Arsenal face big test of title credentials against Liverpool

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Arsenal host Liverpool on Saturday aiming to prove that they are genuine contenders for this season’s Premier League title.

The Gunners failed their first tests of the campaign against Manchester City and Chelsea, but have since taken 22 points from a possible 24 to move up to fourth in the table.

They have also progressed to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and have a 100% record after three group games in the Europa League.

They head into this weekend’s game four points behind top spot and a victory over the Reds would be a huge statement of intent.

Bookmakers are offering odds of 27/10 for Arsenal to pick up three points this weekend and that looks generous given their recent form.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has a handful of defensive injury worries to contend with ahead of the game. Hector Bellerin is a major doubt after limping out of last Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace with a muscular problem.

Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac will be assessed after recent thigh problems, while Laurent Koscielny is still working his way back to fitness after a long spell on the sidelines.

Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita both missed Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Cardiff City last weekend and a late check will be needed on their availability for the clash with the Gunners.

The two sides produced a thriller when they last met at the Emirates Stadium back in December.

Liverpool took a two-goal lead, but three goals in five minutes by Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil turned the game on its head. However, Roberto Firmino levelled for the visitors to secure a point.

The result extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run against Arsenal to six games and they will be eager to extend that sequence this weekend.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is unbeaten in all five of his Premier League games against Arsenal, but the Reds have won just two of their last 18 away league games against Arsenal (D8, L8) and the home side will take plenty of confidence from that record.

The last five Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool have produced 27 goals, so odds of 29/10 for over 4.5 goals in the game looks a solid wager.

Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored five goals in his last three Premier League matches and he can be backed at 5/1 to score the opener this weekend.

It is fair to say that Arsenal fans weren’t expecting their team to be in the title mix this season, but a victory on Saturday would change those expectations.

However, Liverpool are yet to lose in the league this season and the 27/10 on offer for the match to end as a draw looks good value.

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