Arsenal VS Liverpool, a low-scoring draw

Posted Sat, 03 Apr 2021 00:16:13 GMT        

Match Time:4/4/2021 03:00 Sunday  (GMT+8)

English Premier League --  Arsenal   VS   Liverpool

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Match preview

Arsenal's old nemesis Jesse Lingard drew first blood in what looked set to be a comprehensive victory for West Ham at the London Stadium on March 21, as the Manchester United loanee rifled home before the Gunners completely switched off at a free kick and allowed Jarrod Bowen to tap home at the near post.

 

Things would go from bad to worse for a disconsolate Mikel Arteta as Tomas Soucek trebled West Ham's lead just after the hour mark, with Arsenal's defensive frailties coming to the fore once again, and a Hammers player would also score the fourth goal of the game, but this time Soucek saw Alexandre Lacazette's effort deflect off his leg into the back of the net.

 

So often instrumental to Arsenal's attacking phases, Martin Odegaard led from the front and had a hand in both of Arsenal's goals in the second half, as a reinvigorated Calum Chambers saw his cross cannon off Craig Dawson into the Hammers net before Lacazette's header completed a phenomenal comeback in the London derby for the Gunners.

 

While the spirit and tenacity of Arteta's men in the second 45 must be applauded, Liverpool's famed attackers will enjoy a field day if their hosts endure an equally woeful start to the game this weekend, and Arsenal have now gone 12 games without a clean sheet in all competitions since holding Manchester United to a goalless stalemate back in January.

 

The Gunners also progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, but even that was not without its disappointment as Olympiacos claimed an inconsequential 1-0 win at the Emirates, and with only three wins to boast from their last nine top-flight matches, any hopes of a top-four finish will be all but extinguished if they fail to come up trumps here.

 

Indeed, Arteta's side currently sit nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of their lunchtime meeting with West Bromwich Albion, while six points separate them from bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in sixth, so a successful venture in the Europa League is arguably the Gunners' best opportunity to secure a 27th consecutive season of continental football.

 

However, the Gunners have managed to navigate their last four Premier League games unbeaten and have claimed deserved victories over Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur in that time, while their FA Cup run last season also proved Arteta's credentials in the big games, and only one of their last eight top-flight matches at the Emirates has ended in defeat - a 1-0 loss to Manchester City on February 21.

 

Furthermore, Gooners will have extremely fond memories of their most recent Emirates battle with Liverpool, as Lacazette and the forgotten man Reiss Nelson both chalked up goals in a 2-1 triumph last July - by which point Klopp's side had already been crowned champions - and they could beat the Reds in back-to-back home league matches for the first time since April 2015 this weekend.

 

With Arteta still chopping and changing his centre-backs, Pep Guardiola's former protege must quickly find the optimal defensive formula as Arsenal bid to keep a long-awaited clean sheet on their way to another memorable triumph, but they have not won back-to-back home league matches since October and not many will be placing bets on them ending that barren run here.

 

Diogo Jota returned to Molineux in style to condemn Wolves to a 1-0 defeat in their most recent Premier League outing, although the result of the game was overshadowed by a horrific head injury to his compatriot Rui Patricio in the hosts' goal, as the game came to an end with over 100 minutes on the clock following the veteran's harrowing ordeal.

 

However, Patricio is confirmed to be doing well after his head injury - relief for Nuno Espirito Santo after his star striker Raul Jimenez was not so lucky a few months ago - but Liverpool did not allow themselves to rest on their laurels after nearly two hours of football as they ended a two-game losing streak in the top flight with that West Midlands triumph.

 

With a whopping 25 points separating the champions from champions-elect Manchester City, it would take a collapse of catastrophic proportions for Guardiola's side to somehow lose their grip on the crown now, and even Klopp himself has admitted that a Champions League berth is "almost impossible" for his side at this stage.

 

As is the case with their hosts Arsenal, who will be striving for Europa League glory, Liverpool's hopes of success in Europe are still very much alive as they eased to a 4-0 aggregate victory over RB Leipzig in the Champions League last 16, although they must now overcome serial winners Real Madrid in the quarter-finals to have a shot at lifting the trophy.

 

The fortress that was once Anfield has seen its walls crumble since Burnley ended Liverpool's astonishing unbeaten home record in January, but Liverpool have enjoyed far greater success on their travels, as they are currently on a three-game winning streak away from home across all competitions - keeping a clean sheet on each occasion - and four of their last five away outings in the league have ended in victory.

 

Furthermore, Klopp's team have lost just three of their last 18 away matches continentally and domestically, and with all five of Liverpool's most recent top-flight victories coming on the road, the Reds could match a 65-year-old club record if they prevail at the Emirates this weekend, as their six victories between February and August 1955 all came on rival turf.

 

On the other hand, Liverpool have only come up trumps in two of their last eight Premier League matches - losing the other six - and interestingly, only one team has found the back of the net in Liverpool's last seven fixtures since Leicester City beat them 3-1 on February 13.

 

As injuries continue to bedevil Klopp, the former Borussia Dortmund manager would see his side rise to fifth if their endeavours in the capital prove successful, although Chelsea are certainly expected to steer clear in the race for a top-four spot when they do battle with West Brom earlier in the day.

 

The likes of Andrey Arshavin, Peter Crouch and Robbie Fowler have written their names into Premier League folklore with their goal-laden performances in this fixture down the years, but with several players on both teams returning to action after a gruelling international period, the victors of this battle may simply be the ones with the freshest legs on the Emirates turf.

 

Arsenal Premier League form:

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Arsenal form (all competitions):

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Liverpool Premier League form:

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Liverpool form (all competitions):

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Team News

Two of Arsenal's brightest youngsters in Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are struggling with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively - with the former having to pull out of England duty - and the attacking duo remain doubts ahead of the visit of Liverpool.

 

Saka's possible absence would give Nicolas Pepe the chance to flourish on the right wing as Willian battles a calf issue, and the Ivorian will likely be joined by Odegaard, Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the latter rediscovering his goalscoring touch for Gabon during the international break.

 

Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey will not be broken up in midfield, while David Luiz and Gabriel Magalhaes should form the centre-back pairing, but Arteta has a huge call to make on the right-hand side of defence.

 

Hector Bellerin was dropped from the squad to face West Ham and Chambers grasped his opportunity with both hands, but given the speed and directness of Liverpool's wide men, the agile Bellerin may be preferred by Arteta this weekend.

 

Liverpool would love to welcome Roberto Firmino back to the fold this weekend given his extraordinary strike rate against Arsenal, and the Brazilian forward has indeed returned to training following a knee injury and could be available this weekend.

 

It would be harsh to drop Jota, but Firmino enjoys playing Arsenal more than any other team in the top flight and will hope to be given the nod alongside the effervescent Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the latter of whom has scored four of his seven Premier League goals this season in London.

 

Fabinho is able to marshal the midfield with Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak forming a protective barrier in front of Alisson, while Trent Alexander-Arnold put in a decent shift against Wolves, but it was not enough to see him earn a place in the England squad.

 

Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip complete a quartet of long-term absentees for Liverpool, and Divock Origi is also out with a muscular problem, but the cult hero is expected to depart Anfield this summer anyway.

 

Arsenal possible starting lineup:

Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang; Lacazette

 

Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Mane

 

Head To Head

Saturday's battle will mark the 233rd meeting between Arsenal and Liverpool in all competitions, with the capital outfit boasting 81 wins compared to Liverpool's 90 since 1893.

 

A total of 166 goals have been scored in fixtures between the two sides in the Premier League - the most out of any top-flight fixture since 1992 - and the 94 goals that Arsenal have conceded to Liverpool is their most against any team in the competition.

 

The champions have only claimed two wins from their last 20 Premier League away games on Arsenal turf, but Roberto Firmino has struck eight goals in 12 matches against the Gunners - his best tally against a single opponent in his career so far.

 

We say: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Arsenal need no lessons in turning up the heat when it matters most, but another disastrous opening 30 minutes this weekend would have fatal consequences against Klopp's attacking powers. Neither side embodies consistency and are far from where they would like to be in the table, so there is no reason for Arteta or Klopp to opt for a conservative style in what is certainly a winnable tie for both teams.

 

Losing Saka and Smith Rowe would be a significant blow to Arsenal, but Liverpool's injury woes are almost unparalleled despite the return of Firmino. Both teams are also likely to have one eye on their upcoming European battles, although this should be a fascinating showdown nonetheless, and we ultimately expect a share of the spoils at the Emirates.

 

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Nowgoal3.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match.

 

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

1x2 Picks: Draw

O/U Picks: Under 2.75

 

Arsenal VS Liverpool, a low-scoring draw