Premier League table-toppers Arsenal will be involved in a high-voltage clash with Liverpool when the two sides face each other at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday. Arsenal will be looking to make it eight wins out of their nine matches so far while the Merseyside giants will be desperate to return to return to winning ways after drawing their last two matches in the Premier League.
It has been a blistering start for Arsenal in the Premier League. While expectations were certainly raised after the acquisitions of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City, not even the most optimistic of Gunners fans could have predicted their awesome start to the current league campaign.
Besides the solitary loss to Manchester United a few weeks ago, Mikel Arteta’s side have won all of their matches and are on top of the Premier League table with 21 points. Arsenal also held their own in the North London derby with fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and came out on top with a 3-1 scoreline. Jesus, Thomas Partey, and Granit Xhaka found the back of the net for the Gunners during the derby to preserve their status as league leaders.
Of course, they were aided by Tottenham being reduced to 10 men as Emerson Royal saw a straight red card after a horrific challenge on Gabriel Martinelli just minutes after the hour mark. However, they were the better side throughout the game and dominated the contest. On the basis of their current form, it cannot be denied that Arsenal are set for their Premier League title race in over a decade.
That ability will be sternly put to the test when they face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this Sunday. Even though Liverpool have gotten off to a difficult start this season, in all honesty, they have been the only side to challenge Manchester City’s dominance in the Premier League in the last five years. Therefore, Sunday’s clash in London may give us a glimpse of how the season might unfold from Arsenal’s perspective and whether they possess the ability to dig deep and claw results in big games.
The Gunners extended their winning run in all competitions at home to eight matches by defeating Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt 3-0 in the Europa League on Thursday evening. If they can make it nine in a row on Sunday and keep ahead of Man City at the top of the table in the process, then what previously seemed to be wild dreams may become perceived as more realistic ambitions.
On the other end of the spectrum are Liverpool who are actually suffering from their poorest start to the season in several years and something almost unfamiliar during the Jurgen Klopp tenure. They will be heading into Sunday’s fixture 11 points behind Arsenal, although they do have a game in hand.
Only two wins from their seven matches so far have left Liverpool with 10 points in ninth place. They managed to take just two points from their opening two fixtures this season. While it looked like they had turned a corner with successive home victories over Bournemouth and Newcastle United, but they have since been held by Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Reds displayed plenty of grit, determination, and character to turn around a 2-0 deficit against the Seagulls at Anfield last weekend to lead 3-2 in the second half, with Roberto Firmino bagging a brace either side of the half-time break. However, they failed to hold on as an inspired Leandro Trossard was not to be stopped on the day and the Belgian sealed his hat-trick – and snatched a point for his side – with only seven minutes of normal time remaining.
Facing Scottish side Rangers in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, Klopp resorted to a more attacking formation. Four attackers started ahead of Thiago and Jordan Henderson in the middle of the park. They eventually raced to a 2-0 win over last season’s Europa League runners-up thanks to a well-taken freekick from Trent Alexander Arnold and another goal from Mohamed Salah.
Darwin Nunez, who arrived for £85 million from Benfica this summer, has attracted a lot of criticism for his poor form in front of goal. However, Klopp has come to the defence of his Uruguayan number 9 suggesting that the has been very impressive in training and his movement is amazing.
Whether the German manager feels his side are capable of visiting an in-form Arsenal side at the Emirates Stadium with a bold system as the one implemented against Rangers remains to be seen, especially as it is surely a must not lose game if they are to harbour any realistic hopes of competing for the Premier League over the course of this season.
ARS vs LIV, Premier League 2022/23
Date: 9th October, 2022
Time: 9:00 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Liverpool Premier League form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
Arsenal wins: 81
Liverpool wins: 94
Arsenal Team News:
Mikel Arteta decided to rest most of his regulars and rested as many as eight players for the Europa League fixture with Bodo/Glimt on Thursday. Zinchenko had also been rested after missing Wednesday’s training session as a precaution following his recent calf injury.
It was a surprise to see the Ukrainian full-back starting the North London derby against Spurs last time around, but he should be fit enough to replace Kieran Tierney at left-back against Liverpool on Sunday.
Martinelli, Xhaka and Gabriel were the three players to retain their places in the starting XI and the trio will almost certainly start once again against Liverpool, with club captain Martin Odegaard set to return in the attacking midfield role despite Fabio Vieira adding to his tally from that position in midweek.
On the other hand, Arteta will miss the services of Emile Smith Rowe and Mohamed Elneny who have been sidelined with muscular injuries.
Liverpool Team News:
Liverpool, on the other hand, will most certainly be travelling without midfielders Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arthur and Curtis Jones as all of them are out injured. However, Jones is inching closer to returning to group training and is well on the road to recovery.
After injuring his knee in the pre-season, Ibrahima Konate was fit enough to make it to the substitute bench for the first time this season against Rangers. However, Klopp is unlikely to force and early return for the French central defender and risk a relapse.
As a result, it won’t be surprising to see him sticking to the same back line and Andy Roberston will be absent as well, recovering from his own injured knee issue.
The German’s main dilemma will be whether to revert to his usual 4-3-3 formation or stick with the 4-2-3-1 system that secured a win against Rangers on Tuesday, with the former likely to be preferred given Arsenal’s slick possession game in midfield.
As such, Fabinho could replace Darwin Nunez, with Salah and Luis Diaz dovetailing either side of Diogo Jota, although Firmino does offer an alternative option given his excellent start to the season.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Diaz
Given the prolific nature of the attack that both sides possess on their day, it’s hard to dismiss the fact that plenty of goals will be seen in this game. Despite their woeful start to the season, Liverpool have an excellent record against Arsenal in recent seasons and they will be looking to maintain the same tempo.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side have played some brilliant football lately and the likes Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Martin Odegaard pose a daunting challenge to the Merseyside giants. As such, it won’t be surprising to see both sides sharing the spoils although Arsenal might have the chance to go out and win the game as well.