Liverpool the biggest test of the season so far

Liverpool the biggest test of the season so far

Arsenal will face a ‘big four’ opponent for the first time this season when they travel to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side struggling for form but stacked with quality players.

It will be the first of two big tests within a week, with Arsene Wenger’s side having to follow up the tricky away game against Liverpool with an even tougher task, against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium. Manchester United regained the lead at the top of the Premier League table after comfortably beating Middlesbrough 4-1 overnight but Wenger’s side will steal it back if they get a result at Anfield.

Wenger will not underestimate LiverpoolLogic says that Arsenal should start favourites; they have been in great form this season, unbeaten in all competitions and on a run of twelve successive wins. On the other hand, Liverpool have stuttered their way through the early stages of the Premiership and are coming off another disappointing performance in the Champions League, this time losing 2-1 away to Turkish side Besiktas. Liverpool will pose as difficult a threat as Arsenal have faced all season and despite the fact that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger seems well aware of this, he has also pointed to his side’s record last season as evidence that they will be up to the challenge.

“Playing a big side is the last question mark against this side. I feel that if we repeat our record against the big teams from last year then we will be very difficult to beat. That’s the challenge we face now.”

Last season Arsenal performed very well against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool but it should also be noted that the only fixture in which they lost against those sides was at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1 on the day, with Peter Crouch scoring a hat-trick, and Wenger only needs to remind his players of that result to emphasise just how difficult a game this could turn out to be.

Liverpool’s biggest problem so far has been maintaining consistency and I strongly believe this has been down to Rafa Benitez’s overelaborate rotation policy. When you look at the firepower they have up front in Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel, Andriy Voronin, Dirk Kuyt as well as last season’s hero Crouch, you can see how much potential they have. But Benitez’s insistance to rotate the team has meant that no two strikers know each other’s game inside and out and subsequently Liverpool have been unable to fulfill their potential thus far. Even the rotation in the midfield has meant that no players have been given enough time to establish themselves in the side and play their way into form.

Walcott could provide the spark against LiverpoolConsistency versus rotation

Wenger’s policy of generally continuing with a winning team has meant that Arsenal have been able to do this. Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor have formed a good partnership up front, Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini have done the same in midfield, and Tomas Rosicky and Alexander Hleb’s are certain starters when fit. When injuries have occurred, players like Eduardo da Silva, Abou Diaby and lately, Theo Walcott have ensured that the rhythm in the side has remained largely undisturbed.

What all this essentially means is that predicting a result in the Arsenal-Liverpool game will be exceptionally difficult. If Benitez plays his best side then I really feel that they have the ability to beat Arsenal, but if he continues with the policy then I would expect Wenger’s side to at least draw or perhaps snatch a win. I feel that Arsenal’s big advantage over Liverpool is the fact that if that if they are stifled by the home side’s defensive approach then Wenger has enough variety on the bench to find a way through to goal.

It will be interesting to see who starts up front for Arsenal in the absence of van Persie. Walcott had a strong game against Slavia Prague midweek and is probably favourite to start, but I wouldn’t be unhappy to see Eduardo handed a start. He’s still a relative unknown in England, so the unpredictability factor is there, and I just feel his poaching instincts could come in handy against a Liverpool side that values watertight defending over free-flowing attacking.

In my mind, this is the biggest game of the season so far for Arsenal because of the status of the opponent and the timing of the fixture. Everybody has been talking about the fact that Wenger’s side are yet to face a ‘big four’ opponent and I’m sure the players are well aware of this. While a loss away to Liverpool would be no disgrace a win would give the players the psychological boost they might need to follow up against Manchester United a week later and beat them at the Emirates. This would extend Arsenal’s lead at the top to five points, still with a game in hand. On the flip-side, a loss against Liverpool could very quickly turn into second poor result against Manchester United and the good start to the season could be lost in a very short space of time.

I really think a lot will be learned about Arsenal’s title credentials today. I’m dreaming of a win, but I think a draw is a more realistic option. If Wenger’s side can go to Anfield and get three points it will say a lot about this side’s potential. The reality is that there aren’t many more tougher fixtures then an away match against Liverpool, regardless of their form. I think this is going to be really tight and I’m actually tipping a 0-0, but I also really feel that if any side is going to win it it’s going to be Arsenal. I’d love to see Eduardo grab the headlines with a winner in a tight match but I can tell you right now, I won’t care who scores the winner as long as Arsenal win the game. Wherever you’re watching this one, enjoy it because it should be an absolute cracker.

What do you think?

Have your say on the big clash with Liverpool by leaving a comment.

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21 Responses to “Liverpool the biggest test of the season so far”

  1. dave
    October 28, 2007 at 7:18 pm #

    you say you’d like to see arsenal win with an eduardo winner but the rest of the football watching world wants to see those overrated, jumped-up, petutulant arsenal spades get thrashed and for that stroppy little twatt fabregas to shatter his right leg in a thousand places.

  2. Tubes
    October 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm #

    good comment dave! how long did it take to come up with that?

  3. Le Gunner
    October 28, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Tubes Don’t get angry Its sad people like Dave STUPID exist (bitter and twist). can see he is suffering inside and he’ll suffer some more if we win today. Anyway we shouldn’t waist time on idiots like him. Footballing wise we shouldn’t struggle it’s a matter of mental toughness and whether the players can cope with the pressure they know all eyes are on them today. Specially the critics and those who wants Arsenal to fail. If we see off the aerial threat we should be OK today. Come on Arsenal

  4. Keysy
    October 29, 2007 at 12:29 am #

    With van Persie I would have said Arsenal could have taken this home. I agree with the above; a 0-0 or 1-1 game is probably on the cards with two teams with arguably some of the best defense in the league.

    I just hope it doesn’t turn out like another Man U v Chelsea style game where they sit back and don’t play the beautiful football we’re used to from both sides.

    If Walcott is in I want to see a goal, or at least an assist. Eduardo could be the surprise factor but it’s always risky putting someone relatively new up against the big four teams, you never know how they’ll cope with the mental pressure. Lets hope he handles it well.

  5. Andrew
    October 29, 2007 at 2:11 am #

    I’m really interested in Rafa’s tactics for this one. By playing 3 strikers, he’s attempting to keep Clichy and Sagna in their own half. Three central midfielders minimize Gerrard’s headless chicken impersonations, which I thought would give the Arsenal midfield loads of space. Should be a good match.

  6. Andrew
    October 29, 2007 at 2:11 am #

    Dammit.

  7. ColonelMarquand
    October 29, 2007 at 2:43 am #

    Take Ade and Eboue off and bring on Theo and Nikklass otherwise I just can’t see Arsenal scoring.

  8. ColonelMarquand
    October 29, 2007 at 3:55 am #

    Theo and Nikklass should have come on earlier, had they done then I think we could have won.

  9. tunde
    October 29, 2007 at 5:13 am #

    atleast we tried and i am impressed!

  10. Spanish Fry
    October 29, 2007 at 10:52 am #

    Fellas, don’t get roped into arguing battles with supporters who are just stirring. If they bring nothing to the blog their comments will be deleted and they will be banned from commenting in the future. As for the game against Liverpool, I think it was a good performance and a satisfactory result. More to come soon…

  11. Le Gunner
    October 29, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    SF. there is nothing contructive about’s Dave’s Idiotic commment. Not nice. It would be better if you delete it. Anyway It was a good game.Liverpool played on counter attack.sometimes they defended with 10 men It just shows how terrified they were of Arsenal’s passing.They worked Their socks off to get the draw. It’s a sahme we didn’t do the basic thing in football, build a solid wall.Our finishing let us down at times. Other than that we played really wellI believe we should have taken all 3 points.the presence of Bendtner and Walcott rattled them in the end.The other good news, No injuries.and the most important thing for me is that we showed again we can fight to death. No room for errors next weekend.

  12. Spanish Fry
    October 29, 2007 at 12:21 pm #

    Agreed. The only reason I left it in was to give Tubes and your comments some context. Please – no insults though. I think we have a really nice little community here and I like hearing the intelligent things that readers have to say.

  13. Ronaldo7
    October 29, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    2 inform sides to face off next week….Man united in white hot form…arsenal looking crsip….i hope we see a few goals in this game….my tip united 2 arsenal 1 … goals from ronaldo and rooney….arsenal goal from hleb..

  14. Ronaldo7
    October 29, 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    dam im exited about this game….just the stars that are on show and the attacking ability of both sides….will enjoy the battle of fabregas with Hargreves ….. see if flamini can stifle the accurate passing of anderson….how united will cope with Ade this time round….Clichy marking up against ronaldo…id say giggs will start ahead of nani…i hope evra plays cause i can see oshea struggling…..will love the battle of the work horses (Toure, Rooney and Tevez)..

  15. Anonymous
    October 29, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    We should have won today.

  16. ramugooner
    October 29, 2007 at 1:32 pm #

    @ Ronaldo 7
    I predict 3-1 for arsenal next week. Ronaldo cannot perform against good defense, so clichy will not give him chance. Giggs is a old bastard and Sagna can easily mark him.. he is the best rightback in premiership. Rooney will pick an early card and he will be quiet. Tevez, I like the guy but he was shit against arsenal defense playing for westham although we lost both games…so i don’t fear him too. Hargreaves, anderson are no match against in-form fabregas and flamini. I can’t wait to see arsenal midfield dominating the game and back in winning ways.
    You will taste arsenal football.

  17. Spanish Fry
    October 29, 2007 at 1:34 pm #

    Whoever “Anonymous” is, he’s so right.

  18. ramugooner
    October 29, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    Anonymous is ramugooner for life.

  19. Ronaldo7
    October 29, 2007 at 2:15 pm #

    ramugooner : talk it up

    uve been living with the fairys

  20. ArsenalKenya
    October 29, 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    It’s true Adebayor and Rosicky were not at their best in the Pool game. I saw Sir alex Fergusson in the stands watching our game and he should prepare for a game of football on saturday. The young guns will win this game and Bendter should start with Adebayor. Rosicky and Hleb should be on the wings. My best team for that game will be

    Almunia

    Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

    Rosicky, Cesc, Flamini, Hleb

    Bendter, Adebayor

    Subs; Walcott, Diarra, Lehmann, Gilberto, Diaby.

    Again lehmann will be on the bench and may be he won’t even feature in our Carling Cup game against Sheffield Utd.

    Good work from Fabregas in the Pool game.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. www.soccersecrets.info » Liverpool the biggest test of the season so far - October 29, 2007

    […] Spanish Fry placed an observative post today on Liverpool the biggest test of the season so far.Here’s a quick excerpt:It will be the first of two big tests within a week, with Arsene Wenger’s side having to follow up the tricky away game against Liverpool with an even tougher task, against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium. … […]

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