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- Arsenal v Liverpool: the referee. Sorry Arsenal, there’s no chance.
- Liverpool: why do the referees give so few fouls against them when they tackle?
- Arsenal v Liverpool: Arsenal discover an extra weapon
Only two clubs have won the league more times than Arsenal: Manchester United have 20, and Liverpool 19 titles, while Arsenal have 13. Next in the list are Everton and Manchester City with nine each.
And very few teams have beaten Arsenal more than Arsenal have beaten them. In the case of Liverpool, the numbers are 94 wins for them, and 82 for Arsenal. For Manchester United it is 101 wins for them and 88 for Arsenal – so Arsenal have quite a bit of catching up to do in both cases.
Chelsea, who we know like to see themselves as a big team despite the smallness of their ground have only won the league six times. But Arsenal have beaten them 83 times to their 66 wins against us.
Clearly the pundits like to think that Arsenal have blown any chance of the title with the last three games, just as happened in both January / February last year and then again April.
But there is still almost half a season to play and just five points in it, and although today’s game won’t affect the league title a good win could bring the current dip in form to an end and prepare for a renewed assault on the top of the table – although to be fair it obviously will also need a dip to happen for Liverpool to be overtaken.
So far Liverpool’s slippages have primarily been in the Uefa league where they have lost away to Toulouse and Union St Gilloise. Not that significant, but an indication that they can be beaten. And let us not forget that no one expected Arsenal to win at their ground in 1989.
The Arsenal team talk has been about Oleksandr Zinchenko after he missed the last match with a calf injury. There is also talk of giving Ramsdale the keeper’s jersey.
We also know that Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira, and Jurrien Timber are injured and we have lost Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu to the interruptive international tourneys which Fifa like to put in just to remind us poor saps who pay to watch football, who is really in control.
The Standard considers all this and gives us
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Odegaard, Rice, Havertz;
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
which is really pretty much the first XI of who is available. In that line up Eddie would be ready to pop in if things are not working out.
Three Added Minutes – a site we’ve not pondered before – offers
Kiwior, Gabriel, Saliba, White;
Rice, Ødegaard, Havertz;
thus suggesting that Saka could have a rest, but that Martinelli is being asked to play through his dip in form.
Pain in the Arsenal offer
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior;
Jorginho, Odegaard, Smith Rowe;
Saka, Jesus, Trossard.
which is particularly interesting as that gives Smith Rowe a chance to show he is back on form and fitness.
So it could be any of those, and it looks like a tough game. But let us end with a spot of more positive news. Arsenal have won the FA Cup 14 times – twice more than Manchester United (who are away to Wigan), although United and Arsenal share the most appearances in the final (21). Third in the case of winners is a little gaggle of clubs on eight wins: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and… Liverpool – each of them six wins behind Arsenal.
I’m off to the game now. It seems that getting there is not that difficult (and I leave early both because I live in the Midlands and because I try to get a bit of proper food to eat before the match). Coming back, with multiple strikes and “planned” maintenance work on the railways taking place, is going to be harder. If tomorrow’s episode of Untold is late, you’ll know why.
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?
- How far down might these points deducations take clubs?
- Big clubs that foul less lose fewer players of their own to injury
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England