Mike Arteta has made Arsenal a tougher nut to crack but they haven’t won at Liverpool in EIGHT YEARS and with their midfield still a worry and Jurgen Klopp’s side banging them in, a Kop shock looks unlikely
It’s been a perfect start to the season for Arsenal and Liverpool but something is about to give.
The two clubs face each other twice in the space of four days, a mouthwatering Premier League showdown on Monday night before a Carabao Cup fourth-round meeting on Thursday evening.
Both games are at Anfield and should give us a much much better understanding of where the teams are at, in terms of their squad depth and, more importantly, their prospects this season.
Liverpool and Arsenal are preparing to face each other twice in the space of four days – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) and Co gor the better of Virgil van Dijk’s Reds at Wembley
It’s been three wins apiece for the two red-shirted sides since they met in this season’s Community Shield curtain raiser.
The Gunners won that glorified friendly on penalties and the positivity in the camp has continued ever since, Premier League victories over Fulham and West Ham followed by a Carabao Cup triumph over Leicester.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have picked up where they left off last season, beating Leeds and Chelsea in the top flight and sealing their place in the League Cup fourth round with a 7-2 thrashing of Lincoln.
Arsenal fans will certainly be more optimistic about this one than they have been for a long time as their team heads to a ground where they haven’t won since 2012 – when a Robin van Persie double cancelled out Laurent Koscielny’s own goal.
They have been on the wrong end of some memorable thrashings in those eight years but Mikel Arteta’s team looks unlikely to suffer the same fate this time around.
Arsenal have won all three of their matches since beating Liverpool in the Community Shield
ARSENAL SINCE THE COMMUNITY SHIELD
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham
Leicester 0-2 Arsenal (League Cup)
LIVERPOOL SINCE THE COMMUNITY SHIELD
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
Lincoln 2-7 Liverpool (League Cup)
The north Londoners have undoubtedly become far more organised and harder to break down since their former player Arteta took charge.
New centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes has started impressively looks to be exactly what the side needed – we are yet to see the highly-rated William Saliba.
Arteta’s men have conceded just once in three games this season. In fact, they have only let in 28 goals in 32 matches since Spaniard Arteta took charge in December.
Gabriel has looked solid at the back for Arsenal since coming in
Their performances in big games have also improved significantly. Five of their last nine matches have been wins over members of last season’s top five, two of those against Liverpool.
If anything, creativity could be Arsenal’s biggest issue in a game like this, the midfield now clearly the weakest area of this team. You sense this won’t be a game where they get too many chances and when they do get them, they’ll have to take them.
Liverpool started the season in fine form – winning three games since the Community Shield
The Gunners may be resurgent under Arteta but there is no doubt that they are the underdogs heading into this one. They are almost 6/1 with some bookies just to win while the hosts are no better than 8/15, according to oddschecker.com, with the draw 19/5.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 60 Premier League home games stretching back to April 2017 – the third-longest such streak in English top-flight history.
They won the league at a canter last season and there is still a large gap in quality between the two sides.
However, their opening-day thriller against newly-promoted Leeds at Anfield could give the visitors some hope, Klopp’s side conceding three and needing a late penalty from Mohamed Salah to snatch the three points.
The Reds did look far more like their usual selves with a big 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in their following outing and you have to fancy them to win this one if they play in a similar manner.
Jurgen Klopp (left) and Mikel Arteta will be on the same sidelines twice this week
The Gunners were celebrating at Wembley after beating Liverpool in the season curtain-raiser