Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Premier League preview
Christmas is near, but will we get an early present by beating the Scousers? We will see.
However, Salah looks like the signing of the season, and Klopp is still a quality manager.
He’s publicly said that we’re a dangerous team, and both hold numerous similarities. We’re both technical teams, with strong attacks and weak defences. Arsenal and Liverpool are pretty similar as football clubs also. We’re both two of the biggest clubs in our country, and hark back to past glories. We banter them for not winning the Premier League, yet they retort with us being Champions League-less. Despite City and Chelsea as “nouveau riche” clubs, both of which hold equivalent global standing to ourselves and Liverpool, we both represent “old money” in English football. And of course, some of our games count as not only pivotal in our histories, but in English footballing history too (buy 89thefim to see why!)
But these for me are the pertinent points:
He’s looked a beast, and on course for the Golden Boot at least.
However, he’s not a god, and he is beatable. Our defenders are as quick, and we can nullify him if we close him and Liverpool down.
- Our bad defence/their bad defence
Klopp was true to say there were similarities. And he acknowledges he must stop Lacazette, Ozil, and Alexis. I believe it will be a tale of which defence holds. I believe we hold the advantage here. Whilst we both lack organisation, our defenders man for man are better. Matip and Koscielny is no contest. Even a Liverpool legend, Steve Nicol himself, said on ESPNFC a few months ago that our defenders are better.
If we can be organised, our better individual players could overcome them. Let’s be frank, Cech is not the keeper he was, but is better than Mignolet.
- Klopp and Wenger
Both managers are similar too. They both are highly principled, whilst Klopp favours more face-paced/pressing football than Wenger. However, Wenger is getting more adaptable, and can press, play classic “sexy football”, and even be direct and bypass midfield, if needed. Both are capable of changing formations, though if Wenger can formulate a plan to nullify Liverpool, this could be the edge. Klopp is yet to develop such flexibility, and Wenger must use this to his advantage.
- Alexis, Ozil, Lacazette
Alexis has received much criticism lately, whilst Ozil is shining. Lacazette played poorly vs. Newcastle, but he can bounce back here with some goals. All three need to be sharp, and Klopp knows this also.
Will Jack feature? I believe he should. He needs a big game vs. a big team to boost his claim for a World Cup place. And I believe, injuries permitting, he’s doing enough to warrant this.
I wrote a while back that he should be sold, but only on the provision that he improved and didn’t get injured. We do as fans hold a soft spot for him, but for me it’s due to the potential he showed years ago now. It’s time that he fulfilled this potential, to its maximum.
- Back four or back three?
For me, this is a futile debate. Wenger in my mind implemented the back three to freshen things up. We needed it, as we looked very stale. And it was possibly a trick to match the general trend in the league, triggered by Conte/Chelsea last season. The back three has worked thus far, and I believe we should do it again here.
The key for me will be to control the midfield, and try and null the supply to Salah and their other forwards. We should also play a mobile forward line, inclusive of Ozil.
As mentioned, we’re more flexible than Liverpool tactically. The Spurs game is now seen as a template of “optimal Arsenal”. It is in many ways, though I believe the Chelsea performance this season can also qualify.
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
It will be tough. Salah may score, again, who knows? But then I think we can win, based on Wenger’s emerging skill to match up other teams. It was worked with mixed success this season. City away was an attempt that didn’t pay off, though United at home was down to errors. Chelsea away and Spurs at home are the successes here.
We haven’t beaten Liverpool in a while, so we’re due a victory over them. Top four is more than possible this season.