Champions Travel to the Emirates
Last updated: March 31, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||Liverpool 0 – 0 Arsenal|
The World Cup qualifiers are now over, for the time being at least, and our attention now returns to the Premier League with a tasty clash between Arsenal and Liverpool. Both teams are struggling in the league, Arsenal are ninth, and Liverpool are seventh, and with just nine games left to play, the three points here could be vital for either team’s chances of playing European football next season.
Arsene Wenger initiated the finishing fourth culture when he was at the club. Many other team’s supporters ridiculed Arsenal for celebrating a top-four finish like a trophy and accused the club of lacking ambition. Fast forward three years since the Frenchman left the English football scene, and almost every club has the same objective, to secure a top-four finish and qualify for the Champions League. Arsenal fans are well aware of the phrase “be careful what you wish for” since Wenger left the club, Arsenal has never qualified for the UEFA Champions League, having to settle instead for Europa League. They have already played Liverpool three times this season, winning on penalties in the Charity Shield and knocking their opponents out of the League Cup. They did, however, lose in the league, a 3-1 defeat at Anfield. The last time the two sides met in the league at the Emirates, Arsenal won 2- 1, but Liverpool had already secured the title by then.
The Gunners are unbeaten in the last four games in the league (winning two, drawing two) since they lost 1 – 0 to Manchester City. They were excellent in a surprise 3-1 win away at high-flying Leicester, going behind in the sixth minute to a Youri Tielemans goal. David Luiz equalised before Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal the lead from the spot in added time in the first half. Nicolas Pépé secured the points by scoring in the 52nd minute. Another recent highlight was winning the North London derby earlier this month, beating Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham 2-1. They have, however, dropped points drawing 1 – 1 against Burnley and 3 – 3 against West Ham. Mikel Arteta’s side is ninth, four points behind their weekend opponents and nine points behind fourth-place Chelsea. They have a more realistic chance to qualify by winning the Europa League. They have not found much joy in this competition, however, eliminated in the semi-finals against Atletico Madrid. The famous 4 – 1 final defeat to Chelsea in Baku, followed by a heartbreaking round of 32 eliminations by Olympiacos. Arsenal will face Slavia Prague in this season’s quarter-final, which will take place at the beginning of April. If they win that game, they will play either Dinamo Zagreb or Villarreal in the semi-final. They could face Manchester United in the Final if the Red Devils get past Granada and then Ajax or Roma.
Alexander Lacazette has proven his worth to Mikel Arteta’s side and is the current top goalscorer with eleven goals. The Frenchman has netted in the last two consecutive league matches against Liverpool and was his team’s man-of-the-match in the 3-3 draw with West Ham. The 29-year-old also scored in the 2-1 win over Tottenham. The form of Lacazette has taken the pressure off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored twenty-two goals in the last two consecutive seasons, has managed just nine goals so far. However, rather than being a negative, not relying on Aubameyang has enabled them to shake off the one-man team tag, and they are doing a good job of combining experience with youngsters. Real Madrid loanee, Martin Odegaard, scored crucial goals against Olympiacos and Tottenham and was pivotal in the comeback from 3 – 0 against West Ham to salvage a point. The 22-years old Norwegian would love to keep his place in Arsenal’s side with his influence in the attack compared to Mesut Ozil. His creative influence, alongside Bakayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, affords their forwards more opportunities.
Liverpool has gone from a Champions League-winning season to a Premier League winning season to now fighting tooth and nail to secure European football this season. An injury-plagued season, especially in the defence compartment, has made the Reds look fragile. Rushed new acquisitions have not helped their cause as it has made them look even more disorganised as a side, and they still lack depth and often don’t seem to have a contingency plan in place in games when things are not working out well in games. Jürgen Klopp has been accused of stubbornly sticking to the same starting eleven, avoiding rotating players, which Klopp’s critic’s claim has contributed to the club’s injury crisis this campaign.
Bayern Munich’s Champions League winner, Thiago Alcântara, has struggled since joining Liverpool, playing in a more defensive role; he has only made twelve starts in the league this season. Although the 29-year-old has impressed in the two Champions League games, he has played. He has been used sparingly in the World Cup qualifiers by Spain, playing just 18 minutes in their 1-1 draw with Greece and thirty-five minutes in the 2-1 win over Georgia.
Diogo Jota scored in the 1 – 0 against Wolves and is likely to retain his place in the centre of a front three with Mohamed Salah and Mane. The 24-year-old is having a good season despite Liverpool’s stuttering campaign. The versatile player can play across all positions in midfield as well as upfront and has scored sixteen goals in thirty-one appearances for club and country. The win at Molineux was a big relief after six defeats in the last seven games. Liverpool had lost just two of the past 100 League games when they scored first. The poor run has been in their home matches after an impressive sixty-eight games unbeaten at home; they went ahead to lose five consecutive games. Their away form has been good, winning four and losing one of the last five games. Roberto Firmino has scored eight in eleven games against the Gunners, but only one goal at the Emirates.
Mohammed Salah is the top scorer with seventeen goals, but the team has not been solid at the back to make the most of his excellence. Xherdan Shaqiri, who netted for Switzerland 1 – 0 win over Lithuania, has been benched occasionally, despite his great attacking prowess in front of goal and ability to score from range. If Liverpool were at full strength and full of confidence, you’d fancy a routine win here, but unfortunately for Liverpool, neither is true. Although it’s not win or bust for Liverpool as they are in the Champions League’s Quarter-finals where they face Real Madrid. Win that two-leg tie, and they will meet Porto or Chelsea in the Semi-final.
Lacazette scored in the last two league matches, including the 2 – 1 win the last time the sides met in the league at the Emirates.
Arsenal is unbeaten in the last four games, winning two, drawing two.
Mohammed Salah is the top scorer on the pitch with seventeen goals.
The defending Champions have a serious injury crisis and could be without up to seven players.
|Arsenal (4-3-2-1):||Leno, Bellerini, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Thomas, Xhaka, Smith-Rowe, Odegaard, Saka, Aubameyang|
|Subs:||Runarsson, Maitland-Miles, Holding, Mari, Elneny, Willock, Nketiah, Martinelli, Chambers, Lacazette, Pepe|
|Liverpool (4-3-3):||Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane|
|Subs:||Adrian, Kelleher, Williams, Jones, Elliott, Keita, Minnamino, Milner, Origi|
|Injured:||Van Djik, Fabinho, Jota, Gomez, Matip, Henderson|
So Far This Season
|Arsenal This Season||Liverpool This Season|
|12 (6)||Wins (away)||13 (6)|
|4 – 0 v West Brom||Biggest Win||7 – 0 v Palace|
|6 (3)||Draws (away)||7 (5)|
|0 – 3 v Aston Villa||Biggest Defeat||2 – 7 v Aston Villa|
|Lacazette (11)||Top Goal Scorer||Salah (17)|
|Y42, R5||Discipline||Y32, R0|
|10||Failures to Score||8|
|48%||Both Teams to Score Games||52%|
|55%||Over 2.5 Goals||48%|
|45%||Under 2.5 Goals||52%|
- Arsenal and Man City have played fifty-seven professional games, The Gunners have sixteen direct wins against Liverpool’s twenty-two wins, and nineteen draws between them.
- Lacazette scored twice in the previous game, but one goal that was deemed to be an own goal is the one to watch.
- Diogo Jota, who scored the winner in their previous win against Wolves, are the Reds on form player since recovering from injury.
- Both teams have the chance of winning a European title to qualify for Europe next season.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|01/10/2020||League Cup||Liverpool 0 – 0 Arsenal||—|
|28/09/2020||EPL||Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal||Lacazette 25’|
|29/08/2020||Community Shield||Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool||Aubameyang 12’|
|15/07/2020||EPL||Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool||Mane 20’|
|30/10/2019||FA Cup||Liverpool 5 – 5 Arsenal||Torreira 19’|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Arsenal are in the better form of the two sides, with six wins, two draws and two defeats in their last ten in all competitions. They showed great determination to fight back from 3-0 down to salvage a 3-3 draw in their last game against West Ham, and if they can reproduce their second-half performance in that game, they have a chance of taking something from this game.
Liverpool fans will probably be happy that this game is taking place away from Anfield as the only goal they have scored this year on home turf was a mere consolation in a 4-1 loss to Manchester City. On the road, they are much better, a 3-1 loss against Leicester, the only defeat in six with five wins in those games.
We think this will be an open game, and with so much goal scoring talent on display, we feel it will have quite a few goals in it. With both teams desperate for the points, we suspect the game will end in a draw which is priced @ 27/10. A high scoring 2-2 draw is priced @ 12/1 with bet365.