After the curious and gut-wrenching heartbreak on Saturday, Arsenal get back to business today with an easy trip up the M6 to Anfield to take on the title hopefuls, Liverpool FC. Since Aston Villa has failed to win a match since February, this game lacks any real importance for Arsenal besides the usual bragging rights. Though this game means the world to Liverpool, as does all their remaining games. If they want to win the title for the first time in this millennium, you have to think this match might be do or die for the Scousers.
Wenger had this to say about the title race. ‘I want the title to be decided and won by the team who deserves it most,’ he insists.
‘I feel at the moment, it’s difficult to say… the difference I must say at the moment has been done by Man United at home, because they have won 13 home games and Liverpool nine.
‘Liverpool has done much better away from home than Man United and Man United has done better at home.’
Though he won’t be playing a part in this match, van Persie identified the importance of the match. We are disappointed, but we need to get our stuff together and fight for the other two titles.
‘We have to play the game against Liverpool on Tuesday now, whether you are happy or if you are not happy.
‘It is the Premier League and we need those points, but I am confident because we have strong characters.
‘Every experience makes you stronger, a good one and definitely a bad one.
‘We have to look game by game because if you look at the schedule from now until the end of the season, it makes you a bit dizzy because we have big games every three or four days.’
Liverpool Team News:
Liverpool are without their captain Steven Gerrard. He will need to recover quickly if they are going to push United all the way to the end.
Player to watch: Fernando Torres
Torres’ pace is going to cause Silvestre all sorts of problems. Toure needs to be aware of this so he can offer cover for the aging Frenchman.
Arsenal Team News:
Adebayor is ‘rested’ while van Persie has a ‘groin’ injury. I suspect neither reports are that accurate. I think Wenger’s not happy at Ade for his walk off the pitch on Saturday, and there is really no need to risk Robin for this one. The Champions League is the only competition that is meaningful for Arsenal anymore.
Eduardo and Sagna are back in the squad. I personally hope Sagna is rested as well. Again no need to risk him. Dudu will start with Bendtner up front. Who knows who will start on the left wing? Maybe Arshavin should stay on the bench, because we really need Diaby’s awesome physical presence in the midfield.
Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Almunia, and Rosicky are all still out.
Predicted Starting XI: Fabianski, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Walcott, Song, Cesc, Arshavin, Eduardo, Bendtner
Player to watch: Andrey Arshavin
Joking aside, Arshavin will have a big part to play in this game. After not getting a meaningful touch on the ball until past the 80th minute on Saturday, he will be looking to shine against another big name team. If Arsenal are to win, either him or Cesc is going to have to come up with a moment of brilliance.
Match Facts & Stats
Howard Webb is the head official for this game. He is a coward, and will surely ruin this match like he does with every game he officiates.
No matter who we play, I always have some faith that Arsenal can pull off an upset. This time though, I think I will go with my better judgment. Liverpool will score 3 or 4 goals, and Arsenal will struggle to score 1. A 3-1 win for the home side.
26/4 (Sun) – Middlesbrough (H) – Premier League
29/4 (Wed) – Manchester United (A) – Champions League
2/5 (Sat) – Portsmouth (A) – Premier League