Arsenal v Liverpool – The Premier League Preview

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Arsenal v Liverpool – The Premier League Preview

This is the third recent meeting of these two title hopefuls, which takes place on Sunday afternoon. Liverpool will be heading to the capital for a top of the table clash of two English giants, with a desire to end the charge of their opponents. The reverse fixture (at Anfield) saw a 1-1 draw played out, before the reds beat the Gunners 0-2, in the FA Cup a few weeks later. The reds currently hold a five-point lead over Mikel Arteta’s side, which makes this super Sunday encounter vital to both club’s championship aspirations.

The Arsenal Availability

Arsenal currently sit third in the Premier League, equal on points with Manchester City, though having played a game more. Mikel Arteta will be looking for a strong Emirates performance, after a sporadic run of new year’s form. Champions League qualification is by no means assured, which means every one of their home games must be won, to ensure a good chance of finishing in the top four. After 22-games played, Arsenal has 46 points.

In terms of availability, Fabio Vieira and Jurrien Timber are out, whereas Mohamed Elneny is still on international duty with Egypt, despite elimination from the AFCON. Takehiro Tomiyasu is also away now, as he continues to participate at the Asia Cup.

Regarding recent form, the north London club won their last game 1-2, after a successful trip to Nottingham Forest. The week prior to that ended in an emphatic 5-0 win against visiting Crystal Palace, though only after a 1-2 loss away to Fulham. The FA Cup 3rd round defeat occurred in between those two London derbies, as the reds sent them crashing out in the 3rd round.

A predicted line up for the home team is listed below.

GK – David Raya

RB – Ben White

RCB – William Saliba

LCB – Gabriel Magalhães

LB – Oleksandr Zinchenko

RCM – Martin Ødegaard (c)

CDM – Declan Rice

LCM – Kai Havertz

RW – Bukayo Saka

CF – Gabriel Jesus

LW – Gabriel Martinelli

In a 4-3-3 system of play, the home side will surely look to slow the games tempo and control possession from the outset. With Tottenham and Aston Villa both just three points behind Arsenal, Arteta will be looking for a momentous win against their league rivals.

The Liverpool Availability

The Premier League leaders are in a tremendous run of form right now, as the news of Jürgen Klopp’s end of season departure appears to have lit a fire within the Anfield camp. The reds welcomed Chelsea to Merseyside this past midweek, which ended in a strong 4-1 win for the reds. An away trip to Bournemouth prior to that, saw Liverpool run out 0-4 winners, after a 4-2 win against Newcastle at Anfield. Amongst this trio of Premier League victories, the FA Cup 3rd round win over the gunners was followed by a 4th round win against Norwich, as the 5-2 scoreline saw them bounce into the last sixteen. The EFL Cup semi-final was also successfully navigated, as Fulham lost 3-2 over the two-legged tie. After 22-games played, Liverpool has a table topping worthy 51-points.

In terms of those available, Stefan Bajčetić remains sidelined, whereas Joël Matip appears to have played his last game for the club, after sustaining an ACL injury last year. Wataru Endō is still competing at the Asia Cup, as Mohamed Salah continues his recovery from a hamstring complaint. That injury was sustained at the ongoing African Cup of Nations; however, he is now back on Merseyside and close to a return. Darwin Núñez picked up a knock in the midweek win over Chelsea, though should start after a brilliant performance.

Below is the expected line up, which may see one or two changes.

GK – Alisson Becker

RB – Trent Alexander Arnold

LB – Joe Gomez

RCB – Jarell Quansah

LCB – Virgil van Dijk

RCM – Dominik Szoboszlai

CDM – Alexis Mac Allister

LCM – Curtis Jones

RF – Diogo Jota

CF – Darwin Núñez

LF – Luis Díaz

In a 4-3-3 system, the reds German manager may look to enforce a couple of changes to refresh the group. Jarell Quansah could start ahead of Ibrahima Konaté, whilst the vice-captain, Trent Alexander Arnold, is expected to come back in for the mightily impressive Conor Bradley. Cody Gakpo may return in place of Darwin; however, I suspect it would be likely to see the Uruguayan striker start and come off later if his foot injury becomes an issue.

How Will This Contest Play Out

I believe the team in the ascendancy is Liverpool, who are now desperate to gift an end of season parade for their legendary manager. A ferocious start will move into a tactical battle, that will inevitably end as another Premier League draw. Mikel Arteta has had some confidence knocked out of his side of late, therefore, this time of battle could be one that is one or lost on the sidelines.

Player to watch – Trent Alexander Arnold

Score Prediction;

Arsenal 2 – 2 Liverpool

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