Arsenal travel to Liverpool on Sunday and it’s a contrasting situation to last season. Both sides are struggling to recreate the impact they had on the title race last season and our respective managers are under fire because of it.
We’ve invited a Liverpool fan to share his thoughts and indulge in a bit of banter. Share your thoughts below, he’s certainly made some controversial points. – JA
This time last year, 16 matches into the season the premiership table read #1 Arsenal #2 Liverpool. We had bang’d in 39 goals (currently 19), forgiven Luis Suarez’s sins, were laughing at Man United’s downfall and putting the finishing touches on the bronze statue of our new messiah Buck Rodgers. Arsenal were dancing to your normal tune, thinking this season would be different, you’ve lifted the injury curse, you will break the drought, Wenger wasn’t past it after all….
A year is a long time in football. Kolo Toure was voted our player of the month for November…
The problems facing our teams have been discussed to death in the press (defense, leadership and transfers) but where we diverge (and the single reason why you are currently sitting 5 points ahead of us) is because of signings like Calum Chambers. What a shrewd piece of business, ditching a club captain for a man who looks like gumby and is every fantasy players wet dream was a master stroke. The kid will turn into the a man you will build your next 4th place finishing mediocre side around.
The other signing is Alexis Sanchez. Liverpool went all out to unsuccessfully sign a number of world class players, but none hurt more. He had an outstanding World Cup, and he has kicked on and shown his true class. Watching him zip around reminds me of the intensity and quality that the Hannibal (Suarez) used to exhibit on a daily basis.
He berates defenses, has the ability to create something out of nothing and is an outstanding finisher. He is an infectious player and draws out the best in those around him. Looking back at our 2013/14 campaign seeing the effect that Suarez had on the likes of Henderson, Sterling and Sturridge, he would have been the perfect replacement. I am fearful of what he’s capable of doing to us this weekend; you’ve got a real gem there.
However, for the past few years I’ve had the perception that Arsenal is a perennial underachieving club and one who is satisfied with 4th place finishes; this is driven purely from Mr.Wenger’s transfer activity. Every transfer window is met with a sense of optimism that this time might be different and yes this attitude has changed in the past few years, finally breaking the piggy bank and shelling out for some world class talent (Ozil, Sanchez). But, I still think the problem lies with Wenger, his sheer blindness into what your side needs most is something that bewilders me. Yes, this sounds rich coming from a Liverpool fan but we’ve been well off the pace for the best part of a decade, Arsenal are always a title contender, but I’m not sure if you will ever take the final step. It’s worth noting that your best threat to goal this weekend has just joined Sky Sports on an 80k a week deal, earning almost more than he did when he was your club captain?!
You arrive in Merseyside on Sunday facing a team that has just dropped its first choice keeper, whose high tempo football and clinical finishing has yet to be seen this season, manager is under the pump, club legend is fading and season is fast slipping away. Over the summer we have forgotten who we are, lost the belief that struck fear into opposing sides and also lost a once in a generation player. We have invested heavily in a few ‘maybe one day world class’ players (yes I’m sick of all the Brendan Rodgers quotes and Spurs comparisons) and have struggled with injuries and form to our key players.
But don’t forget you also face a club that has won the European Cup 5 times, boasts the greatest comeback of all time, ex-striker has scored the fastest hat-trick in history against you and a club that derailed your 2013/14 campaign in 20 minutes last time we met and put you back on the track for 5th, (where you belong).
Liverpool 3-1 (inc chambers OG) at home