Written by Mean Lean on Sunday, 02 September 2012 10:46
Two blanks so far this season at both ends in our first two matches, and you would expect something to give this afternoon at Anfield. We are unlikely to face a Liverpool side who are content to sit behind the ball and grind out a point so it should make for a fair fight.
It is very difficult to predict this one, or at least go about trying to do so as both teams are facing different degrees of transition. Liverpool have already showed their Jekyll and Hyde side in the last week with a fighting draw against last season's league champions Manchester City and then a midweek dour display against Hearts.
We can only hope that the extra game of football would have taken something out of their legs but I have hoped that in the past against teams who have played an extra game and it simply didn't make a jot of difference.
I re-watched the Stoke game again last night and it is incredible how a game looks once you remove the adrenaline and fear. We were in control for most of the game and while the chemistry isn't yet set between the players, it struck me that our issue was more to do with our sharpness, especially in front of goal raher than our link up play. Cazorla, Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud have dragged a lot of shots wide in our last few games, perhaps still trying to find that auto on their targeting.
I suspect that a goal will change a lot for this team and a good victory will do even more. Once they can get that off their backs then I expect the goals to pour as they have done in each of Wenger's seasons since he has been here.
Rumours were doing the rounds that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to start the game and that Vito Manonne will continue in goal as Szczesny has yet to recover from his injury.
Arsene Wenger was quite damming about his forward line in the post match interview against Sunderland at the Emirates. Stating that our forward players lacked creativity.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has the rare quality of having both the direct approach, where he can sprint past a full back and run onto slipped passes into his path or he can get on the ball and make something happen with his creative passing and crossing.
Chamberlain combined very well with Cazorla in our pre season game against FC Koln and I wonder if that could be a promising avenue for Arsenal this afternoon should the 18 year old get the nod.
Who he comes in for is another question. Gervinho has yet to show his pre season form at least in terms of end product as he was very dangerous against Sunderland without picking out his team mates. Theo Walcott was absent from the starting eleven at Stoke and I wonder if that has something to do with his contract situation. Theo's pace could be a very dangerous weapon to have in our Arsenal given the space we could potentially get at Anfield but perhaps like at Stoke that may have to be seen late in the second half, when perhaps the extra match for our opponents kicks in physically.
Arsene has a decision to make at center back and I understand those who have suggested that we should leave Vermaelen and Mertesacker together as they have done very well but I think we need to pick our best players. Laurent Koscielny is certainly one of our better players. Especially considering the type of opponent that we are likely to face. Suarez and Sterling are quick nimble players on the ground and I would argue that there is not a better central defender in the league for handling those types of player. Unfair on the German perhaps but for me Koscielny starts more often than not.
I am looking at Abou Diaby to impose himself this afternoon and I have a good feeling about him today, His mini cameo last season at Anfield showed what he can do. He has had a few games uninterrupted under his belt so now it is time for him to dominate the middle of the pitch and drive holes into the Liverpool midfield, opening up gaps for our wide players to run into.
It is going to be a tough game and one where we will have a better idea of how far we have come or how far we need to get to.
Predicted Line Up:
Arshavin and Chamakh could be back in the squad on the bench alongside the likes of Walcott, Ramsey and Coquelin.
Three points please Gunners.
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