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In-form forwards to hurt Liverpool and get Arsenal flying at the Emirates

24 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
In-form forwards to hurt Liverpool and get Arsenal flying at the Emirates

Arsene Wenger's side should clinch their first home win of the season, even if Brendan Rodgers compromises his attacking principles

In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger inferred that the ‘big matches’ – like the one between his club and Liverpool on Monday night – should be avoided until later in the season.

There are too many existing fixture variables to consider for such a rule to be enforced – not that it is something that should ever be considered.

Such occurrences contribute to the thrill of the Premier League, while many would argue – not incorrectly – that the more established sides are already afforded ample privileges.

Wenger’s admission, however, did reveal his appreciation for just how significant these early-season matches can be in shaping the narrative of a team’s campaign.

Defeat for title-chasing Arsenal, for instance, would mean two defeats in three and trailing the formidable-looking Manchester City by six points.

For Liverpool, meanwhile, it is an opportunity to gain an early advantage over one of their direct rivals as they attempt to make an immediate return to the top four.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have perhaps been fortuitous to accrue six points, but that hasn’t stopped him from sharing his ultra-positive soundbites regarding his players’ quality and mental strength.

Avoiding defeat at the Emirates – a stadium where Rodgers is still winless after drawing one and losing three of his four visits as a Premier League manager – would represent tangible evidence of such statements.

To secure that – Liverpool are 15/4 to win and 14/5 to draw – the Northern Irishman is likely to eschew the possession-based football he craves in exchange for something a little more resilient and pragmatic.

Rodgers certainly has the players to do so.

Christian Benteke, who has 12 goals in his last 13 league appearances – including one on his Anfield debut seven days ago – can threaten the occasionally-meek Arsenal defence and is 6/1 to be first goalscorer.

And then there is Martin Skrtel, the bullish centre-half who has troubled the aforementioned back four in the past, especially when attacking set pieces.

The Slovakian has three goals in his last two appearances against the Gunners and is 9/1 to score at anytime.

The advantage, though, is with Wenger and Arsenal, who haven’t lost their opening two top-flight home matches since 1949-50.

Their recent record over Liverpool in the league is stellar, too, having only been defeated once in their last 15 matches against them in North London.

The big difference between this game and their previous one at the Emirates – the 2-0 defeat against West Ham – is the presence of Alexis Sanchez from the start.

The Chilean forward’s determination and desire were decisive in securing the winner at Crystal Palace last week and he is unquestionably his side’s most potent threat.

Sanchez is 8/1 to score first in an Arsenal win.

Oliver Giroud, meanwhile, is likely to make his 100th Premier League appearance for the club having opened the scoring with a stylish volley at Selhurst Park last weekend.

The Frenchman is 4/1 to celebrate the occasion by doing so again on Monday, while he and Benteke are 15/2 to both score.

Such an outcome is not unlikely considering the two managers’ penchant for dynamic, free-flowing football.

But even if Rodgers compromises his principles, the attacking talents of Wenger’s side should be enough to ensure that the Frenchman is not minded to question the fixture computer once again when fulfilling his post-match media obligations.

12/5 – Arsenal to win and both teams to score

Arsenal v Liverpool betting