AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW Mon: Liverpool v Arsenal

The Premier League season has been so jam packed with goals it may burst and we could see even more actions as Liverpool take on Arsenal tonight. Both sides have made good starts to their season with Liverpool taking wins from tricky fixtures against Leeds (4-3) and Chelsea (2-0) whilst Arsenal have beaten Fulham (3-0) and West Ham (2-1) in their first two.

Liverpool’s opening encounter against Leeds proved to be an omen for what’s been a season packed full of goals, with Mohamed Salah’s hat-trick grabbing victory in a constant tug of war which saw Liverpool get pegged back three times by Leeds as Virgil van Dijk had a most off-colour game along with Alisson (who’s set to miss this game according to reports) whilst the reds were either pressed or bypassed constantly in midfield. That said, it’s worth noting that they were definitely superior going forward against Leeds – they won the shot count 22-6, the shots on target count 6-3, the corner count 9-0 and had 3.12 xG on InfoGol compared to 0.33 for Leeds.

The Reds were much more controlled against Chelsea, with Fabinho superb in shutting down Timo Werner whilst the midfield was much more present as Sadio Mane scored twice and Alisson saved a Jorginho penalty. Jurgen Klopp will hope for more of the same here, although he’ll have to do it without Jordan Henderson and quite possibly Thiago, who looked so good on his debut but is a doubt.

Liverpool v Arsenal
Premier League
20:00 Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
AUG 2020 COMMUNITY SHIELD Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
JUN 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
OCT 2019 EFL CUP Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal
AUG 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
NOV 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
DEC 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool
AUG 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
MAR 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
AUG 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool
JAN 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal

Arsenal looked fluent when opening the league with a 3-0 win over Fulham, when Willian impressed on his first Premier League start for the club when providing creativity to compliment Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny whilst Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang both scored.

Their London Derby victory over West Ham was far tougher – Arsenal started well with Alexandre Lacazette heading in from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s chipped cross, but they struggled to create much for the rest of the second half and found themselves exposed a great deal on the counter by West Ham, who were in the ascendency until Dani Ceballos teamed up with Eddie Nketiah for a late winner.

It says a good deal about Mikel Arteta that Arsenal were able to keep their cool and grind out victory, although the amount of opportunities West Ham (who were 4-0 winners over Wolves last night) had would be a worry going forward – they won the expected goals count 2.26 to 1.30 (InfoGol), and a similar performance against Liverpool would spell trouble.

There’s plenty of recent form to go on – Arsenal performed a smash and grab in the latter stages of last season when winning 2-1 at the Emirates and then won the Community Shield on penalties when the two were more evenly matched a couple of weeks ago.

Liverpool look sharper for getting games as the season starts and their position as favourites is understandable, although a price of 40/85 with Star doesn’t make great appeal. Mikel Arteta’s tactical gameplan should be relatively simple; Press Liverpool on the ball whilst attempting to go over the head of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson with high balls for Aubameyang and Lacazette to chase, and Arsenal have scored notable successes with that style of play, including their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. We can also expect to see Arsenal attempt to make hay down the left and target Trent Alexander-Arnold with Kieran Tierney and one of Bukayo Saka or Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Past games between the pair have seen plenty of goals and whilst Liverpool kept a clean sheet last week they were indebted to Alisson for his penalty save against a Chelsea side that’s clearly finding their best shape; Arsenal weren’t threatened by Fulham but were arguably lucky not to concede more than one against West Ham, and they’ll get their first real test defensively tonight against a side that’s scored six in their opening two. The best strategy might be to keep it simple and go for goals – Over 2.5 would have landed in four of their last five meetings, and both teams have scored in each meeting since August 2017 – combing the two might be the best bet.

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