Arsenal vs Liverpool: A win, to keep the hope alive. Plus favourite line-up
Written by Chris on April 17, 2011 4:45
We needed a Pepe Reina late gift to get a point when we played Liverpool in the first game of the season and in a way, that game was indeed the picture of things to come.
Facing a Liverpool team that was going through the tough migration from Benitez to Hodgson – then sacked after failing to properly replace the Spaniard – we went down after David Ngog made no mistake in beating Manuel Almunia at his near post, then indeed needing a goalkeeping mistake to level things up despite playing the whole second half with eleven against ten.
A lot of things changed since then but others stayed the same, such as Arsene’s persistence in highlighting the “mental strength” of his players, the strength funnily enough mentioned after a win but never questioned after a disappointing result.
And I was bewildered at his “we turned the corner” statement after the Blackpool game. I mean after one month without any wins, a month in which we saw some of the problems that have been troubling us for years, considering a win against a relegation-zone team as a sign that we turned the corner is a little bit too much, isn’t it?
Now before you jump to quick conclusions such as that I’m a “glory hunter”, the reason why these comments “annoy” me is because for me, this squad, these players, are good enough to dominate in England and Europe. This, will never happen if our manager insists on saying that we have mental strength and we successfully bounced back from cup exists just because we defeated a struggling relegation-zone team.
Having said that, today’s game, however, could answer some questions, not all, but some of them. The Reds will be determined to keep their positive run going and our defensive department will have in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez two very difficult clients to deal with.
There will be no room for a lapse of concentration, no room for mistakes and when we get a chance in the final third we will have to take it. And also, yes, it will be important for all those at the Emirates to use their voice in the same way they did when we played Barcelona in the Champions League.
Elsewhere, I’m sure Manchester United’s defeat against Manchester City brought a big smile on the face of many of you but I would be careful as it is not easy to understand how the Red Devils will react, that is, whether they will suffer a mental blow as we did after losing the League Cup Final or react like lions, shifting their focus on their two, remaining targets.
As Arsene said, tomorrow’s game promises to be an open, entertaining game of football and with Chelsea beating West Bromwich Albion away from home yesterday, we desperately need all three points if we are to keep our title hopes alive and not worry about losing the second place in the table.
As always, my favourite line-up is below. Remember you can submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and then share it on Twitter and Facebook.
Wojciech Szczesny, Johan Djourou and Alex Song are all back and as it is almost the case when players are back from injuries, one has to be careful.
Arsene confirmed that Wojciech will start in goal in his pre-match press conference adding that Johan and Alex will have to take a late fitness test to decide whether to start or not. In my opinion, Johan has to start if we are to stand a chance against Liverpool’s offensive duo.
As for Alex, I honestly believe Abou can adequately replace him, provided he wakes up on the right side of bed. I was tempted to actually put Alex and Abou in the team alongside Cesc, relegating Jack on the bench, but even if he looked tired against Blackpool, how on earth can you keep out of the team our best player of the season?
Up front, I would start with Samir on the left, Theo on the right and of course Robin up front. Having said that, if Andrey starts in place of Theo I will not be disappointed and that is because we all know the Russian can be a big, big asset when we play against “big” teams.
Finally, the more I think about it, the more I realise there is no room for Nicklas Bendtner in this team and I will not be surprised if he asks to leave during the summer transfer window.
The Gunning Hawk Coverage
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