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Liverpool v Arsenal: the preview

by Bulldog Drummond

At the end of last season Untold boldly predicted that this season Manchester City would win the League again, quite simply because they would spend, spend, spend and spend, and do everything they could to ensure that they would stay top.

In fact we were wrong, they didn’t go on another mass spending spree.   In fact they didn’t even build themselves a complete anything like a 25 man squad.  With supreme arrogance they entered the season with just a 21 man squad, short of the 25 primarily because they could only find four home grown players to include in the list.

Which means that come the transfer window in a couple of days they might well be in the market for a few more players who count as Home Grown.

And it was Liverpool that took full advantage of what might be seen as Mancunian arrogance and spent and spent and spent again, taking themselves to the top of the league in both spending and now in points.  Here’s the current top six…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 19 16 3 0 43 7 36 51
2 Tottenham Hotspur 19 15 0 4 42 18 24 45
3 Manchester City 19 14 2 3 51 15 36 44
4 Chelsea 19 12 4 3 37 16 21 40
5 Arsenal 19 11 5 3 41 25 16 38
6 Manchester United 19 9 5 5 37 31 6 32

It seems to show once again that spending money is the key, although probably not just in one summer window but in window after window after window.

Of course Tottenham are currently proving the theory wrong, but I wonder for how long.  We shall see.

Liverpool has used the money to good effect as shown by their home record…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Liverpool 9 8 1 0 22 2 20 25
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18

Nine wins, just one draw, and they have only conceded two goals at home all season.

Could Arsenal go and play for a goalless draw perhaps?  It seems unlikely against a team that averages, like Arsenal, two goals a game.

Arsenal’s away form was last season’s problem and there are real signs of improvement…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15

But is that improvement enough?    21 goals away from home is a significant improvement – a year ago it was 2 wins thus far, 3 draws (the same as now) 4 defeats,  9 goals scored (21 this season) and 13 conceded (the only statistic where this season Arsenal is down this season compared to last).

And it is this last figure that is the worry.  Liverpool are incredibly strong at home, and this season Arsenal have conceded more away than in 2017/18 after nine away games.  That is a concern, especially at a time when our injuries are in defence.

Certainly for Arsenal even to get a point out of this game is going to be tough going.

Historically Liverpool have won more matches against Arsenal than vice versa (86 to 78), and it has been a long time since we beat them at all in the Premier League…

Date Game Res
Score
04 Apr 2015 Arsenal v Liverpool W 4-1
24 Aug 2015 Arsenal v Liverpool D 0-0
13 Jan 2016 Liverpool v Arsenal D 3-3
14 Aug 2016 Arsenal v Liverpool L 3-4
04 Mar 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1
27 Aug 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 4-0
22 Dec 2017 Arsenal v Liverpool D 3-3
03 Nov 2018 Arsenal v Liverpool D 1-1

That is seven games without a win over them.   The last time Arsenal won against Liverpool in the frozen wastelands of the north was on 2 September 2012 when the score was Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2.

Certainly our form has faded a little of late in the League – here are the last eight league games…

Date Game Res
Score
1 Nov 2018 Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1
25 Nov 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal W 1-2
02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2
05 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Arsenal D 2-2
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town W 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1

Only one defeat in eight is of course good, but it would have been better to have fewer than three draws – and that defeat was against a rather flimsy Southampton.  But perhaps the most worrying bit is that there was only one clean sheet in the eight games – and as I said at the start, a goalless draw could be our best hope.

More on the predictions website shortly

 

 

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