Can Arsenal Make Liverpool Kop It?

The time for handwringing is over. The past is the past and we move onto Anfield for a key Premier League fixture. Arsene may not have given up on the title but it is over the hill and far away, barring some sort of miraculous collapse by the teams occupying the top three spots.. This evening though, is the chance to put the ‘race’ for fourth out of sight of those chasing and more importantly, to close the gap on those above.

Cod psychologists are everywhere in the media, telling us that damage has been inflicted upon Arsenal’s young goalkeeper and that Wenger, with the help of his backroom staff, must repair the confidence of Lukasz Fabianski following the defeat to Chelsea. Looking at his history in the first team in recent weeks, he is due a good game. Solid in Castellon, he was a little wayward at Wigan, followed by an excellent performance against Villarreal at The Emirates. I doubt there is much they have to do that he has not already set in motion himself

Wembley has taken it’s toll physically as well. Adebayor and van Persie are not making the trip to Anfield. Countering that to some extent is the return of Bacary Sagna. Manuel Almunia appears to be heading back to the first team for the visit of Middlesbrough this coming weekend whilst Gael Clichy is targeting the first leg of the Champions League semi final as his return date. With van Persie and Adebayor missing, I doubt that Arsene will rest any others although the absence of Fabregas, replaced by Diaby, is a possibility. Nasri and Arsahvin should be able to minimise such a decision if it were to be taken.

I would hope that Arsene reverts to the attacking line-up that has served him so well in recent weeks and on previous visits to Anfield. Quick passing brings rewards on a pitch that will be infinitely better than the Wembley turf was on Saturday. However, that is a smokescreen aimed at deflecting attention away from what went wrong, easing the pressure on individuals by blaming something that should not have impacted on players at the top of the game.

Liverpool are not much different in style to Chelsea. That Gerrard is missing is a bonus for Arsenal but they have a workmanlike midfield to support a front pairing that will presumably be Kuyt and Torres. Silvestre and Toure will need to ensure that their positional sense is spot on when it comes to marking the Spaniard. He has proven himself to be as capable as Drogba when it comes to outmuscling and outmanoeuvring centre backs.

I would expect the line-up tonight to be:

Fabianski; Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs; Song / Denilson, Fabregas; Arshavin, Nasri, Walcott; Bendtner

Gin that Eduardo has just returned from a muscular injury, it would be surprising to see him start. Nonetheless, the attacking players know that a below-par performance will lead to his introduction anywhere along the front ‘four’. It is good for them to be under that competition for places, ensuring that they are kept on their toes.

It is a match that Arsenal can win but crucial will be not allowing Alonso and Mascherano to dominate possession in the middle of the park. Everyone must be prepared to close down players quickly. The assumption Liverpool players are making in the press is that if you stop Fabregas, you stop Arsenal. Perhaps Nasri, Arshavin and Walcott could give them a little reminder of their talents?

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ‘til Tomorrow.

920 thoughts on “Can Arsenal Make Liverpool Kop It?

  1. Poliziano says:

    What does a tackle have to achieve to be considered a success? Does the tackler have to take possession of the ball? Does the tackler’s team have to take possession of the ball? Does the ball just have to be taken out of the possession of the tackled player? Is taking the ball out of anyone’s possession enough? What about disrupting the tackled player, giving other players time to recover? Is that worth anything?

  2. Alex Ice Cream says:

    I posted yesterday that AA was on a different level to the other Arsenal players apart from Cesc that he was a far better player than RvP and that it is not even close when you compare them. I also said that AA would prove this. He already has.

  3. Passenal says:

    P.S. – I will acknowledge, I should have said ‘could’ not ‘would’ neutralize him, since I no more own a crystal ball than you do.

  4. Matty says:

    an inside source tells me :

    Arsh didn’t play on Saturday – and RVP did – because of ongoing very sensitive RVP contract negotiations.

    Also

    Almunia will be fit for Man U 1st leg.

  5. Matt says:

    Pol,

    I guess i should of made my point….

    Stats are (rightly or wrongly) presented on here as being a way of backing up a players performance.

    The stat is drew from the chalkboard regarding Silvestre’s tackles illustrates that stats do not necessarily show the true actions of a player in a game.

    BTW – i assume a winning tackle is one that results on your team gaining possesion of the ball, or at the very least preventing the opposition having possesion. 😉

  6. ZimPaul says:

    jeffers you are an odd sort of fellow … you’re on ACLF so you must enjoy it … but then you don’t … but you love it don’t you? Can’t keep away.

  7. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Passenal,

    Agreed. I believe that there is more to come from AA as well. I don’t have a crystal ball either but as I said above playing your best player gives you more of a chance.

    No one ever has the perfect game but last night AA was just sensational.

  8. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Matty

    Almunia is fit for the weekend apparently and RvP playing to satisy a contract negotiation. Keep taking the pills, dear boy

    YW

  9. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Matty,

    Are you taking the pi55?

  10. Matty says:

    good news re Almunia Yogi, I hadn’t seen that.

    do you think the RVP thing is rubbish ? or is it common knowledge and i missed it ?

  11. ZimPaul says:

    sounds like rumours Matty … people looking for ‘reasons’ when they are pretty clear

  12. Franchise says:

    QoS stop taking it personal. Denilson is quite average. And he is not physically gifted to excel in DM role.

  13. Matty says:

    ah sorry, i see what you guys mean – you think it’s a non starter as to why Arsh was a non starter … (see what i did there ?)

    well, i was thinking along your lines but it is a source inside the club.

  14. Passenal says:

    Matty, I think it’s rubbish. It sounds like RVP wants to stay and Arsene wants to keep him. I just think someone is making mischief because Arsene would only pick players he thinks are right for the team and for no other reason. I think it’s more likely that he picked RVP over AA because of the former’s height, experience in the PL and ability to support the defence. We saw the result of playing a more open game yesterday – the substitute defence was nearly over run.

  15. Luke says:

    Don’t forget who scored the goal against Wigan that gave us the lead for good and 3 points. A certain Silvestre. (Sure, a simple tap-in. It still needs to be converted and be there to convert it.)

    It could very well have been 1 point instead of 3 because the final score of 4-1 flattered us. The last 2 goals were scored in 90+ mins.

    Let’s be measured when judging our players.

  16. Matty says:

    point taken Passe … agreed with the logic on saturday and agree with it now.

    just thought i’d post what i heard even if it sounds unlikely.

  17. jeffers says:

    zimpaul, you are right i am an odd sort of fellow. I dont know if I am Jeffers Robinson, Tony Robinson or Anne Robinson.

    I do know that it was a very good game last night!

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