The big game of the weekend in the Barclays Premier League takes place on Monday evening at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal look to inflict some more North London misery on Liverpool.
GUNNERS HIT THE TARGET AT THE PALACE
After a shock 2-0 home defeat by West Ham United on the opening weekend of the season, Arsenal returned to something like their old form last time out against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. A 2-1 victory inspired by the return of Chilean playmaker Alexis Sánchez, had coach Arsène Wenger purring at the post-match interview as his team finally got their season off and running. Goals from French striker Olivier Giroud and an own goal by Crystal Palace defender Damian Delaneyensured all three points for the Gunners ahead of Monday night’s heavyweight clash against Liverpool. Do our football tipsters predict another win for Arsenal?
BENTEKE BREAKS BOURNEMOUTH HEARTS
Liverpool head to North London looking for their third straight win of the new campaign – narrow 1-0 wins against Stoke City and Bournemouth have brought confidence back to a team which had lost its way towards the end of the previous campaign. Coach Brendan Rogers invested heavily in the summer on Belgian striker Christian Benteke and he grabbed his side’s only goal in last week’s narrow 1-0 home win over newly promoted Bournemouth to instantly endear himself to the Anfield Road public. Monday night brings an altogether different test on a ground where they haven’t won since 2011.
Wenger looks set to stick with the same team that came home with all three points from Selhurst Park last time out. Sánchez is getting fitter with every passing day and will almost certainly start Monday evening’s showdown. After his goal last weekend, Olivier Giroud should get the vote up front to make his 100th appearance for the Gunners. Arsenal still have players in the infirmary with Jack Wilshere (ankle), Danny Welbeck (knee) and Tomas Rosicky ( knee) all side-lined as they slowly make their way back to match fitness.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson looked doubtful for Monday’s game after picking up a foot injury in the home win over Bournemouth but after X-Ray’s showed no lasting damage, he is available for the Emirates clash. Brendan Rogers should also name an unchanged side for Monday night with Benteke once again playing as the lone striker. The Reds also have players returning to fitness after a long lay-off – Joe Allen (hamstring), Daniel Sturridge (hip) and Jon Flanagan (knee) will all be watching this one from the comfort of their living rooms.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’s
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Čech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Cazorla, Coquelin; Sánchez, Özil, Ramsey; Giroud
Liverpool (4-2-3-1) Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Škrtel, Clyne; Henderson, Milner; Ibe, Lallana, Coutinho; Benteke
HEAD TO HEAD
If Liverpool intends to return to Anfield with all three points then they will have to improve on their woeful recent record in North London against Arsenal. The Gunners have only lost one of their previous 15 home games against Monday’s visitors. Rogers also knows his side must improve on their travels to face the so-called “big four” after picking up just one point away to Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United last season. There are positives for the Anfield club ahead of Monday however, with only Manchester United collecting more wins against Arsenal in the Premier League era than Liverpool. Do our football betting experts predict more misery for the Reds?
Arsenal 1.75 Draw 4.00 Liverpool 5.00
(Courtesy of Bet365)
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)