To be honest, playing Liverpool away on match day three is a no-lose situation for The Arsenal. Few will expect anything other than a home win. We would still be only three points off the top of the Premier League should that happen, but what of the possibility of us going two points clear of the rest?
Unai Emery faces a real tactical test. The chances of us keeping a clean sheet are not great, one would imagine, but does he fight fire with fire and risk a very open contest in hostile territory, or does he go with a back three and hope to nick goals on the break?
Were this last season I would suspect the latter, but for no good reason I suspect the leopard may change his spots on Saturday evening because it is the aforementioned no-lose situation. Should we have the lead in the second half he is likely to revert, as we saw last Saturday.
Bernd Leno is a shoe-in between the posts and the back four who played against Burnley last week are unlikely to be changed. Ahead of them decisions have to be made. It could be that the graduates may be spared the Anfield test. It’s not out of the question that Granit Xhaka could return to partner Lucas Torreira behind Dani Ceballos who should be given freedom to roam.
That presents a tremendous opportunity to go with what could become a destructive front three of Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. That would mean a tough workload perhaps for the two wide men but would give us an opportunity to keep the Scousers excellent full backs in their own half? That would be tough on Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson, but their time is coming.
We know what Liverpool bring to the table. Apart from the two full-backs we’ll be up against the front three of Mane, Salah, and Firmino, scorer of a hat-trick against us up there last season. Of course it could go horribly pear-shaped.
The ‘holic pound
I am feeling ludicrously optimistic. A point apiece would be a great result for us, but I fancy something else. I cannot ignore odds of 11/2 against us winning, and I am having a smaller top-up on us to win 2-3 at 45/1. Why are you smiling?
The ABW Preview
As ever, our chums at ABW have recorded a video preview of the game. Please watch Danny and Jason airing their views below.
Have a great one, ‘holics.