Arsenal vs Liverpool: Match preview – A must win match, and not just for the title challenge
Written by Chris on December 20, 2008 21:02
Having just seen Aston Villa grabbing a lucky win away at West Ham, our position has never been so critical this season. The worst scenario is of course two consecutive defeats which would kill our title hopes and put us far from that fourth, Champions League spot. But, having defeated Manchester United and Chelsea, there’s hope ahead of tomorrow’s 16:00(BST) kick-off.
With Torres out injured, I believe Liverpool will come at the Emirates for a draw. They know Arsenal are yet to falter against the big teams and maybe they will prefer to just draw the match and end the day with all the eight points over us intact. Samir Nasri should be back although Kolo Toure may have to sit out the match with a calf strain.
In a way, the match will be special for a different number of reasons. Of course, when you have two Premiership giants facing each other, entertainment is guaranteed. But, tomorrow, it will also be special since Arsenal’s players, staff and directors will donate a day’s wages to the Teenage Cancer Trust by dedicating the game to the charity. The target goal for this campaign is £300,000 and this is what Cesc Fabregas said on the matter:
I encourage all supporters to follow our lead and give what they can. The team and I have met some patients from Teenage Cancer Trust units on several occasions throughout the partnership so far and we’re all struck by the strength and courage they show in fighting this disease.
Speaking of Cesc, Alex Hleb believes he will be the key tomorrow and will help us in winning the match and cutting the gap to five points off the Reds. The now-Barca midfielder, who left us after three years, said:
Liverpool may be leading but an Arsenal victory would narrow the gap in the table and put them right back in the race for the title. The key to the game will be in midfield and I believe Cesc will grow in confidence in this type of big game. He demonstrated that when Arsenal won at Chelsea, for example, and I believe he will win his battle with Xabi Alonso.
Arsenal are always stronger when they play at home and I believe the team ismore centred and calm at present. As for Liverpool, I’ve noticed they aren’t playing as well in an attacking sense since Torres got injured and I think it’s affecting them.
With Samir back, I predict Song and Diaby to be relegated on the bench and hope to see Eboue in front of Sagna as he should now be totally fit and mentally rested from the boo incident.
Sagna – Gallas – Djourou – Clichy
Eboue – Cesc – Denilson – Nasri
Van Persie – Adebayor
Finally, this is what Arsene Wenger said ahead of tomorrow’s match and the title race:
I think the total that wins the title will be lower than in recent years, because the teams in front at the moment have all dropped points at home. I think the total for the winner will be between 78 and 85 points.
But for us, the first step is to get back into the race – and to get back into the race, which is still very tight, the important thing is for us to beat Liverpool. We are highly motivated to beat another of the so-called top four and I am convinced we have the quality to do it.
As always, tune in for team line-ups, half time and full time reports, post-match thoughts, video highlights and what the press is writing. And of course, do contribute if you want to by making use of the comment box available at the bottom of the post as it’s always nice to hear your opinion.