Arsenal will be looking to make it seven Premier League wins on the bounce when they host Liverpool and virtually secure a top 4 berth with seven games to go. After losing at home to Manchester United, the Reds are aware that only a victory at the Emirates would keep their Champions League hopes alive.
For the first time after quite a while, Arsenal have managed to turn what looked like a very disappointing season into a potential success, although the Gunners need to continue the rich vein of form for another five or six weeks if they want to have a reason to cheer at the end of the campaign. While suffering a disappointing defeat to Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League tie, Arsenal have been absolutely amazing in other matches that took place after the 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane, winning nine of ten matches in all competitions and each of their last six. With Olivier Giroud bagging goals for fun and both Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil pretty impressive in the creative department, the Gunners are only waiting for Alexis Sanchez to rediscover his form, but they are, nonetheless, in excellent spirits at the moment. The excellent run of results saw them close the gap behind second-placed Manchester City to one point, and while they are unlikely to catch Chelsea at the top, Arsene Wenger’s charges have plenty of motives to extend the winning run against Liverpool. Danny Welbeck should be available despite suffering a knee problem on international duty, but the game comes too soon for Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby.
Liverpool have been just as impressive as their top 4 rivals over the last couple of months, but their promising run of results came to an end in the worst possible time. Namely, the Reds had an opportunity to finally break into the Champions League positions as they needed to defeat rivals Manchester United at Anfield, but their plans went horribly wrong as Brendan Rodgers’ side were not only beaten, but also completely outclassed by the Old Trafford outfit. Steven Gerrard’s last ever derby against Manchester United proved a largely disappointing affair for the Anfield icon as the captain was sent off less than a minute after coming on for Adam Lallana. The veteran midfielder once again left his team out to dry when they needed him the most and is now banned for the Arsenal game, just like Martin Skrtel, who was handed a three-match ban for a stamp on David De Gea. With confidence low at Anfield and the likes of Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge all carrying knocks, Liverpool could find it hard to match red-hot Arsenal at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger should be able to field the same side that have recorded some excellent results of late and no doubt the current league position gives the Gunners an extra edge over the opposition. Liverpool suffered a major blow by losing at home to Manchester United and with key men struggling for fitness, I cannot see them getting something from North London.
Verdict: Home win Arsenal (1)
Best Odds: 5/6
Bookmaker: William Hill