Arsenal vs Liverpool Community Shield Preview - it's like football has never been away...
- THE DETAILS
Venue – Wembley Stadium, London
Referee – Andre Marriner
Date & Time – Saturday, August 29th @ 16:30
Current Odds – Arsenal 4/1, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 13/20
Still no fans but it’s still the beautiful game…
Liverpool and Arsenal face off in the Community Shield on Saturday evening for the first time since The Gunners beat Gérard Houllier’s Reds 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium in August 2002.
Fans of both sides will be eager to see some ‘competitive’ action again, even though the domestic campaign finished less than a month ago with Arsenal’s FA Cup final win against Chelsea.
Arsenal’s last competitive game was their impressive 2-1 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final on August 1st. The Gunners beat MK Dons 4-1 in their only pre-season friendly of note last Tuesday.
Mikel Arteta does seem to be building some kind of stable foundations at the north London club and they’ll certainly be keen to lay down a marker against the Premier League champions on Saturday.
Liverpool’s last defeat was actually against Arsenal when Arteta’s side beat them 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in mid-July. Jürgen Klopp’s men had already secured Premier League title success at that stage.
The Reds beat VfB Stuttgart 3-0 last Saturday and had to come from two goals behind to draw 2-2 at RB Salzburg earlier this week.
Arsenal Team News
Arsenal’s current injury-list contains Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Marí, Gabrial Martinelli and Calum Chambers.
Arteta went with a very young squad for their recent friendly against MK Dons so it’s very difficult to predict his starting eleven for Saturday.
Arsenal may go with all guns blazing up front via Nicolas Pépé, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Liverpool Team News
Jürgen Klopp is currently without Jordan Henderson, Joël Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ki-Jana Hoever and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to injury. Henderson and Alexander-Arnold are due to return to action shortly after the Community Shield while Matip and Oxlade-Chamberlain are hoping to be fit and available in late September.
Neco Williams is likely to play at right-back instead of Alexander-Arnold, gaining some hugely valuable first-team experience for the youngster. Virgil van Dijk is reported to be fine after his head injury against RB Salzburg so should start alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of the back four.
Klopp will probably go with a midfield trio of Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keïta. Keïta displayed great form since the Premier League returned to action in June so he could be looking at a more regular place in the starting eleven this season if he can stay injury-free.
Despite Rhian Brewster’s great form in pre-season, I think Klopp will go with the usual full-strength forward line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané. Brewster should get at least 30 minutes action, however.
Arsenal XI (3-4-3) – Leno; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Soares, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Pépé, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Williams, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keïta; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Arsenal won 2-1 back in July against Liverpool. It’s worth noting The Reds had already won the league title by that stage, however. Sadio Mané gave Liverpool an early lead that day but goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson turned it around for The Gunners before half-time.
ARSENAL 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
This is certainly a game to look forward to, as most clashes with Arsenal have been in recent years. There is nearly always the guarantee of goals and a good open game. Saturday should be no different. I think Liverpool will win in a game not short on goalmouth action.