Arsenal made amends for the opening loss to local rivals West Ham, but they need to defeat top 4 rivals Liverpool as well if they are to stay close to the top of the standings. The Reds are currently one of four teams with maximum points and they probably wouldn’t mind a third successive 1-0 triumph.
Even if assault on the Premier League title is the number one objective this season, Arsene Wenger has yet to properly strengthen his squad, with Petr Cech the only notable arrival up to date. The Frenchman recently hinted he could make few more signings in the closing stages of the summer transfer window, but nobody knows why he has waited so long or whether he will actually fulfil the promise. Meanwhile, the Gunners have had a slow start to the new season, defeating Chelsea in the Community Shield, but failing to impress in the first two Premier League fixtures, although they at least managed to beat Crystal Palace on the road after they had been shocked by local rivals West Ham in the opening match. The good form of Mesut Ozil and return of Alexis Sanchez are some of the positives at the moment, but Francis Coquelin’s performances could suggest he is suffering from second-season syndrome. Arsenal do need to be on top of their game if they want to see off Liverpool and stay close to their title rivals, and everything suggests Arsene Wenger will name an unchanged starting line-up. The likes of Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky continue to miss out, but at least there are no fresh selection worries for the manager.
After missing out on a top 4 finish by some eight points last term, Liverpool decided to spend heavily in the summer transfer window, with Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke, James Milner, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne all joining their ranks. Meanwhile, the club were unable to get rid of fringe players like Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic, Fabio Borini and Lucas Leiva, and this is something they desperately need to address in the coming days. As far as the start of the new season goes, Liverpool have yet to hit the ground running even if they have won their first two Premier League fixtures, scoring a very late goal to defeat Stoke before winning the AFC Bournemouth game thanks to Christian Benteke’s strike that should have been disallowed. With Brendan Rodgers still searching for his best starting line-up and captain Jordan Henderson rated doubtful for the Arsenal game, Liverpool may struggle to match Arsenal at the Emirates, that is unless they show a massive improvement on their first two performances. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Jon Flanagan are still unable to help their teammates due to injury.
Arsenal did show some improvement in the victory over Crystal Palace and having hammered Liverpool 4-1 in the same fixture last season, we believe another victory is on the cards. The Reds may have won both matches so far, but they have been far from impressive and the possible absence of Jordan Henderson would certainly spoil their plans.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 3/4
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