Expect goals when Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates stadium on Saturday (12:45 BST, live on BT Sport).
Arsenal come into the match on the back of six consecutive victories in all competitions and nine wins and just one loss in their last 10 league matches. They are third in the Premier League table, with 60 points from 18 wins, six draws and six defeats.
Arsene Wenger’s (pictured) side won 2-1 away to Newcastle in their final fixture prior to the international break. Two quick-fire first-half goals from Olivier Giroud put them in a position of strength, and they were able to hold out for the three points despite Newcastle pulling a goal back early into the second half and then putting them under concerted pressure late on.
The victory was Arsenal’s 14th in 17 matches in all competitions since the turn of the year. The relentlessness with which they have been able to see off lower-positioned sides has seen them rise into a comfortable top-four position, with a six-point cushion over Liverpool in fifth. Indeed, Wenger’s side are now just a point behind Manchester City in second.
This Arsenal side is far from perfect – as illustrated by league defeats away to Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur and their elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Monaco already this year – but they still possess sufficient quality in attack to pick up regular victories. They have only failed to score on four occasions in all competitions this season.
Wenger will definitely be without the injured Abou Diaby (calf), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder dislocation) and Mikel Arteta (ankle).
Liverpool travel south on the back of three wins, one draw and two defeats in their last six matches in all competitions but having won eight of their last 10 in the league. They are fifth in the league table, with 54 points from 16 wins, six draws and six defeats.
Brendan Rodgers’ side lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United prior to the international break. United scored 15 minutes into each half to establish a two-goal lead either side of Steven Gerrard’s dismissal for a poor sliding challenge just moments after his introduction at half-time. Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back, but Liverpool were unable to salvage a point.
The defeat was a bitter blow to the club’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Three points would have seen them leapfrog their historical rivals into fourth but defeat extended the gap between them to five points with 10 matches left to play. It was Liverpool’s first defeat in the league since their 3-0 loss away to United in mid-December.
The club’s excellent form in the interim had largely been built upon their switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation, which has reignited a campaign that started very badly, with as many defeats in their first 12 matches of the season (six) as they suffered in the entirety of the previous campaign. Despite the loss to United, they can still be expected to finish the season strongly.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Bradley Jones (thigh) and Jordan Ibe (knee) and the suspended Gerrard and Martin Skrtel.
Arsenal v Liverpool Betting Tips
These two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw when they met at Anfield earlier this season. Arsenal were victorious over Liverpool at the Emirates in both the league (2-0) and the FA Cup (2-1) last season but did fall to a heavy 5-1 defeat at Anfield. The last six league meetings in North London have yielded two wins for Arsenal and one for Liverpool.
Arsenal come into Saturday’s match on the back of eight consecutive league victories on home soil. They were 13 points shy of Manchester City at the end of 2014, but their own good run of form and the difficulties suffered by City since the turn of the year mean they are now just a point behind, with a solid chance of finishing second come the end of the season.
The defeat to United was clearly a big blow for Liverpool and one that has made it much harder for them to secure Champions League football for next season. While United still have a tougher closing set of fixtures, Rodgers’ side really need to take all three points on Saturday if they are to keep themselves in realistic contention.
Arsenal are likely to be fairly content with a draw given their strong position in the race for a top-four finish. Three of the last six league meetings between the sides at the Emirates have ended that way and we believe a draw is again the most likely result here.
- Back the draw @ 14/5 with Ladbrokes or Stan James.
- Arsenal have scored in both halves of five of their last six league matches at the Emirates and also did so when these two sides met at Anfield earlier this season. We expect this match to be a fairly open affair, giving them a good chance of doing so again. Back Arsenal to score in both halves @ best odds of 13/8 with William Hill.