Friday, 7 February 2014

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Match Preview

Even the straight men admire Ollie.

I don't know if the wheels of Liverpool's season are coming off, or if I overestimated them earlier in the season, but either ways it seems like they weren't club they used to be when we faced them in November. I still feel that we were a bit fortunate to win by 2 goals back then, even though our defence was a bit suspect.

However, the team's defence has undoubtedly solidified since then. While Liverpool's defence is certainly not the best, they have a superb SAS partnership to shield those flaws. It's quite the opposite with Arsenal, who have a terrific defence and only a decent defence. The stadium being Anfield makes this match all the more difficult, but I think that we'll come out with three massive points today.

Wenger thinks that the last game's result will give us a morale boost going to Anfield, by saying:

“You always think about the psychological impact of the last result on the morale of the team, as well as the confidence and happiness of everybody. You think the only way to deal with it is to just focus on the next one and win it, then everything will be alright."

If you asked me to choose a victory against Liverpool in the Premier League or in the FA Cup, I'd readily cash in on the cup. A loss at Anfield would hardly be the end of our title hopes; it's only February, for crying out loud! The FA Cup yet remains our only realistic hope for a trophy, which is why I'd prefer a cup win over a league win.

But such is football that Arsenal can win both encounters, which would provide the team a massive fillip ahead of the Bayern Munich task. We really need it, because I'm still unsure that we can beat Manchester United at the Emirates. Liverpool is a winnable game (whether home or away), - and as title contenders, we should hope for nothing less than 3 points today.

I think we'll play with the same lineup that we did against Palace owing to nothing much developing in terms of injuries. I'd hope for Rosicky to be given a start; Ozil should be rested, he will be needed four days later against United. In addition, Tomas had an electrifying game in the reverse fixture, and I think his flair will help us a lot today.

I have great respect for Liverpool. Even though I detest Luis Suarez's personality, I'd be a fool to turn a blind eye to his breathtaking performances. Brendan Rodgers seems like a good manager, and players like Coutinho and Flanagan seem like promising talents. I actually reckon that had a club like Arsenal did not exist, I'd be a Liverpool supporter.

Think about it. They, like us, have been waiting for a major trophy (the Carling Cup barely counts), and have endured more than their fair share of disappointments every season. Steven Gerrard is an individual whose loyalty I respect - one senses that Jack Wilshere can go along the same way with Arsenal. I have long sensed a mutual respect between these two clubs, and it's something that I admire in times of pure loathing among rivals.

However, there is no doubt that I'd be rooting 100% for Arsenal in the coming match. I know that our team is "quality" enough to beat the Mugsmashers, we have an excellent defence and a fairly dangerous attack. Three point is a must, whichever way we get it. Let's hope we do.

#COYG

P.S. Sanogo is fit again. If anyone cares.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )