Liverpool v Arsenal: what can we expect?

by Bulldog Drummond

The Guardian is running the headline “Arsenal ready to compromise under Arteta to get result at Liverpool” which contains the thought that “Mikel Arteta has admitted he and Arsenal have to compromise on some of their footballing principles to get results against the Premier League’s bigger clubs.”

And yet  despite the word “compromise” turning up in the headline and in the subsequent article, there is no use of the word in Mr Arteta’s interview at all.  And then they note the fact that we have conceded 20 in the last five games at Anfield – although to be fair there is a passing nod to our home win against them and the Community Shield win on penalties allowing them to get to the main point.

Arsenal won against Liverpool! by dropping possession and playing in a different way from the way they might play against teams with less confidence and less talent.  That is a fairly logical thing to do, and should apply to all matches (although I don’t think Manchester City allowed for the Leicester City tactics in their match yesterday – perhaps they ought to read Untold).

And incidentally it was fascinating to listen to the commentary in the early stages of the Leicester / Manchester City game with the commentator repeatedly berating Leicester’s Vardy for lying “far too deep”.  “They’ll have to change that,” they said over and over…

Anyway the Guardian, despite the digs at Arsenal do recognise that in our last two games against Liverpool! we won with 31% possession and 41% of possession.   It takes a long while for the piece to get there but the message is simple: Arteta is not “compromising” at all, rather he is drilling the players to play in different ways depending on the tactics of the team they are up against.

Actually I wouldn’t be surprised to find that he is also changing tactics once he knows who the referee is going to be, but you won’t find an English newspaper saying that, anymore than they will comment on the chaos at Fifa.

As Mr Areteta said, “we have to prepare for the games finding scenarios to win…. The players we have available can change our game-plan. We have to be able to adapt. I think in football now, one way doesn’t work unless you are superior to the opponent all the time.”

The article then says that Mr Arteta hopes Houssem Aouar “will arrive to help Arsenal take the initiative in games,  although they will have to significantly increase the bid of around £35m… That will probably mean players have to be sold in the next 10 days.”   And that again is not quite right, for as we pointed out yesterday, “we have 19 foreign players who are over 21 who are classified as foreign. Two need to be got rid of.”   (The point in passing being that Bellerin is “foreign” but not classified as foreign while Tierney is a British citizen but is classified as foreign).

So buy another non-HG over 21 player and we have to get rid of a third, for rather annoyingly Houssem Aouar is 22 and just outside the age limit for exclusion from the annoying HG rule.

Anyway, as we know things have not gone well against Liverpool! of late

Date Game Res Score Competition
24 Aug 2015 Arsenal v Liverpool D 0-0 Premier League
13 Jan 2016 Liverpool v Arsenal D 3-3 Premier League
14 Aug 2016 Arsenal v Liverpool L 3-4 Premier League
04 Mar 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
27 Aug 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 4-0 Premier League
22 Dec 2017 Arsenal v Liverpool D 3-3 Premier League
03 Nov 2018 Arsenal v Liverpool D 1-1 Premier League
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1 Premier League
24 Aug 2019 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
30 Oct 2019 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-5 League Cup
15 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 2-1 Premier League
29 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 1-1 Community Shield

And yet overall we have won 80 games against Liverpool! and lost 89, with 61 drawn.  Which historically is not as bad as some people like to make out.

As for Liverpool! their recent run isn’t that great either…

Date Game Res Score Competition
18 Feb 2020 Atlético Madrid v Liverpool L 1-0 Champions League
24 Feb 2020 Liverpool v West Ham United W 3-2 Premier League
29 Feb 2020 Watford v Liverpool L 3-0 Premier League
03 Mar 2020 Chelsea v Liverpool L 2-0 FA Cup
07 Mar 2020 Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth W 2-1 Premier League
11 Mar 2020 Liverpool v Atlético Madrid L 2-3 Champions League
21 Jun 2020 Everton v Liverpool D 0-0 Premier League
24 Jun 2020 Liverpool v Crystal Palace W 4-0 Premier League
02 Jul 2020 Manchester City v Liverpool L 4-0 Premier League
05 Jul 2020 Liverpool v Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
08 Jul 2020 Brighton and Hove A v Liverpool W 1-3 Premier League
11 Jul 2020 Liverpool v Burnley D 1-1 Premier League
15 Jul 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool L 2-1 Premier League
22 Jul 2020 Liverpool v Chelsea W 5-3 Premier League
26 Jul 2020 Newcastle United v Liverpool W 1-3 Premier League

That is seven wins in 15 at the end of last season.  Now one might ask why the Guardian article didn’t mention that.  Of course it is relevant that they were easing off a bit by then, but even so, it is an interesting statistic.

Of course it is going to be a tough game, and of course we will change tactics to accommodate that, but don’t give up hope before we’ve started.  We have, after all, won the last two games against them.

4 Replies to “Liverpool v Arsenal: what can we expect?”

  1. It’s interesting that we were heavily criticised previously for not having a ‘Plan B’ (not that I believe that was the case) whereas now it is acknowledged that we have one, it is apparently a compromise!

  2. @Bulldog that shows you that the folks at the Guardian are quaking in their boots and those nearby them are shivering . Those are kicks of a dying horse we have gained confidence ,believe in our self and ready for the anyone. Win or lose we are where we are for the coach believes in his players and the players believe in him.
    Better so the intimidation at the Anfield crowd will be nowhere usually they intimidate refs into doing what they would not have done.
    Lets get ready to Rumble go gunners go gunners go.

  3. Well, do we want to win or not?

    We would prefer to have 100% possession, shoot 50 times a match and score on 20 of them but there is at least one team on the pitch that will dispute this (sometimes two).

    If we were playing schoolboys, we wouldn’t change our way of doing things but playing the champions (like it or not) demands that we compromise and adapt to what they can do. We don’t compromise our goals – we aim to win, not to mitigate the level of our defeat – but if we have to compromise with our tactics, so be it.

  4. I must say that there is growing confidence in this current Arsenal squad. While the global virus lasts, the home advantage and the associated frightening of referees no longer exists.
    Liverpool et al have been reined in.
    Arsenal can prosper purely on merit, for a change.

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