Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Arsenal and Liverpool show weaknesses on Friday night

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 23 Dec 2017

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The 3-3 thriller between Arsenal and Liverpool on Friday night in the Premier League showed why the two teams are fighting for Champions League spots and not the title. Both teams showed their attacking strengths, brilliant going forward, terrible in defence, which is a very familiar story for fans of both Arsenal and Liverpool.

Looked like they were improving

Ironically, I asked whether Liverpool could keep a clean sheet against Arsenal and continue their recent defensive improvement in yesterday’s editorial. The Gunners had also shown an improvement in defensive areas.

However, the two teams have a common weakness in that they have a tendency to implode defensively when faced with dangerous attacking players.

Granted in Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah the Reds have top attacking talent. However, Arsenal made it very easy for the Liverpool quartet to find the net.

At the other end, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette were in decent form on Friday night. Again, they could cause most defences problems.

However, Liverpool’s defence experienced a defensive collapse that has now become a common occurrence under Jurgen Klopp.

The defensive issues and the problems of cover in front of the defence dog both sides. Fortunately, for both teams, they have such attacking talent. If they did not, then they would be lumbering in midtable.

Not good enough to challenge for the title

It has been a long time since either Arsenal or Liverpool has won an English top-flight title. For Arsenal, it has been 13 years since they last won the title, while Liverpool have failed to win the big trophy in 23 years.

Both clubs wait for the title will be extended in May, unless something extraordinary happens between now and the end of the campaign.

The two clubs are traditional powerhouses of the English game. However, despite supposedly being title contenders for much of the last two decades they have very rarely looked like they could win the Premier League title.

Jurgen Klopp arriving at Liverpool was supposed to be the key to the Reds returning to former glories. However, despite the Reds improving and progressing from the Brendan Rodgers days, they are no nearer to winning the title, which ultimately is the Merseysiders target.

The Arsenal hierarchy and boss Arsene Wenger seem to be happy with just competing for a top-four spot, even if the Arsenal fans are not.

The Gunners have always looked at least a few players short of a title challenge in the last decade and a bit. This season they look light years away from winning the Premier League title.

Who will make the top-four?

With the two Manchester clubs so far ahead and even Chelsea looking to streak clear at the top of the table, it seems that only one Champions League spot will be available.

With Burnley and Tottenham both in touch with the top four, Arsenal and Liverpool are by no means guaranteed a top-six, never mind a top-four spot this season.

Liverpool are the favourites to seal a Champions League spot at odds of 4/7, so Klopp’s side are definitely fancied by the bookmakers to take that all-important fourth spot.

Both Arsenal and Liverpool will always be involved in entertaining games. However, that is because there are often goals at both ends of the pitch. Their games are great for the neutral not great for their chances of winning the big trophies.

Most teams that win the big trophies can defend and can grind out results. Neither side are capable of doing those two things, so neither will be likely Premier League winners in the near future.

Will Liverpool or Arsenal seal fourth spot this season?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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