As we get back down to business in the Premier League, Arsenal’s trip up to Merseyside should be a joy to watch for all fans and neutrals alike.
Arsene Wenger’s Gunners only know how to play attractive attack minded football that should if not careful fall right in the hands of Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp’s high-pressing Gegenpressing game.
Arsenal needs to take a slower approach to this evenings encounter by not playing the way Liverpool expects them to play, and must be careful of Aaron Ramsey’s desire to press to far forward which has often left Mathieu Flamini high and dry.
Currently the Gunners sit top of the Premier League table with their sights firmly fixed on winning this seasons title, while for Jürgen Klopp a top-four finish will serve as a job well done.
The last time the two clubs met was back in August during an unusual 0-0 affair thanks in part to the heroics of goalkeeper’s Petr Cech and Simon Mignolet with the Czech making a fine save to deny Philippe Coutinho with Belgium Mignolet equally impressive by not allowing Olivier Giroud to get on the score sheet.
Missing for tonight’s clash at Anfield will be former Reds target Alexis Sanchez, with Wenger explaining the Chilean internationals absence to the clubs official website saying: “We think he will be short for Wednesday, he has a chance to be available for Sunday” [against Stoke].
“He is always keen to play. If you listen to Alexis, he can always play—even when he is injured”.
“We try to be cautious. With a muscular injury you never exactly how big the risk but he is very close”.
“If you look at him training he is very close”.
Meanwhile Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck are all long-term absentees, while the Gunners boss suggested that both Tomas Rosicky and David Ospina will also be absent.
On Rosicky’s knee injury, Wenger took a positive slant, explaining that “he will be back in full training this week; it is fantastic because he has been out for very long and it is good to know that a player of that calibre is back in our squad.”
Despite not having Sanchez, Cazorla and Coquelin, to select from in recent weeks the Gunners have settled into a rhythm that has produced results for a team that looks every bit deserving of their place at the top of the table.
None other than the maestro himself Petr Cech will be in goal hoping to put in the same kind of performance he managed the last time Arsenal played Liverpool back in August.
Following the 3-1 win over Sunderland in the FA Cup, Wenger will start his normal back four of Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal.
Mathieu Flamini will be recalled to the starting line-up following his rest against , where together with Aaron Ramsey the pair will hope to carry on filling in successfully for the injured Coquelin and Cazorla, with Arteta available to come on later in the game should Arsenal, if leading decide to play the game out.
Ahead of the defensive pairing look to see Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and either Joel Campbell or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with us giving the nod to the Costa Rican international due to the team commitment he has shown of late.
Up front leading the attack will be Olivier Giroud keen to add to his goal count, yet we all cannot but hope that Wenger brings in another striker this month to help the Frenchman lead the line.
We think this is going to be a very open game, so are going for a 2-2 draw at odds of 14/1 with Bet 365.
Likely Arsenal XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Campbell, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud.