A win at Anfield tonight won’t put Arsenal back in the title race

If we beat Liverpool at Anfield tonight it won’t put us back in the title race because we were never out of it in the first place.

Since our boys lost to Chelsea and fell 11 points behind the league leaders they have collected one point from the last two games. A week ago they lost their third game of the season away to Manchester City and last night they drew 3-3 with 15th place Everton. Arsene Wenger said following our loss to Chelsea that the Blues would drop points and just a week later he has been proved right.

Meanwhile Manchester United also lost their third game of the season and first at home, falling 1-0 to Aston Villa at Old Trafford. We sit just six points behind last year’s champions but with two games in hand and a superior goal difference, that gap could close very quickly. Villa, meanwhile, have snuck into third place on the table off the back of an impressive run of results.

The complexion of the Arsenal v Liverpool game has changed off the back of last night’s result. At the start of the weekend Arsene Wenger and his men would have expected Chelsea and Manchester United to take maximum points at home and had they done so the goal would have been for Arsenal to keep pace with the leaders by matching their results.

The advantage is that instead of still desperately needing a win to stay in touch with Chelsea and United, yesterday’s results will mean that a draw at Anfield will be viewed as a positive result. Not that we can’t win it of course.

Our problem going into the Liverpool game remains a lack of power in the front three although that could given a boost by the return of Abou Diaby. It remains to be seen whether the Frenchman is fully match-fit but I’d be tempted to throw him in as an auxiliary centre-forward with Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner and Eduardo all out and height a scarce commodity.

Other options are Andrey Arshavin who scored four goals in this fixture last season, Theo Walcott, Carlos Vela, Samir Nasri or Emmanuel Eboue. How Wenger balances these options will largely determine whether we can get the goals we need to win.

Further afield our options are good. Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Denilson should start in Wenger’s ideal midfield setup while the back five of Manuel Almunia, Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen and Armand Traore have played the past few games together. Vermaelen and Gallas are much more suited to combating the Fernando Torres’ of the world than the Didier Drogbas while it will be interesting to see the performance of Denilson as he takes on the role of shadowing Steven Gerrard.

It feels like forever since we won at Anfield and I would absolutely love to see that change today. We’re not as strong as we could be up front, yet that shouldn’t prevent our first-choice midfield from dominating the game as they have done so many times in the past. Likewise defensively we look strong and there’s nothing to suggest that we can’t come away from Liverpool with at least a point.

Anything more would be a most welcome bonus but whatever the result, we’ll still be in the title race.

Have your say on Arsenal’s big clash with Liverpool by leaving a comment.

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50 Responses to “A win at Anfield tonight won’t put Arsenal back in the title race”

  1. Cleture
    December 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    You there my brother.

  2. arsenal boy
    December 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    Great news. I’m looking forward to the game. Arsenal have nothing to lose to lose so i would like to see them go all out for the win!

  3. Medeski
    December 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    I’m worried about denilson.

  4. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Ha ha, Andrew, you caught me out with the headline. The steam was already coming out of my ears as I clicked to read on and as usual you are a hundred percent right. I’ve stated before that I don’t think we’ll win the Prem – but that’s just my assessment – it doesn’t mean we won’t win it and, as you say, we’ve never been out of the race even after the ‘orrible Chelski ‘ammering.
    We just need a good defensive display against L’piddle to win because we will score. I’d be tempted to play Fabianski instead of Almunia but then I don’t really know where we are with our goalies anymore. I was saying we should get rid of Fabianski 6 months ago. Walcott must start and I’d be tempted to start with Vela too. I think he’s got a goal due. My one quibble with your assessment is of course Diaby – as a centre forward!!?? He can’t head the ball and he can only ever find the net when the defence has already given up the cause. No…no…no…

  5. arsenalroc
    December 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    spot on!
    diaby cf would be a good idea… imagine him playing a heskey kinda role… with arh and theo feeding off him… here is hoping for an open game and 3-1 scoreline!

  6. PSL
    December 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    United have lost 4 (Burnley, Pool, Chelsea and Villa) and drawn 1 (Sunderland).. Same as us.. If we win our 2 games in hand we’ll be level with United and 3 points off Chelsea..

  7. kalemba hassan
    December 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    no comment as regards the arsenal vs liverpool game-since chelsea and manunited all dropped points,i believe it will give the guns aquestion to answer-can we close the gap?

  8. Hey Nonny Mouse
    December 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Forgot to add that manure. like us, have now lost 4 games this year – not 3.

    If any team is going to break into the top 4 this season it’s going to be Villa who are really the only one of the ‘also rans’ who have built on their success from last season. And they lost Gareth Barry (who I wanted Arsene to buy). Kudos to them because they’re a very good, hard working as well as talented outfit and Martin O’Neil’s done it without the big spending of the other contenders. We’re due to play them shortly.

    Will fat b*stard Rooney be pilloried in the press for his attempt to deny Villa a win by cheating a penalty? Will he f*ck.

  9. Old Timer
    December 13, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    I’ve nothing against Rafa Benitiez personally, I actually feel he’s one of the nicer personalities in football management (which may be his problem) but if we are the team to put another nail in Rafa’s coffin then so be it. Some Liverpool supporters may be silently hoping for it. The fact is we owe Liverpool a hurt for that Champions League exit a couple of seasons ago and now, while they’re down, is the best time to put the boot in. It’s time for Liverpool to feel the pain – and the Gunners to get the gain.

  10. T.I
    December 13, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Well U lose, Draw, Win. So no cause 4 alarm.

  11. Shard
    December 13, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    I’m really looking forward to this game. It won’t be easy but we can win for sure. Arshavin to score a brace? i’ve got a feeling. Got to stop Torres though

    Did anybody think that Chelsea’s defending yesterday seemed worse than ours.I would have been very nervous if i were(God forbid) a chelsea fan.
    Also, where’s the stream of abuse for Rooney? The bias started right then with the commentator on sky (who was it?) though he was forced to render an apology after half time..probably by his producer.certainly not by his conscience.

  12. Kurupt07
    December 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Emmanuel Eboue out Dudu maybe in. GO GUNNERS 2-1

  13. Ianinja
    December 13, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    The point is not about whether Chelsea lose points, the point is we should be winning games and destroying every team with aggression and brutality BRUAHAHAHHAHHA!!!heh…

  14. radads
    December 13, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Good post Andy, a win would be always the best option and i see it strongly possible.see you after the game.

  15. utch
    December 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    With man u and Chelsea loses we shouldn’t be under so much pressure.All we have to do is take that advantage to close the gap.We’re still very much in contention.

  16. Rocking Guns
    December 14, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    I disagree with you Andy 100 percent!
    Arsenal can still win the title!Even Arsenal lost precious points against Sunderland and Chelsea.That does’nt mean Arsenals title race is all over.Arsenal have scored tons of goals this season. If Arsenal could only repeat does days than maybe this season is ours!(This maybe sound annoying an impossible to all of you but keep believing and be a true Arsenal Fan).

  17. georgetown gooner
    December 14, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    lets just make sure we convert any chances we create today,take advantage of the points dropped by the others yesterday and take 3pts at anfield.be back after the game.COME ON ARSENAL!!!!!

  18. Rocking Guns
    December 14, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    Come on,Chelsea lost points against Everton yesterday.Man Utd was beaten by In Form Aston villa.Arsenals title race is still on if we beat Liverpool tonight!

  19. Rocking Guns
    December 14, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    The truth is my dad is a liverpool fan.If Arsenal win today,lets just say…Rest In Peace for me!hahaha

  20. TX-Gunner
    December 14, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    Why there is no headline for Rooney’s dive? Oooohhh…. He is the most honest footballer in EPL….. Just a mistake, he didn’t ask for penalty when he look at the ref?? British’s mombo jombo again??

  21. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    Cant see your boys getting 3 or 1 point. Arshave will not be able to find any space. If e gets one chance he must must must score. I dont think the boys are strong enough to compete in the middle of the park. 2-0 to liverpool. Hope im wrong though. Sorry all. Walcott needs a big game today. Den not quite good enough. Diaby is the man for the job.

  22. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 2:40 am #

    Tx-gunner, it was not even spoken about on MOTD.

  23. sombello
    December 14, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    I seriously doubt Arsenal will win tonight.Arshavin is an overrated player. He can’t pass the ball and can’t defend. He’s just plain lucky with the goals that he had scored so far.The same goes for Denilson. I can’t understand what Arsene sees in him. Such a softie and slow coach.

  24. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 2:46 am #

    Sorry boys, shamb’s could you see it coming? Den is not quite good enough yet. Arshavin is not getting the ball. Arsene has to change things around some how and Song needs help in the middle. Fabs and Walcott are also to quiet.

  25. radads
    December 14, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    We didnt even get 1 single good shot on target AS USUAL, DENI AND NASRI NEED TO BE OUT.These are our weakest link on the field.Song is fighting alone,if wenger dont act now we will loose today.

  26. billi
    December 14, 2009 at 2:56 am #

    no, you can’t win anything with such goal-keeper mistakes, I have to agree with the criticizers, sorry, it’s really not the first time that such a thing happens!! 😕

  27. MoMONEY
    December 14, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    A world-class non-cup-tied Striker?

    David Villa anyone? We have been linked in a few places…

    I am more than in support of that move. And I would be more than willing to sell one of our strikers to do it. Most likely would be Eduardo/Bendtner and though I like both players- the prospect of having Villa and RVP up front is mouth watering

  28. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    The boys are ready for the second half. If there are no changes and the boys dont come out smoaking in the first 10min its all over, prem and all. Good luck to you all.

  29. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    MoMoney,If Villa ever ended up at yr club, i would change allegiance, if thats how you spell it. Can any one correct it.

  30. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 3:10 am #

    own goal, bit of luck needed. Now push on boys, dont start defending.

  31. C-Bass
    December 14, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    ARSHAVIN!!!!!!

  32. C-Bass
    December 14, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    God I love that little Russian!

  33. MoMONEY
    December 14, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    Ill tell you what I really like Traore. Confident back there. Tbh I think he may be just as good as Gibbs

  34. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    humble pie has already been eaten. Well played yr boys. Shame about Arshav injury. Maybe Diaby will need to play with the no.9 shirt.

  35. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 4:08 am #

    Mo, all Traore needs is games under his belt. He is stronger quicker and older. Good problem for Wenger though.

  36. billi
    December 14, 2009 at 4:08 am #

    o.k. , fortunatelly they prooved me wrong, I love Shavas killer willingness, and his tendancy to create something impossible, his goal was incredible once more, then I have to say they won with the help of Liverpool, I think a draw would have been more justice in this game but over the whole season it was quite justice that they won, hope you can understand what I mean, it was a bit lucky but they have lost sometimes a bit unlucky too, so it was deserved, and the second half has been quite better for Arsenal, no wonder, after that own goal, but they looked much more determined from the beginning of the second half, and I pray that Shava isn’t injured, it looked quite painful when he shot his last effort of the game…….. :D, in the end I felt a bit sorry for Liverpool don’t mind me 😉

  37. rilub
    December 14, 2009 at 4:09 am #

    WHAT A FIGGT BACK LLADSSS WELLL DONE I LOVE YOU

  38. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 4:15 am #

    whats a figgt back rilub

  39. Old Timer
    December 14, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    Oh dear, ‘sombello’ up there looks a right tit with his Arshavin comment now doesn’t he?

    MOM – Song. Again. Where would we be without this guy? Outstanding.

  40. billi
    December 14, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    I can’t judge single players, but I had the impression too, that Song is the only one who keeps his nerves when it’s becoming hectically and everybody’s nervous

  41. Oleg
    December 14, 2009 at 4:24 am #

    it’s nothing but another luck. ask sombello, sombello knows better.

  42. MoMONEY
    December 14, 2009 at 4:41 am #

    Worried about Arshavin injury. We cant afford that.

    Vermaelen came out and said that Wenger came out and went crazy at halftime. You could definitely see the difference in the players. They had that “whatever it takes” attitude that is needed to win these type of games.

    @icehammer- yes i think he just needs some experience but I really like the kid. Never backs down from anyone and confident with the ball. I like Traore

  43. theicehammer
    December 14, 2009 at 4:58 am #

    some time ago Shambo was prepared to give him to us for Paul Parker. I watch some of him @ undr 16 at academy and thougt e was special then. If e was english he would be no.2. left back for you.

  44. sa gunnar
    December 14, 2009 at 5:21 am #

    At the end of the day,it’s a win that wasn’t convincing to the eye I desperately wanted arsenal to score another(killer goal) so that they will remember this game and wouldn’t b n afraid of the big 3 again.Defending was a concern in the first half, but manage to escape with just one goal concede,but really alumnia and denilson must start living to exceptation of what is required in a game with consistent higher than average performances. Striking need to get up and running, also the forward line should start challenging for the ball when been pass in the box, it’s seem such n waste when they make the defenders look so gud.Overall arsenal win over n dry and running out of ideas liverpool will give momentum for next matches to come.

  45. sa gunnar
    December 14, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    fingers cross for injuries against arshavin and troare not to be serious.

  46. GetGunMN
    December 14, 2009 at 5:58 am #

    Don’t be crestfallen guys. This is the kind of determined performance and winning ugly is all about. We can’t have it both ways. Enjoy this until the next game as each game presents its own challenges. Liverpool is always ready to play against us. Pushing up the field and running at our defenders. They may even have a shout for a penalty, but when it is your day, it is your day!

    @theicehammer, I know you’re Hammer’s fan, but this blog is not really the place to predict by how much Arsenal loses. A little bit courtesy, please!

  47. Andy @ Arsenal FC Blog
    December 14, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Ah, the satisfaction of winning a hard-fought contest. Brilliant.

  48. C-Bass
    December 14, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    I thought Song was poor offensively in the first half with several giveaways. He however never waivers defensively which is exactly what we need.

    Speaking of defense Verm and Gallas were solid. Traore was very good. I hope he’s fine. Almunia was absolutely awful. Flapping at everything.

    Wenger get us a striker to fill in and I am praying Arshavin isn’t out long.

  49. radads
    December 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Well done to our Boys, a good pression from Walcott to force Glen Johnson for an Own goal, (I actually loved his pace when he cut through that field to the median axe from the wing) and a fantastic Arshavin Goal.
    Song and the back 4 along with Cesc, Arsha, Theo really worked their socks off.Yet,Im not very convinced with Deni, I still dont understand what is his job on the pitch??? Is he an attack support or defence support?Of course he intercepted lots of balls from Lucas and Mascherano yesterday but yet I didnt see him supporting the attack.As for the defence side, he was too lazy to run back to help the guys under pressed by a very pacey Liverpool attack,I only saw him few times contributing to help for defence acting as if he was an attacking midflder or a winger, and even Nasri could run back to help and many times gets there before him.
    Beleive it or not guys, thats the Denilson i have always known, thats his consistent form and quality, and I dont really see it effective in our game.

  50. Gooner365
    December 14, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    som bello… what were you saying about Arshavin being “overrated, lucky, can’t pass?”

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