Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Mikel Arteta said:
We’ve been to a few grounds this season where we haven’t won in 17, 18 and 22 years and we have managed to do that. So we are capable of [winning at Anfield], that’s for sure. We really need to embrace the moment and go for it. The team is full of enthusiasm and positivity and we know that we have a big challenge, but I see a big opportunity to go to Anfield and do something that we haven’t done for many years. That’s what is driving the team in the last few days.
17, 18 and 22 years? I can’t think of a ground we’ve not won at for such a lengthy period of time. Not even The Etihad, or Maine Road as it used to be, Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford. Not even Anfield, although ten years is an awfully long time. Too long. Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski were the scorers on that warm and sunny day in September 2012. Actually, I’ve no idea what the weather was like. Mikel Arteta was in the team that day though.
Liverpool are having a pretty poor season, certainly away from home but even at Anfield, apart from the battering of both Bournemouth and Man Utd, they’ve been far from at their best, or at least the level they have been in previous seasons under Klopp. They’ve only lost one home match though, against Leeds Utd. I don’t think they’ve even conceded a League goal at Anfield since December of last year.
We’ve lost just two games on the road, at Old Trafford, thanks to a poor VAR decision and at Everton when we just couldn’t get going. Back in Merseyside today, Mikel Arteta’s players will have to be at their best, and from the moment Paul Tierney blows his whistle for the first time. An early goal to silence the Anfield noise would be the ideal start.
Gabriel Jesus up against Van Dijk, Gabriel Martinelli v Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka v Robertson are battles we should be looking to win. Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey should be strong enough and certainly good enough to win the midfield battle but, we know that in attack, Salah, Firmino, Jota and Nunez are a threat to any team on their day but if they don’t have the ball, they can’t cause a problem.
Despite scoring first against City at the Etihad last weekend, Liverpool were then torn apart. Mainly by Jack Grealish who, love or loathe him, has been in great form, it’s just a shame he’s out of the same school of soft knocks as Kane. In the week, Liverpool went to Stamford Bridge and nicked a point. The match was dire and if Chelsea had more about them, they’d have won it but they don’t and didn’t. If Liverpool are as open in their own half as they were in that game, this Arsenal team need to pounce.
Mikel Arteta has a selection problem to solve as one of Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli or Bukayo Saka is likely to miss out. Unless he goes very left field and leaves Granit Xhaka out which I can’t see happening. Asked how he will make his selection he replied:
It depends on the moment, what we want to do, the quality we are seeking and the relationships that we want on certain days. Then obviously you can make five changes [in the game], so you have the ability to change the game with those players, which is great for us. It’s much better to have that problem because at the moment they are all looking really good.
Man City have already added three points to their total this weekend by thumping Southampton yesterday evening. Five points divide them and us now with the same number of fixtures played. If we can get a result today, it’d be massive for all sorts of reasons. Points obviously, but belief too.
Catch up in the comments.
Good afternoon Rico.
Assuming William Saliba hasn’t made a miraculous recovery, Rob Holding will again start in his place which leaves just one selection dilemma for Arteta, does he start either Jesus, who scored two against Leeds last week or Trossard who scored a hat trick at Anfield for Brighton last year. I’m assuming that Arteta has no intention whatsoever dropping our dynamic duo Saka and Martinelli.
I’m wondering if Saliba is the one who might return.
Nice for Mikel to have options.l
City will win all remaining games. I would be staggered if we get anything at Anfield or Newcastle.
2nd place would be disappointing after leading but an unimaginable finish given pee season expectations
Yes it’s butterflies in the stomach time again. We’ve passed every test so far, so why not.
It’s great to actually have really good options for a change that can come on and actually not weaken the side and make something happen.
Hi Mike, it certainly is. I’m optimistic but not overly confident.
Afternoon, rico, all. Happy Easter. I was worrying about the game (thinking how they can stun ManU 7-0) and then thought, what a nice position we are in, worrying about if we may get beaten and end up Premier League Runners Up! Who would have thought it? So time to try and enjoy the game, normally a draw would be a good result, and maybe I’d be happy with that.
Arsenal XI: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
Subs: Turner, Tierney, Smith Rowe, Kiwior, Trossard, Jorginho, Vieira, Nelson, Walters.
Afternoon Andrew, happy Easter to you too. Trouble with being to close to winning the league, it’s easy to forget what one’s expectations were at the beginning of the season. Mine was top four.
Got the pleasure of watching Bien sports with Andy Gray , Richard Keyes and guest Jason Macateer . Nothing like a bit of fairness
I can’t believe the tame enthusiasm from some of the Arsenal fans. We will win the game and we are winning the league. Liverpool is a crappy team this season. We are up 8 points not down 8 points. We can lose 2 games and still win the League.
It’s not tame enthusiasm at all, just common sense because of Liverpool’s home form and history. We all want Arsenal to win the League but saying categorically that we will is rather previous imo.
That started from Xhaka’s stupidity. Now the crowd are up again. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken off for Trossard.
What an idiot Xhaka is.
Rico@ 5:04. I understand the history relating to this fixture, but this is a totally different Arsenal team. Moreover, we can take into account Liverpool home form, and discount Arsenal form all season, 75 points from 30 games.
I know it’s a different Arsenal team Obi but until the final whistle goes and hopefully, with three points secured, anything can happen.
We need to regain some composure here.
No subs? Get some fresh bodies in there.
That equaliser was entirely down to Zinchenko. 😕
Cicero @6:19, or down to the failure to sub players who were tired.
No Obi it was a bad mistake by Zinchenko and after seeing him with his head in his hands after being subbed he knew it.
What a goalie Ramsdale is, that would have been a terrible defeat but for two amazing saves. Please, Saliba be back against Hammers and rest of season. Saka looked so tired at end, should have kept Jesus on. Martinelli had plenty of energy, he tried to dribble the whole team😀
I still believe that Xhaka handed them the advantage. He’s had a great season but that was stupid when we’re so far on top.
Didn’t like our time wasting antics either..
Incredibly frustrating for me. We really needed Oliver in charge. Klopp had been moaning all week about Tierney.
Agree Cicero, massive error from Zinchenko and then pretty poor defending of the cross.
Ramsdale was incredible.
Tierney was awful, although I’m surprised he didn’t give them a second penalty.
The game turned on Xhaka’s lack of discipline Allwe had to was keep playing Martinelli but we gave them momentum .Still a point is a point and we knew we would drop some somewhere 6 clear and they have a game in hand . It’s up for grabs now .
Where have I heard that before ?
Today, during the game but we didn’t score…
I am an admirer of Zinchenko, but today showed up an inherent weakness in his play. He is a fullback and the primary function of a fullback is to defend. Perhaps he would have done better defending that equaliser had he been less fatigued due to his habit of trying to play as a midfielder / winger / defender. Gabriel comes under more pressure because of Zinchenko’s frequent forays up field.
Rico I thought Tierney was awful, he let some horrendous “tackles” go unpunished and he should, clearly, have at least cautioned his linesman for elbowing Robertson in the face. Not that he, Robertson, didn’t deserve to get chinned.
Still two goals, one point, still top of the league. J A (tough) D A T O. 😉
I sincerely feel that this is 2 points lost, based on how dominated and had silenced them up until Salah’s goal. However I wouldn’t attribute the “lose” to Xhaka’s behavior/reaction. Yes, at his age, he should react better to challenges/ provocation. Arsenal’s seemingly inate inability to control matches is quite baffling in my opinion. I admire Zinchenko, but in his preoccupation with his “passing” midfield duties, he often gets caught out of position. In his error leading to their equalizer, he seemed tired and overwhelmed. On the other hand, I can’t buy this narrative about how…”we shouldn’t have whipped up the crowd…”, is it not meant to be a man’s game?
Someone please don’t make us believe Arsenal should always play gentle to appease the crowd or whoever, remember this is a competition, contact sport, so controlled aggression should be part of the game. My biggest concern is the poor mentality of the team in times of adversity and sustained pressure, one can still see traces of the old Arsenal weakness, crumbling under pressure, the weird substitutions made it even worse!
@Rico, the title for this article “Liverpool seldom lose at home, Arsenal seldom lose away….” exactly depicts exactly the outcome of this match😆!
As did I Cicero. Just another weak and biased referee.
Ha ha Kyalo. I’m afraid we differ re Xhaka, it’s not about the aggression etc, he just handed momentum to Liverpool imo who were at the time, being beaten all over the pitch.
New post up now