Liverpool v Arsenal … The First Big Test of the Season

August 24, 2019

Recent meetings:

18/19 Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

17/18 Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

16/17 Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

15/16 Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal

14/15 Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

Last Arsenal win:

12/13 Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

Arsenal

After a pair of narrow victories against lesser opposition, Arsenal head to Anfield for their first real test of the season. So far, the team have shown good battling qualities and a reliance on Aubameyang’s clinical finishing in order to get 6 points out of 6, but if they are to continue with the strong start then they will need to perform much better than they have so far.

The natural thinking is that we will head into the game looking to soak up pressure in the first 20 minutes and build from there. There may even be a temptation for Emery to bring in more experienced players like Torreira and Xhaka and switch to a back 3, but I’m really hoping that Emery holds his nerve and continues with the 4-2-3-1 and the young, hungry players he’s relied upon so far.

I think this is the first time in a long time that we are going to Anfield with players who pose a real threat to the opposition and can hurt them. Based on that, I’d actually like to see us play an attacking side and see if we can go toe to toe with the scousers. There is no doubt that Salah, Mane and Firmino are a world class trio, but we have three players of our own who are just as capable and it would be a joy to watch Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang given the chance to run at the Liverpool defence and see who comes out on top in a good old-fashioned shoot out. 

Liverpool

As for our opposition, they had their usual strong first half at home to Norwich in week 1 which was enough for victory, and then struggled a little against Southampton which is understandable given they had 120 minutes of midweek Super Cup action. I don’t think Liverpool have actually started the season very well and will be alarmed at the amount of chances they have given up to lower quality opposition.

Chelsea ran them ragged at times in the Super Cup and even Norwich and Southampton managed to break through their back line. Everyone was keen to hype up their defence last season but I see the right hand side as a real weakness. TAA is a fantastic attacking full back but he gives away opportunities at the other end, and they haven’t quite decided who should play next to him with Gomez and Matip sharing responsibilities but neither being anywhere near the level of Van Dijk.

Possible line-ups ….

Key Areas

Liverpool usually start fast and can blow sides away in the first 25 minutes, so we need to take the sting out of the crowd by keeping the ball well and making sure we are able to get up the field when in possession. I think Ceballos will be key here as he is capable of holding possession in tight areas and he can draw fouls with his quick feet.

Pepe should start as his dribbling ability could be vital in launching counter attacks and getting through their press. If we can establish a foothold in the game then Aubameyang down that left hand side could be our match winner as TAA is prone to being caught up the field and can be exposed.

Our passing out of the back from goal kicks still looks like a work in progress, and if we surrender possession as much as we did against Burnley then we could end up shooting ourselves in the foot. A few raking passes from Luiz would be a godsend and could be a way for us to get through their press if he can be accurate.

Set pieces will be important at both ends. Van Dijk and Matip are very good in the air and will need to be marshalled properly as Liverpools delivery is usually spot on. At the other end, Ceballos’ delivery actually made us look dangerous from corners against Burnley and with Adrian flapping around in goal it could be a way for us to get a cheap goal.

Positives

With Spurs up next, this is a real testing period for Arsenal and will show us where we are in terms of finishing top 4. There is a lot of excitement around the club at the moment and I’d hate to see that fade if results don’t go our way in these next 2 matches. We need to remember that Spurs and Liverpool are years ahead of us in terms of their recent projects and that we are still in the very early stages of a rebuild with a lot of our new signings not even starting a game yet.

These are exciting times at the Emirates and whilst the next couple of results will be important, they will not define our season or our future and we should not let a poor result diminish the positive feeling around the club. Let’s keep it upbeat and get behind this young, talented squad.

fatgingergooner

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EPL Top 6 positions up for grabs – who’ll finish where?

March 17, 2019

The placement of the top six clubs in the Premier League looks like it will go right down to the last game of the season.

Top six standings as of March 11th

Lets take a look at where the teams stand with only eight games left to play (Chelsea still have nine but play today).

The top two positions look to be contested between Manchester City and Liverpool – will Liverpool finally win their nineteenth league title and their first Premier League Championship or will holders Manchester City win their sixth league title (4th since the oil money came in) ?

In the reverse fixtures this season Manchester City beat Manchester United and Tottenham but lost to Crystal Palace and Leicester City gaining 18 out of 24 points. Liverpool won 7 out of the 8 games and drew with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge gaining 21 out of 24 points.

Liverpool has the advantage of playing Tottenham and Chelsea in front of their home supporters at Anfield while Manchester City has the distinct disadvantage of playing Manchester United at Old Trafford.

My best guess is that Liverpool will hold their nerve and win their first Premier League Championship, though with both teams in the Champions League q/fs, European distractions may play a part.

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The third through sixth positions are between Spurs, Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea and the four teams are separated by only four points with their final placement in complete doubt.

Let’s look at the teams individually.

Tottenham:

In their reverse fixtures this season they won 6 of the 8 games but lost at home to both Liverpool and Manchester City gaining 18 out of 24 points.

In their last 4 games Tottenham have picked up only 1 point, drawing with Arsenal and losing to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton. In their last 8 games they will have to face both Liverpool and Manchester City in away fixtures.

(Update : the Champions League may not distract them for too much longer unfortunately)

Arsenal:

Arsenal won 5 of their reverse fixtures while drawing with Wolves, Crystal Palace and Brighton gaining 18 out of the 24 points.

They have finished all of their games against the top 6 teams which should give them a big advantage in the race for the top 4 positions.

Emery and Podgytino in their Spanish days

Manchester United:

Manchester United won 4 of their reverse games but drew with Wolves and Chelsea while losing to Manchester City and West Ham gaining only 14 of the 24 points.

They have been revitalised by new management and in their last 13 league games they have won 10 drawn 2 and lost just 1 to Arsenal at the Emirates. Their final place in the PL will most likely be determined by the results in their homes games against Manchester City and Chelsea.

(Update : they’ll be pleased they can concentrate on the League – now that the FA Cup is out of the way! But still have Barca to negotiate in the CL.)

Chelsea:

In their reverse fixtures Chelsea won 4 and but drew with Everton, West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester United while losing to Leicester and only picking up a low 12 out of 27 points.

In their final 9 league games they have 5 very tough away games at Everton, Cardiff City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Leicester.

Getty Images

As I look at the potential final 3rd through 6th positions it’s conceivable that all four teams can finish with the same amount of points. I know that everything can change with one result but based on the above thoughts and statistics I will go out on a limb and say that they will finish in these positions.

3rd Arsenal, 4th Manchester United, 5th Tottenham and 6th Chelsea.

What are your thoughts?

GunnerN5


What does the club you most dislike say about you?

February 5, 2019

Every supporter of every club has the local derby thing, so as Gunners, let’s remove the Totnum lot from the discussion.

In most people’s sights are the team that were our closest rivals during the few periods in our history that we were the dominant club.  Therefore I’m sure back 1934 there were a few Sunderland haters 🙂

We can probably pin you down by your age. Leeds Haters: you’re 60+ aren’t you? I could go on. Through to Pool, then on to the United lot, but you get my drift.

More recently, we have the oil money haters. I’m always a little uneasy about this group of two as you open an ethical can of worms that goes down the rabbit hole of sponsors/owners etc, and simply that we, The Arsenal, are a major part of the whole obscene money merry-go-round.

Ok, that’s about it for a quick conversation starter. What I’d love to unearth is an Arsenal fan who hates a Grimsby or Bolton with every fibre in their body 🙂

Mickydidit89

Our away record against Liverpool

December 28, 2018

Early Liverpool

The origins of the city of Liverpool date back to 1207, when King John issued letters patent advertising the establishment of a new borough – ‘Livpul’. Soon after, in 1235, the building of Liverpool Castle was completed. This stood on the spot where the Victoria monument now is (on the aptly named Castle Street) and was removed in 1726.

In its early days, Liverpool comprised of just seven streets, which are all still there today – Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street). It would remain a relatively small and unimportant city until its rise to prominence in the 18th century as part of the booming transatlantic trade.

In 1715 the first ever commercial wet dock was completed in Liverpool on the River Mersey, originally known as Thomas Steer’s Dock. The dock accommodated up to 100 ships and was originally a tidal basin accessed directly from the river, and by 1737 via Canning Dock.

In July 2004 Liverpool received the UNESCO World Heritage accolade after a bid centred on Liverpool as a Maritime Mercantile city, reflecting the significance of the city as a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence.

The World Heritage Site stretches along the waterfront from Albert Dock, through the Pier Head, up to Stanley Dock and through the commercial districts, such as the Ropewalks area, to St George’s Hall.

Liverpool FC’s origins lie with their neighbours Everton. Founded in 1878, Everton moved to Anfield in 1884, a facility owned by the club’s president, John Houlding, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. In 1892 a dispute arose between Houlding and the Everton board of directors, over the club’s tenancy of the ground. The annual rent had risen from £100 in 1884 to £250 in 1892; Houlding wanted to sell the ground to the club, which in turn wished to agree a long-term rental. Houlding would only agree to this on the basis of a rent at a level unacceptable to the club. Negotiations having failed, the directors decided to leave Anfield and find another ground, leaving Houlding with an empty stadium. His response was to form a new football club to occupy the stadium. He attempted to retain the team name “Everton” by registering the name “Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited” with Companies House, but the Football League decided that the name belonged to the departed Everton club, which acquired new premises at Goodison Park. Houlding therefore adopted the name “Liverpool Football Club” for his new venture.

Our away record against Liverpool is less than stellar. Our last win was on September 2nd 2012. In the EPL era we have only won 6 league games in 26 attempts, and our overall league record including stands at 24 wins in 94 games.

Our last game was a 4-0 thrashing, am I confident? – not in the least.

Liverpool are this week’s Champions Elect what with City floundering.

Since Liverpool last won the League title, we’ve won up at Anfield 7 times in the top flight (once in the old First Division and 6 times in the Prem) plus victories in both the FA Cup and the League Cup.

There’s always hope when 22 men stand over a pig’s bladder in the middle of a field. Who knows, tomorrow could be our day!

GunnerN5


Was Leno at Fault for Liverpool’s Goal?

November 7, 2018

Following on from a thread about  whether Leno was at fault for the Liverpool goal, this is taken from a comment by our resident Keeper, GIE:

Now on to the goal plus Leno’s general command of the box and I am not so impressed. That said, I think Cech is also not the greatest in this area and we have seen examples on several occasions (one being his debut). Always thought at Chelsea he was well protected by Terry and co in front of him and could stay on his goal line. So yes, Leno is currently our no 1 but I do think he needs to improve that area of his game and he can, given time.

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What would I liked to have seen different on their goal?  Well you only have to watch their keeper in a similar situation in the first half. A similar cross, a similar dive except he fisted it away therefore adding power and it came at Mikhi really quickly, meaning he needed to kill it dead, which he didn’t, and the chance was gone. Compare that to the nicely settled ball Milner had to strike.

This was because Leno tried to catch it, which was not necessarily the worse decision if it had stuck, but I would rather see him either adjust his hands and flick the ball up over onrushing defenders and attackers without deviating the ball’s path or use two strong fists to punch away at speed. What happened was probably a result of indecision; all keeping errors in cross situations are nearly always a result of that. So he needs to work on decision making and he will be fine.

And decisions need to be made later even when the ball is in flight. Now I know I didn’t play at this level but whatever level you play at, you should have the necessary skill/mental capacity to achieve the same result against players of equivalent standard. (One team I used to play against (Haringey Boro) are in the first round of FA Cup this week, they’ve gone up a couple of leagues since I played them).

Take a free kick situation (like the one that led to Van Ducks header) and a high line (I was fond of that too as it gave me the 18 yard box unimpeded). If they put the ball between penalty spot and goal line and in centre of goal, I was coming for it, anywhere else it was the defenders’ and attackers’. Not many players were going to beat me with a header from further out. The only time I’d have to worry about bodies around me is if they floated it up high but even then I’ve got height advantage with arms so as long as I watched the flight and attacked at the highest point it was never going to be an issue.

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Corners are trickier balls that can be whipped in flatter and therefore take height advantage out of the equation. That said, I think as a team we need to change it slightly: if they put a man on the keeper you have to leave him on his own – we tend to put a second man in there, so not only is Leno blocked by one attacker he is also impeded by a defender too. If the opposition, as Watford do, put a second player on the keeper and the defence does likewise,  the GK now has two attackers and two defenders to navigate around.

My view was if they put a man on me, tell the defender to F off and make sure one of the men on the posts pick him up in second phase (if necessary) then I could ignore him, play my normal game. If he blocked my run to the ball, it was easy for officials to see the foul. Also if I ignored him, he wasn’t in my mind when I went to attack ball

written by Gooner In Exile


Pleased with a point from Saturday? Really?

November 6, 2018

So the dust is starting to settle after the Liverpool game and minds are starting to turn to future fixtures which is understandable, but the thing is, I find myself troubled and not quite ready to move on just yet. Apparently, if I believe what I read, we passed a stern test and for that we should all be grateful. Or that seems to be the thrust of the view pushed upon us throughout the “non partisan” media and even more by many of the faithful in Arsenal Blog World.

Well you know what, I don’t feel grateful, I don’t think we passed a “stern test” and I was not happy that we drew. We could have won, we should have won and here is the bit that all the media have been afraid to say and that is – We were the better team.

Klopp mockingly said after the game that Arsenal sent on so many attackers that he was half expecting Bergkamp and Van Persie to make an appearance. The thing is again that we had the option to do that; Emery was able to send on Welbeck and Iwobi and even Ramsey is one of the most attacking midfielders in the league. But what has Klopp got? … ok, it can be argued that Shakiri is on a par with Ramsey but then what? They have no more strikers.

If you go through the teams, player for player, I think that you take far more Arsenal players than Liverpool.

Keepers: I am quite happy with Leno; there certainly was not a huge difference between them. The back line, bear in mind when you think about this, Liverpool had no injuries and were able to field their best 11. I wouldn’t swap our wing backs: Bellerin and Monreal for theirs, would you? I don’t think that Gomez is better than Koscielny and when the media take Van Dyke’s appendage out of their mouths they might see that Holding was every bit as good as the Dutchman on the day.

I don’t believe that anyone would swap any part of our midfield, (Torreira and Xhaka) for theirs, so that is over quickly and then we get to the attack. Mane for Ozil, err no, as good as Mane is, that is not a good swap. Firmino for Lacazette? No. And so we get to what is the one change anyone would make: Salah for Mkhitaryan. So that is just one change and we should remember that one blow to Salah at the wrong time and they could find themselves losing a very important game, oh wait, that already happened last season, shame.

So where did this idea come from that we were the underdogs at the start of that game and we should be grateful for our draw? I suppose fools like Merson fuelled this idea by predicting that Arsenal could get whooped 3-0 if Liverpool were on their game. The thing is, Paul, some of us had been watching Arsenal’s recent games and had seen with our own eyes how we have steadily improved and just how far we have risen since our unlucky loss against Chelsea.

Liverpool have been lauded by so many as the only true rivals to Man City and by that count above they only have one better player than we do and it is that fact which finds me taking issue with the idea that we should be both grateful for and content with the draw. Well, I am not grateful and I am not content, I am damn right furious that we, The Arsenal, the better team, did not win.

COYRRG

LB


Liverpool. A stern test.

November 3, 2018

Stevie Me, Small Head Carragher, Thicko Rush, Dirty Souness, Thunderbird Hansen, Biter Suarez, Steve One Minute, Fatboy Molby, Idiot Lawrenson, Big Nose Thompson, Steve Boring Macnanaman. What unites them? Yes, they are all Liverpool greats but they are also media darlings and Complete Lemons to a man.

Since the 80’s  Liverpool F.C’s is a history littered with broken dreams allied to the occasional banana skin, and the odd phenomenally lucky Cup victory. However, prior to “The Fall”, the Dippers were the best there was and I think we can date their demise back to May 26 1989.

No-one expected us to win that day and no pundits expect us to win this evening. Can Arsenal prove them wrong?

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Under  Klopp (who really should be managing AFC) they are playing lovely football and sans City, would be likely title winners. But we aren’t sans City and Liverpool, having spent an absolute fortune, will (IMO) remain also-rans.

I know a number of Danish chaps (saddos) who have YNWA tattooed somewhere on their body, such is their devotion. Liverpool have probably the largest foreign support of any team apart from MU and Barca. They are a massive club and finally appear to be matching performance to promise.

Klopp has created a wonderful team with quality in every area of the pitch. He has spent a fortune on defence, midfield and attack but without Klopp’s coaching genius L’pool would be another MU. And the massive difference between those two Northern giants is the demeanor of their managers which sums up the current state of both MU and L’pool.

Can our weakened and out-of-form defence stop the “best front three in the PL”? I doubt it. We have conceded 13 goals in the PL and are likely to ship more. this afternoon.

Can we score against a defence who have conceded just 4 PL goals this season? Yes we can.

If we start as we have been the game will be lost by half time, yet Emery cannot PTB and hope to score on the break …. actually he can, and that would be my tactics for the first 20 minutes!

My Team.

Bent

Hector   Greek Bloke   Holding    Kolasinac/Monreal

Ramsey  Terrier   Xhaka   Iwobi

Ozil

Lacazette

Yes, PEA on the bench. Unleash the Gabonese Goalgetter on 60 minutes. The team doesn’t, as yet, function with him out on the left and Mr Emery doesn’t seem to want him leading the line with Laca anywhere but central.

Iwobi will be important, he will need to cover his full back and be in place to attack down the wings.

Ozil??? If he turns up we have a chance, if not …

Mustafi has to be rested and instructed in the art of defending. His mistake at Palace was that of a player lacking in common sense; who dives into a tackle in the penalty area with a referee as whistle- happy as that comedian?

If we see Xhaka walk out to play at Left Back then we are screwed, Salah and Mane are much more dangerous than Zaha. I would prefer us to play Holding and go 3 at the back.

Bent has done enough to take Helmet’s first choice place as GK.

Are you confident we can win or even draw today? If so, you are a better man than I. If we continue our unbeaten run my confidence in the team and especially Mr Emery will soar.

That’s enough from me. Enjoy the game

COYRRG