With barely enough time to digest all the highs and positivity of Sunday’s victory over Leicester today’s opponents Liverpool roll up into town. If people never saw a match between the two as a rivalry the events that unfolded around the Carabao Cup Semi Final certainly have added a new edge to the battle between the two clubs.
I’m sure Covid-gate certainly left a bad taste in the Arsenal player’s mouths much like it did the fans and now an opportunity has arisen to get one over the Merseyside Reds. It may not rank amongst the status of a Liverpool game against Man United or a city derby but trust me given the high proportion of Liverpool fans that reside in London I’m pretty sure the ‘bants’ level has been turned up to 100.
Arsenal v Liverpool is the kind of game London scouse fans will find a way to get hold of tickets to see the match, it will certainly be a case of spot the Liverpool fan amongst us in the Emirates tonight.
Capacity crowd will be in attendance no doubt and with each game I attend I witness the atmosphere improve directly proportional to each of those games as they come around. There’s a feel good factor and a belief this season which has in effect created a 12th man in the stadium. No doubt those in attendance will be roaring the team on.
The battle for Top 4 will not be a straight forward ride for Arsenal and they will need to come away with at least one point to continue their assault on the league table. Games in hand can fritter away before you know it. We go into this game in top form having won our 5th consecutive game against Leicester the problem we have is that we face a Liverpool team chasing their 9th consecutive victory.
Two form teams, both with something to play for pitting their wits against each other. We sadly haven’t scored a goal against Liverpool in three meetings this season so that’s the first stat we need to put right. Second one is stop that ***** I mean very nice gentleman Jota always getting on the score sheet against us. It’s starting to become an annoying problem, well for me it is, what happened to the good old days when it was Salah, Mane and Firminio dominating my nightmares?
Talking of Salah, he did take a knock at the weekend against Brighton and is a potential doubt against us. Jurgen Klopp has indicated that he could be in contention but that could just be manager mind games. He wasn’t seen training on Monday but I cannot confirm or deny if that situation changed yesterday. Whether he plays or not Liverpool bring plenty of attacking threat so we need to be on our A game in defence.
A defence that is likely not to include Tomiyasu as the Japanese international makes a slow recovery from injury. I know fans have their reservations about a sustained run of games for Cedric Soares however I feel he has come in and done a good job covering the right back slot. With Tomiyasu close to full recovery id be reluctant to throw him into the game without any match practice in the lead up. It was against the same opponents in the Carabao Cup that we hastily rushed Tomiyasu into the starting line up where he probably produced his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. Unfortunately when you aren’t fully fit there are not many teams where you can get away with being less than 100%. Certainly not against Liverpool and we paid the price for it on the night.
Other than the Tomiyasu conundrum the team pretty much picks itself, other than any potential knocks from Sunday’s game I’d expect to see an unchanged line up to take on Liverpool.
Can we turn over Liverpool? It’s certainly not impossible. Every player will need to bring their A game. If they need motivation the fans in the stands will bring that to the Emirates with their voices, that’s a given. The fans are behind the team, the team are behind the manager, the results and performances are coming with much more regularity. Tonight could be season defining, no talk of free hit, we have a plan to be where the Liverpool’s and Manchester City’s currently occupy and that reality can be realised just a little bit more with a performance and result tonight. Come on you Gunners!
Born a stone’s throw (and a 271 bus ride) away from Highbury. Arsenal is my life, I celebrate every win and I suffer every defeat, it’s all about taking the good with the bad. Writing and sharing about everything Arsenal certainly keeps me sane!