Arsenal vs Liverpool
A big beast of a Premier League fixture this – even if football, as writer Oliver Holt and others have pointed out, is hardly the same without fans (or indeed in many ways since Project Restart).
So, what can we expect at the Emirates on Wednesday night?
A clash which takes its own place in the hall of fame of classic encounters between these two giants or a tame end-of-season affair in which players from either or both sides struggle to get motivated?
I am hoping for the former and Premier League highlights aplenty.
A key week to Arsenal’s season began with the North London derby and concludes at Wembley with an FA Cup semi-final against holders Manchester City.
So, arguably, this is the least important of the three games in seven days (a congested period) for the Gunners, whereas newly crowned champions Liverpool need the points if they are to break Man City’s record for the most ever points secured in a Premier League season.
That may give the Merseysiders the edge and they will certainly be hungry after their momentum was disrupted on Saturday when their bid to complete a campaign with a 100% home record was ended by a Burnley team which had organisation, strength and a rousing finish from Jay Rodriguez.
The Clarets may only have a fraction of the Merseysiders’ resources but they fought tirelessly to resist the pressure with Sean Dyche’s two tight banks of four testing the patience of the home side.
Man for man, Arsenal are a better team than Burnley of course, assembled at a much higher cost.
However, the difference in this game could be that Arsenal appear to lack many of the precise attributes that Burnley displayed at Anfield.
Arsenal may have been positive, energetic and dangerous in attack at Spurs for spells on Sunday, but it was their familiar defensive frailties that characterised their showing and allowed Spurs through the door to win.
Manager Mikel Arteta will surely be aware of these old failings and striving to cure them, but it’s unlikely he can begin to resolve them until the summer transfer window.
Liverpool are not just in pursuit of topping the Premier League points tally set by City two years ago (100 points) either, there are also individual accomplishments to aim for as Mohamed Salah needs one goal to become the first Liverpool player since Roger Hunt (1965-66) to score 20 league goals in three successive seasons.
On the flip side, Liverpool have nothing to prove with the league wrapped up in record time, whereas Arsenal can still qualify for Europe, although anything other than victory in this, their penultimate home game of the season, will surely see the end of those dreams.
Will to win, alongside talent, is key and can often separate the good players from the top class players. What’s more, without support from the terraces, the need to find that inner desire can be more telling than ever.
This Emirates encounter against the champions may be a good indicator to Arteta who is worth keeping hold of as he tries to put his own identity on the club he holds close to his heart.
There is quite a history between these two English greats.
After dominating the English football landscape for 15 years in the 1970s and the 1980s, it was actually Arsenal who triggered the start of Liverpool’s decline with an unforgettable victory at Anfield – one of two in three years in the late 80s/early 1990s.
Yet there is no doubt in recent years who have the edge and Jurgen Klopp has not been beaten by Arsenal since he was appointed Liverpool boss in October 2015.
In fact, Liverpool have not lost against Arsenal, home or away, since April 2015 – 10 games ago.
This fixture last season was an exciting 1-1 draw at the Emirates in which Alexandra Lacazette cancelled out James Milner’s opener.
Overall, Liverpool have 89 wins compared to Arsenal’s 78 and 61 draws.
This is their third meeting this season.
Liverpool won the league encounter last August with plenty to spare, while two much-changed sides played out a 10-goal thriller in the League Cup in October which the hosts won in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
|Arsenal vs Liverpool||Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.10.|
|July 16, 3:15 (GMT+8)|
As expected, the SBOBET Premier League betting odds back the newly crowned champions.
They can be tipped 1X2 @ 2.06 and with Asian Handicap odds -0.50 @ 2.06.
The hosts are a bit further out 1X2 @ 3.25 and Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 1.84. The draw is also available @ 3.25.
A repeat of last season’s encounter – correct score 1-1 – is on offer @ 7.00, and what about the meeting at the Emirates from two seasons ago. Another 3-3 draw will earn you a payout @ 44.00.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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