Arsenal have been the in-form team of the Premier League so far this season and so it is no surprise that the Gunners find themselves at the top of the table. On Saturday, they will be taking on another in-form team, when they play a resurgent Liverpool at the Emirates.
These two clubs have, so far, benefited the most from the upheaval at Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, but have also faced criticism that aside from having one game each against the so-called big clubs, neither team has faced a difficult challenge. This will be a chance for both sides to prove their doubters wrong and show that they really do belong where they currently sit in the league table.
Mikel Arteta will be available for Arsenal, after serving his one match ban for the red card he received at Crystal Palace against Chelsea in the league cup on Tuesday. Thomas Vermaelen will likely be dropped to the bench again after falling behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order.
Phillippe Coutinho will be in line to make his return to the Liverpool squad on Saturday, after spending over a month out injured because of shoulder surgery after their game against Swansea. It may still be too early for Jose Enrique but we should find out more when Brendan Rodgers holds his pre-match press conference.
Both Arsenal and Liverpool have only lost one league match this season, against Aston Villa and Southampton respectively.
Arsenal have not lost to Liverpool since August 2011, although this was also at the Emirates.
Arsenal have only lost once to Liverpool at the Emirates.
Liverpool’s strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has been the most effective in the league so far this season, scoring 16 goals between them.
The two strikers also lead the league goal scoring charts, with Sturridge on 8 and Suarez on 6.
The last time the two sides met towards the end of last season, it finished 2-2.
Ozil has undoubtedly been the outstanding transfer of the Premier League this season. He has made a huge impact on Arsenal’s ability to get into goalscoring positions, and has already created 18 chances. This doesn’t include his three assists, although it is worth noting that only one of these has come from open play. He is creating a chance every 25 minutes on average which means Liverpool will have to be on their guard to prevent him from creating opportunities for his team-mates. While he has only scored two goals from eight shots, he has a shooting accuracy of 88% which is great for a midfielder. He will have a big part to play in this game.
Suarez has been deadly in front of goal in the four league games he has played for the Reds so far this season. He currently sits second in the leading goal scorer table with six goals, three of which he scored in last week’s game against West Brom. He has played 359 minutes of football in the Premier League at an average of 60 minutes per goal. He has attempted 20 shots on goal, with 12 of them on target, giving him an accuracy of 60%. He is also doing well in the creativity department, creating nine chances for his team-mates, seven of which were from open play that also includes an assist. There is no doubt that Arsenal will have to pay particular attention to the Uruguayan on Saturday.
Arsenal and Liverpool have both been in fine form so far this season, scoring plenty of goals between them. However, both teams don’t have the best defences and that could be a big factor in this game. Arsenal have a great record against Liverpool at the Emirates, but it would be misguided to rule out the attacking threat of Suarez and Sturridge. I think the game will be a high-scoring draw and finish 2-2.
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