Arsenal will have morale on their side going into this one with Liverpool succumbing to an embarassing 3-2 defeat at the hands of Oldham in the FA Cup at the weekend. Despite the loss however, the Reds have a number of returning players that will provide a huge challenge for Arsenal to overcome at the Emirates.
In terms of injuries and absentees, the Gunners will be buoyed by the availability of captain Thomas Vermaelen for selection. The Belgian looked to have suffered a serious ankle injury against West Ham, but Wenger has confirmed that the injury was not as bad as first feared. A huge sigh of relief given that Suarez and Sturridge will be a huge threat at the back.
Coquelin and Arteta remain out and have also been labelled doubtful for Arsenal upcoming game against Stoke on Saturday. There absence means that Diaby is likely to play as the anchor man, provided his fitness is adequate after playing 90 minutes against Brighton in the FA Cup. If he is deemed unfit expect Ramsey to fill the role.
The remainder of the team is likely to remain the same with Frenchman Olivier Giroud sure to retain his place as the spearhead of a potent attack featuring Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott. The big front-man has been in good touch scoring two consecutive braces and will look to continue his scoring run against a Liverpool defence that has hardly been rock solid.
In saying this however, the Reds have three returning players that are sure to improve their team at the back. Liverpool welcome back Johnson, Enrique and Reina. Reina is sure to retain his spot between the sticks, although Enrique may not be rushed into action after being out for a substantial period of time. Expect Arsenal to create chances none-the-less.
To win this one you feel Arsenal will need to impose themselves right from the outset. The Gunners have been guilty of showing to much respect to quality opposition and now need to believe in their ability to dominate a decent Liverpool side. We need these three points in the bag!
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on the changes for Liverpool…
Thomas Vermaelen is back available. And the players who were rested are back in contention, too.
on Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta…
They are a bit short – 100 per cent [they are unavailable] for Wednesday. Even for Saturday [they could be short], but there is a little chance they will be available at the weekend.
on Lukasz Fabianski…
He is doing very well in training and now he needs to play a game.
Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
- Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 earlier in the first Premier League fixture at Anfield, with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla as well as a man-of-the-match performance from Abou Diaby.
- Arsenal have lost only one of their last 11 League meetings with Liverpool, but six of these games have also ended in a draw (W4 D6 L1), and there have been seven goals scored in the 90th minute or later in the last eight Premier League meetings.
- The Reds have won just eight points in their last 12 Premier League away games at Arsenal (W1 D5 L6).
- The Gunners only have one win (West Ham) from their last four league games, drawing with Southampton and losing to Chelsea and Manchester United.
- No side has won more Premier League away games at Arsenal than Liverpool (6, alongside Manchester United), but Liverpool’s away league form has been poor this season, with three wins, four draws and four defeats.
- Interestingly Brendan Rodgers’ side have averaged the highest possession in the Premier League so far this season (59.4%).
- Lukas Podolski tops the Premier League assist charts with nine this season following three in his last appearance against West Ham; the first player to assist three in a single PL game since Steven Pienaar in April 2012.
- The Emirates has witnessed more goals than any other Premier League stadium this season (46), but Arsene Wenger’s side have lost two of their past five league home games, but won the other three.
- Luis Suárez has created more goalscoring chances from open play than any other player in the top five European leagues this season (61) and has a massive 21 goals in all competitions.
- Santi Cazorla has made almost double the amount of through balls than any individual player in the Premier League this season (15), no other player has made more than eight.
- Theo Walcott leads the club’s goalscoring charts with 17 in all competitions, and of players to have attempted at least 30 shots (excl. blocked) in the Premier League this season, the England international has the best shot conversion rate (31.3%).
- Both Arsenal and Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than league leaders Manchester United, but are 19 and 22 points behind them respectively.
- Liverpool won 2-0 at the Emirates in the league last season courtesy of an Aaron Ramsey own goal and a Luis Suarez strike.
Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1