Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates in a Premier League fixture on Sunday evening. The match sees a clash of last year’s league runners-up in Liverpool, and the team that currently sit top of the Premier League, Arsenal. The Gunners head into the fixture in great form and will be aiming to cement their status as title contenders.
Arsenal have won 9 of their opening 10 games this season, with their only loss coming against Man United in early September. However, since then the Gunners have recorded three wins on the bounce, including against archrivals Spurs last weekend.
The win cast aside any doubt as to Arsenal’s ability to beat other big teams, at least temporarily, after falling at the first hurdle of the season at Old Trafford. But the Gunners responded emphatically to claims of this side being as fragile as their predecessors, dominating their opposition in a game that Spurs went into as slight favourites, despite history firmly being on the side of the home team.
The North London Derby win made it 7 victories from Arsenal’s 8 league games so far, taking them a point ahead of Manchester City in first place. The Gunners arguably have a case for playing the best football in the league, even ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side, who in all honesty haven’t hit top gear yet.
Arsenal will know that a victory over Jürgen Klopp’s men on Sunday will send a message of intent to the rest of the league. Liverpool have been City’s main rivals throughout the last few years, and victory over them could cement their status as Pep Guardiola’s side’s main competitors.
Mikel Arteta’s team have the second-best attack in the PL this season, scoring 20 goals, only behind Man City. They also have the joint-second best defence after only conceding 8 goals, one more than Everton on 7.
Despite Arsenal being in fine form and Liverpool struggling this season, a Gunners result is not a formality as they have a poor record against the Reds. Arsenal last beat Liverpool at the back end of the 2019/2020 PL season, after Liverpool had already wrapped up the league title. Which is why a result against the Merseysiders could do wonders for their confidence given Arsenal’s mental block.
Liverpool head into the fixture not as confidently as they usually do against the Gunners, and understandably so. The Reds lay 9th in the Premier League, having only won two of their opening seven games.
Jürgen Klopp’s men bounced back from a 3-3 draw against Brighton at Anfield last week with a comfortable 2-0 win over Scottish side Rangers in the UEFA Champions Leagueon on Tuesday. They will be desperate to get their league campaign back on track at the Emirates on Sunday, knowing the confidence boost it will give them to take into the rest of the season.
Many of the Red’s players haven’t hit the form we’ve become accustomed to seeing, namely Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and practically the entire midfield.
The lack of midfield form has led to the defence being more exposed, particularly Trent who benefits a lot from Jordan Henderson’s positional discipline and awareness. However, the Liverpool captain’s injury issues have ruled him out of plenty of games so far, having a major effect on the Red’s backline.
Sunday’s encounter promises to be an exciting game for different reasons. Liverpool want to find form amid losing major ground on Man City, all but ruling them out the title race. Arsenal, on the other hand, are hoping to cement their place as City’s biggest competition as they aim for their first title since 2004.
Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool
Arsenal have been starting games off in encouraging fashion, racing out the blocks in pretty much all their games. Conversely, Liverpool have conceded first in nine of their last eleven PL games, which has evidently played a factor in the Reds only winning two league games this season.
For this reason, we expect the Gunners to blow Liverpool away in the opening stages of the game, with the Reds being unable to recover.