Three games in to the Premier League season, Arsenal were inside the relegation zone; Mikel Arteta’s job seemed as unsecured as ever, and any idea of a project being formed had been thrown out. That’s what makes it seem all the more astonishing that eight games later, the Gunners sit fifth – just two points off Liverpool, who they play this weekend.
Arteta’s side haven’t lost since September, and sit above Manchester United, above Tottenham Hotspur, and above Leicester City. Most notably, too, there seems to be a direction; a style being carved; an extensive plan. All those things act as news to us. No one expected Arsenal to impress so much so that they begin to become likeable and enjoyable. But, here we are, with Anfield and a potential upset awaiting.
Liverpool Must be Wary of Unravelling Impact Arsenal Game Can Have
Liverpool’s Lack of Control Gives Arsenal Chance
A 3-3 draw against Brentford, a 1-1 draw against Brighton, and a 3-2 loss against West Ham. Those are the three results that stand out in Liverpool’s season; the results that give Arsenal hope. One key factor in all of those games is the lack of control Liverpool had. It was uncomfortably frantic on all occasions, which came as a surprise considering the adaptation of Jurgen Klopp’s side in the last three years.
In their title-winning season, the Reds were the epitome of control. Heavy metal football was shown the door. Occasionally, yes, it re-entered, but, for the most part, a new style similar to a peaceful, elegant symphony of was implemented, which saw Liverpool replicate Manchester City’s form of suffocation. It wasn’t as exciting, sure. But, it won titles; it was dominant and controlled.
This season has been different, however. Wins over Atletico Madrid, Watford, Manchester United, and Porto suggest that the ability to dominantly control is very much still there. The difference is consistency, though. Far too often this season, Liverpool have looked like the 2017 versions of themselves. It has been exciting, yes. But not entirely successful.
The Danger That the Arsenal Game Poses
If Liverpool fail to defeat Arsenal, they could be fifth by the end of the day, and three games without a win. And, with the injury list pilling up once more, a slippery slop could await the Reds. Bouncing back is crucial at any time of the season, but it’s perhaps more important before the chaos of the festive fixture list arrives. What, on paper, is just a blip, must not turn into a mini-crisis for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side – albeit without Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, and potentially Andy Robertson among others, simply must bounce back. It has been far from a disappointing season thus far. They’ve walked the so-called group of death in the Champions League, reached the last eight of the Carabao Cup, and sit four points adrift of league-leaders Chelsea. With weaknesses beginning to show, however, Liverpool must push Arsenal aside this weekend and get back on track.
Arsenal, meanwhile, with more positivity surrounding their ranks than seemingly forever, have every chance of sending shockwaves throughout the Premier League.
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