2nd November 2013
Not many people expected either of the two sides to mount a serious title challenge this term, but nine days into the new season and Arsenal and Liverpool sit in first and third place respectively. Chances are that the outcome of this tie will have a major effect on the teams’ title bids, but I am pretty sure we can rule out a cagey affair at the Emirates nonetheless.
This is without a doubt Arsenal’s most successful start to a Premier League season in recent years and the mere fact they are two points clear at the top speaks volumes about team’s performances in the opening exchanges. Arsene Wenger may have failed to add another striker to the squad this summer, but that seems to have given Olivier Giroud an extra boost of confidence, with the Frenchman largely impressing so far. The first marquee signing in quite a while also proved to be an instant hit, with Mesut Ozil already making Arsenal attack a lot more dangerous. With Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini bossing the midfield, the Gunners seem to have found the right balance in the squad, although the matches against Liverpool and Manchester United are likely to show us whether they really have what it takes to win the Premier League title this term. The Gunners are unlikely to be too concerned by back to back home defeats to Dortmund and Chelsea, although they will give their best to make things right against Liverpool. Chances are that Mathieu Flamini will be sorely missed, while Walcott, Podolski, Chamberlain, Sanogo and Diaby are not yet ready to return.
Unlike Arsenal, Liverpool have failed to make any world-class signings this term, and given that Luis Suarez was set to miss first six matches of the new campaign, the Reds were not even mentioned among the title contenders. Brendan Rodgers’ men started the season with three 1-0 triumphs courtesy of Daniel Sturridge goals, before the setbacks against Swansea and Southampton looked to have taken the wind out of their sails. Nevertheless, as Luis Suarez returned into action, the Reds were quickly back in business, taking ten points from next four matches to climb to third place in the standings. Rodgers’ decision to switch to a 3-5-2 formation has produced very good results, allowing Suarez and Sturridge to establish a lethal partnership up front, while also giving Glen Johnson more freedom to make attacking runs on the right. And even if Liverpool have been unable to patch up the leaky defence, chances are nobody will be worried as long as the likes of Suarez and Sturridge continue their brilliant form. After scoring 6 goals in 4 matches this term, the Uruguayan is 2.38 (11/8) to get on the scoresheet at the Emirates.
With both sides scoring goals for fun at the moment and not really impressing at the back, we could easily see goals galore at the Emirates. While Arsenal won’t be afraid to attack their opponents from the off, Liverpool are likely to prove very dangerous on the break, so over 2.5 goals looks a good option here.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 2/3