I think this is the best time to play Liverpool and if their confidence can be shaken, then Arsenal can get three points but let’s also be cautious because Arsenal have shown that they can cave in very early in a game. If Liverpool start to dominate, then Arsenal will have a hard day at the office.
Preferred Side (Allowing for injuries): Leno; Chambers, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Pepe, Lacazette, Martinelli
I suspect that Martinelli will only get the sub role and of course, Arteta will stick with Aubameyang but I’d remind the skipper that he’s not an automatic choice and goals are his currency.
Predicted Score: Arsenal win 3-2