Tag Archives: Anfield

Let’s not toss the baby with the bathwater…

Courtesy of @cantdrawarsenal

Dammit. For a solid half hour, it looked like we’d put an end to our Anfield hoodoo, as goals from Martinelli and Jesus gave us a 0-2 lead. To then give Liverpool a lifeline and allow them back into the game has to feel a lot like we threw two points away, but to feel like that is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as the old saying goes. A point earned or two points dropped?

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Beware Liverpool, the cornered beast!

To all outward appearances, this looks to be the ideal time for us to go into Anfield and come away with a vital win for the first time since 2012. Afte rall, Liverpool haven’t won in their last four outings (yes, two of those were tough away losses to Real Madrid and Man City, no shame in that) and sit in 8th place, their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League hanging by a thread. Even Klopp sounds like he’s thrown in the proveribal towel.

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Of Hillsborough, hate-chants, and high stakes…

I know that it’s de riguer to hate on Liverpool, espcially as we’ve seen Liverpool’s recent spell of success come at our expense, with various hidings happening at their hand. Those of us who remember Liverpool’s dominance of the 70’s and 80’s might further fuel the fire…yet there’s a disturbing element to fans’ chants that I hope we earn a chance at spurning. Yes, I hope we can find a famous win or even a creditable draw. I just hope we don’t curdle the milk along the way.

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Can Arsenal rise above the Scouser curse?

A sloppy win over Leicester inspired us. It was, after all, a feisty turnaround as well as a convenient mirror-image to last season’s opener, was it not? However, to have followed it with a stinker at Stoke did put a damper on things even if we gloss it over by convincing ourselves that things would have been different had Alexis been available. Would it have been, though? Doesn’t matter–unless the FA has established a hypothetical Prem League for us to vie for. At any rate, we’re off to a shaky start, and a trip to Anfield will do little to soothe jangled nerves.

Of course, Liverpool are not without their own worries. The summer-long saga surrounding Coutinho continues unabated, with the remorseless eating machine that is Barca looking to feed yet again. The uncertainty around his future might look and feel familiar to us, but I assume I’m not alone when I suggest that I’m short on sympathy.

However, as things are currently shaping up, we’re more likely to fight with the likes of Liverpool for a top-four finish than we are to keep pace with Chelsea or Man City. With that in mind, and with our road-woes already rearing their ugly heads, it’s essential that we go into Anfied with much more urgency and final product than we brought to Stoke. There, we were wasteful and overly generous, making Butland look both lucky and world class by turns. Against a squad that looked allergic if not inept in attack, we gifted them the only goal they’d need.

Against Liverpool, we can’t count on such allergies and ineptitudes. Coutinho or not, Liverpool have more than enough to worry a defense that hasn’t yet looked as strong as it did in last season’s run-in. Sadio Mané offers more than enough nightmares on his own. Trying to slow if not stop him will be a tall task, and how well Bellerín handles him may determine the outcome. On the other hand, Liverpool have not looked all that stalwart despite earning a clean sheet (against Crystal Palace), for what that’s worth. There’s not a name in the backline that worries me. Then again, the name “Škrtel” used to worry me. Klopp has selection woes, and Mignolet no longer commands or controls his area as he once did. Whoever Klopp does send out, it is essential that we attack as we did against Leicester in the last twenty minutes or so. We looked like we wanted to win. Badly. That hunger just wasn’t there against Stoke. Heck, if you can’t get motivated to defeat a rival with whom you share a heated history, well, what’s wrong with you?

 Two of our hungrier players, Koscielny and Alexis, have been deemed available, according to Arséne, and they should add not only passion but purpose to a squad that so lacking in either against Stoke. Should they be named, this will mark the first match in which we can field a full-strength XI. Looking past the two of them, however, I’m looking to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to finally and fully ignite. There have been endless rumours linking him with a move away to Chelsea and Liverpool, but don’t let that talk overshadow his play to date. Without having scored a single goal, he still might register as our best performer of the young season, leading the Prem in successful dribbles (15), and his passing, crossing, and decision-making are all markedly improved. Maybe he’s only auditioning for his next contract. So be it.

  • Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (4 March 2017).
  • Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool (14 Aug 2016).
  • Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal (13 Jan 2016)
  • One or both sides have scored at least three goals in four of the last five matches.
  • Liverpool are undefeated in 26 of their last 28 home-matches in the Prem.
  • Arsenal have now won at Anfield since 
  • Cazorla is ruled out; Wilshere and Chambers are still doubtful.
  • Cêch; Monreal, Koscielny, Bellerín; Kolašinac, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Alexis, Özil; Lacazette.
  • This one has the makings of another topsy-turvy, back-and-forth. However, this time, Arsenal look to have the firepower to seize the day.
  • Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal.

Let's make like Leicester and lay waste to Liverpool, shall we?

For those still suffering from the Bayern battering, it might come as some consolation to learn that Liverpool found a way to lose to Leicester, becoming in the process just the sixth such squad to do so. Enough with the alliteration. Such is the state (sorry) of our own squad that the tea-leaves suggest that Liverpool’s loss only primes the pump for us to get clobbered at the Kop. Again, apologies. On a more optimistic level, there are few squads more frail at the moment than Liverpool’s; it is therefore all the more essential that we turn the screws on their season and, at the risk of mixing our metaphors, drive home one more nail in the coffin of their campaign.

If memory serves, our own campaign opened with an unsettling 3-4 loss to these same Scousers. Our more-recent form offers little in the way of confidence. Then again, on current form, few have been worse than Liverpool. Despite having done tolerably well at Old Trafford (1-1), at home against Chelsea (1-1), and again at home against Tottenham (2-0), they’ve lost at home to Swansea (2-3), away to Hull (2-0) and again to Leicester (3-1). While this pattern suggests that they’ll at least hold us to a draw, there’s just enough in this one to suggest if not herald higher hopes.

Liverpool look to be reaching a point of collapse. Klopp’s tactics, much as they did last year, look like they are running his squad into the ground. When Jordan Henderson, he whose first touch forces him to develop stamina and grit if only to chase down that first touch, is unavailable, you should know that you’re running on fumes. To wit, despite having had 16 days of rest since defeating Tottenham, Liverpool still looked lacklustre and out of energy against Leicester. To have to play again on just four days’ rest is ominous.

This is not to say that we can just saunter in and seize all three. After all, we owe our own most-recent result to some helping hands, having barely beaten Hull thanks to a ball-to-hand goal and a late red-card penalty. Suffice it to say that we will have to just a bit sharper than that against Liverpool, and far, far sharper than we were against Bayern. The less said about that, the better.

As to whom we should look to, I have to admit that I like Walcott. While it’s likely that the cagey James Milner will be his opposite, Iwobi will likely struggle against Clyne, and Walcott’s pace (and fresh-ish legs) should unsettle the aged Milner. Indeed, Walcott is on pace for one of his best seasons with Arsenal despite missing significant time to injury. Between his energy and pace and that of Alexis through the middle, Simon Mignolet should have his hands full, figuratively if not literally.

Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool (14.08.2016)
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal (13.01.2016)
Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool (24.08.2015)

Liverpool are undefeated at home in 19 of their last 20 Prem matches.
Arsenal have scored at least two goals in 5 of their last 6 matches against Liverpool.
The two clubs first clashed on 28 October 1893, an 0-5 win to Liverpool.

Cazorla, Sanogo, Ramsey, and Elneny are all out. Özil and Koscielny face late fitness tests.

Čech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerín; Coquelin, Xhaka;  Iwobi, Özil, Walcott; Alexis.

Expect a rollicking, back-and-forth match with plenty of drama if not final product. At the end of it all, Arsenal should emerge victorious.

Liverpool 2-3 Arsenal.