Since the defeat to Stoke, it’s been a long and stressful week for myself, and all Arsenal supporters. That feeling of knowing that Arsenal could have and should have done better at the bet365 Stadium is frustrating. With that sour taste in our mouth, and Arsenal currently 11th in the Premier League standings, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Gunners take the pitch again, hopefully being able to bounce back.
Helping alleviate some of that frustration was the birth of our first child. He’s helped take Arsenal off my mind, but on Sunday, it’s back to the emotional struggle. I’m hopeful that the little Gooner will bring some good fortune to the lads, because it seems an eternity since we last won at Anfield.
September 2nd, 2012. That was the last time Arsene Wenger’s men travelled to Anfield, and brought back all three points to London. Since then, we’ve endured two defeats, two draws, 13 goals conceded, and 7 goals scored. If history is any indicator, we should see plenty more goals again between both these sides on Sunday. For neutrals, it should be an entertaining one to watch, but, for us Arsenal supporters, it has the potential to be yet another heartbreaker.
Le Prof’s History Lesson
Predicting Arsenal’s Future
With Koscielny coming back into the squad after sitting out the first two matches due to suspension, we can only hope Arsenal will improve defensively. The Frenchman’s return should also make things easier to select the back three, but as always, and I mentioned it ahead of the Stoke match, at times Arsene Wenger is like Mike Dean. Just when you think all is fine, Le Prof decides to somehow shove a round peg into a square hole, becoming the center of attention.
Speaking of Mike Dean, how about that second yellow card to Raheem Sterling… 🤔 Like I said, round peg into a square hole. Boom, look at me!!
There should be no reason as to why Arsenal’s back three shouldn’t include Koscielny, Mustafi, and Monreal. And let’s not reinvent the wheel here. Monreal on the left, Koscielny central, and Mustafi on the right. That will offer the side some defensive stability.
Kolasinac should be the LWB, and Oxlade-Chamberlain should be on the right. None of this Bellerin on the left and Ox on the right bullsh*t.
While Bellerin is naturally a defender, Ox, in my opinion, offers more at the RWB position than the speedy Spaniard. Going forward, Ox is a bigger threat, he’s more physical, and defensively in that position, I feel as if he’s more aware of his surroundings, unless of course he gets frustrated like he did late in the match against Stoke.
More importantly will be the discipline Arsenal is able to show in the center of the park.
We saw that Stoke’s goal originated from a turnover right around the halfway line, but Ramsey’s positional discipline also left the squad exposed. Has the Welshman learned from his mistake, or will he continue to do as he pleases, leaving Xhaka with loads of ground to cover?
Keeping Rambo out of the starting XI if he’s healthy is difficult, not only because of his technical ability, but also because I’m confident Arsene Wenger has a secret crush on him. But in all honesty, I personally think Elneny would be the better option at Anfield.
The Egyptian has proven that things work with him and Xhaka. At times it looks as if they are attached by a rope. When one gets forward, the other keeps the shape defensively, and vice-versa. When Rambo is in there, the rope is about as long as the Daniel Sturridge’s medical record, longer than we’d like.
Alexis’ return to the squad is certainly the most noteworthy headline heading into the match.
Not having taken part in the first two fixtures, the Chilean was on the outside looking in. I’m actually curious to know what’s going through his mind after a difficult victory against Leicester, and a frustrating defeat away to Stoke. But regardless of that, his presence should offer the squad an added boost. For the hosts, Alexis will pose a serious headache for their suspect defensive unit.
A front three of Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette has more than enough to put goals past Mignolet and his group of dodgy defenders. No worries though, Arsenal has shown their own defensive frailties, so we could be looking at maybe five, or six goals collectively?
All joking aside though, Liverpool will pressure from the front, and they equally have pace and creativity going forward, enough to scare the sh*t out of any of Arsenal’s defenders. They may very likely invite Arsenal forward and look to counter with the likes of Salah and Mane, and we know that the Gunners are generous when it comes to allowing space in behind their midfielders and defenders.
Despite the defensive inefficiencies from both, the deciding factor could very well be the fact that Arsenal will have their best player available, while Liverpool will not. Well, you could argue who their best player is, but, Coutinho is involved in a transfer soap opera, and has yet to feature for the Reds. That in itself could very well give the Gunners the edge.
Koscielny back to command the defensive unit, and Alexis back and hungry to be back on the pitch. You know what that means right? Defensively, it will be a circus, Alexis will score on his return, Lacazette will get his second goal, and given the pressure on both managers, I’m predicting Klopp and Wenger could get into a war of words on the touchline. Above all, three points are massive for both. So who will have a defensive unit who sucks the least?
My heart says one thing, but my head says another. While I think this could be another banana skin, Liverpool’s midweek fixture could add some fatigue. They don’t have the greatest depth, therefore, rotating is limited. Arsenal has better depth, and a better overall squad to select from, it’s just a matter of being able to put it all together.
Liverpool 1-3 Arsenal