The Premier League returns this weekend, with the top liner being the game between Arsenal and Liverpool. Both teams are set to come face-to-face on Saturday, in what could have a massive impact on the top half of the table depending on where the results go.
The Gunners will be aiming to return to winning ways, having seen their 11-game winning streak ended after last week’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. For Liverpool, though, this fixture could not have come at a better time, with the Reds having won each of their last three games in all competitions.
In recent times, games between Arsenal and Liverpool have proved to be very exciting, with a lot of goals often recorded as well. On Saturday, both teams will once again be expected to go all out, as per the attacking philosophies of their respective managers.
Jurgen Klopp is never a man to shy away from setting up his team to attack the opponent, while Unai Emery has also brought massive changes to the Emirates since being appointed as manager in the summer.
Obviously, both teams look fired up for the game, but Liverpool will start as the favourites and here are three reasons why the Reds could win this encounter:
#3 Arsenal have been poor against big teams
Based on current form, Arsenal would definitely be tipped as favourites going into Saturday’s game against Liverpool. However, the Gunners have so far failed to beat any of the top sides this season. Despite coming into this game with a 13-game unbeaten run, it could be argued that Arsenal have not faced any tough opposition in that period.
Wins against the likes of Newcastle United, Leicester City and Fulham are impressive, but those victories become statements when they are against tougher opposition. Unfortunately, Arsenal has so far failed to pick any points on the two occasions that they faced clubs in the top four.
The 11-game winning streak may have dominated the headlines, but it came after the Gunners had lost their opening two games against Manchester City and Chelsea. Both of the aforementioned teams have not been able to beat Liverpool this season and such records do not favour Arsenal either.
Unlike Arsenal, the Reds managed to hold both Chelsea and Man City in the league and look like a side more built for such big games. Arsenal have so far not been good value when they come up against the bigger clubs and Liverpool is likely to be another hurdle too far for the Gunners on Saturday.
#2 Liverpool’s front three are back on form
Another factor that makes Liverpool favourites for this game is the form of the Reds’ front three. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have found their scoring boots just in time for the big clash against Arsenal on Saturday.
All three forwards started the season slowly, but have been very impressive in recent weeks. Currently, Mane has six Premier League goals – only Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have scored more than the Senegalese. Meanwhile, Salah is just a goal behind his teammate, with the winger also having five league goals to his name.
The form of the duo should come as bad news for Arsenal. This is because Mane and Salah are players who enjoy playing in the big games and both were on the scoresheet last season against the Gunners. Unlike the Mezut Ozils and Alexandre Lacazettes who normally struggle in the big games, the Liverpool frontline has consistently proven that they can take down any defence.
This is a front three that easily dispatched the almighty Paris Saint-Germain, and Arsenal could just be the next victims.
#1 Arsenal’s defensive woes still persistent
As if having to play against Liverpool’s in-form front three is not enough, Arsenal fans would definitely be downbeat when they take a look at their defence. The Gunners have not lost in their last 13-games in all competitions, but that does not cover up for the club’s defensive woes.
Inasmuch as Unai Emery’s side has been scoring goals for fun, the team has equally been leaking goals at the back. In fact, Arsenal has conceded four goals in their last three Premier League games and this is definitely not a good record going into a game against a free-scoring side like Liverpool.
The lack of quality and options at the back has been one of Emery’s biggest challenges since taking the Arsenal job. The fact that the Gunners manager opted to play Granit Xhaka at left-back during last week’s game against Crystal Palace typifies how dire the club’s defensive problems are.
Such a porous defence will delight Liverpool and, should that front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino have a good day, Arsenal will be in for a long afternoon against the Reds.