Saturday, 3 March 2012

Premier League preview: Liverpool vs Arsenal

Can Arsenal press on?

Arsenal’s 5-2 victory over local rivals Tottenham was one of their finest in recent memory. At 2-0 down after 35 minutes their season could have capitulated, but in an extraordinary 28 minute period they managed to hit the net 5 times on the way to an emphatic win. The win capped off a fine month in the Premier League in which they managed to win three games and draw one, however a couple of poor cup performances in the same period mean there is still a sense of fragility about Wenger’s team.

Next up is arguably the toughest match left in their run home, so a win will put them in prime position to claim Champions League qualification for the 15th season in succession. Wenger has been typically bullish in the pre-match talk & I’d normally expect his team to press strongly for the 3 points, however there have been rumours that Van Persie won’t be lining up for this match. If that is the case then Arsenal may well take a more defensive approach into this game.

Liverpool: A new era, or a false dawn?

It’s hard to believe that at the start of the 2009/2010 season Liverpool were many pundits pick for the title. Since then things have been pretty grim on Merseyside, but their first piece of silverware since 2005 has once again raised the expectations of one of Europe’s most successful club teams.

Liverpool remain unbeaten at home this season, however their totals of 20 points and 14 goals from 12 home games aren’t enough for a team with their ambitions. Kenny Dalglish will see this game as an opportunity for Liverpool to put a marker down not only for the rest of the season, but also for next year. Also if Liverpool are to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive then a win is an absolute must.

My prediction

Although football is primarily a team game, Van Persie has pulled Arsenal through single handedly on numerous occasions this season. I expect that Wenger will see this game as more important than Tuesday’s Champions League game against AC Milan, so will risk his talisman even if he’s not 100% fit, and if he gets onto the pitch today I think Arsenal will be able to grab a point in an exciting encounter. 

Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2


  1. Good first post Evan. As a Liverpool fan, this season has largely been one of frustration (despite the Carling Cup win) and early in the season when we were playing well and dominating teams we failed to turn too many draws into wins. You're right that today is a big game and big opportunity for both teams, but I think both will be desparate to avoid defeat and a draw is highly likely. Liverpool will probably set up to stop Arsenal playing (like they did against, City, Utd and Spurs) and then either grab a goal from a set-piece or on the counter. We'll miss Agger in defence and Arsenal could well expose Carra's lack of pace. One man looking to take advantage of our slow defence will be Walcott and he'll be full of confidence after last week. It'll be interested to see how he plays and where he play if RVP doesn't make it (I suspect he will). It's also a big game for the ref and far too often games between these teams are ruined by red cards. If both teams can keep 11 men on the pitch, I think 1-1 is likely, but it'll probably come down to which team can keep their discipline and I'm hoping that's where Liverpool may have the edge.

  2. The match should've been over at half-time, but Liverpool failed to take their chances and Arsenal gradually got back into the game before hitting them with a late sucker punch. One could argue that Liverpool were unlucky, but when it happens so often there must be more to it.

    Playing well also means finishing well, which is something Liverpool have failed to do often enough this season. If they want to challenge for the CL positions next season they'll need to improve in front of goal. For all his good play, Suarez needs to take more of his chances and become a 20 goal a season player.

    I'd be very surprised if Arsenal don't take a CL spot now - there's even a decent chance they may sneak into 3rd. Liverpool will need to at least finish in the top 6 or claim the FA Cup to view this season as one of progress.