Arsenal vs Liverpool – The Preview

Tonight’s game is where it will all start for us this season. With a run of winnable games coming up, a squad that is starting to come back from many injuries and a style of play that can beat many a team. Yes, our style has been questionned recently – but it’s our style that has made us one of the teams that you can’t help but watching. Arsene’s philosophy has won us many a title, cup and more, and it’s a style that will ultimately prove the making of our super team. Despite our defeats against United and Chelsea, there is no reason to feel like it’s all doom and gloom. We’ve proved to everyone this season that we’re around to make a difference, and having a run of games against the two biggest teams in Europe makes us look much worse than we are.

Tonight is where the rest of season starts, and a win against Liverpool, something that we have already done at Anfield will put in good stead for the next few games. With no FA cup or Carling cup distractions, we can concentrate on the league and push forward. It’s normally February that we start our unbeaten runs and there is no reason why we can’t go full steam ahead from now until the end of the season.

A lot of people had quite a bit to say to me after the last post, but Arsene summed up my thoughts beautifully when he said this:

“I am sure mathematically [winning the League] can happen. And if you look at the fixtures it can really happen. But it is down to how much we believe and how much we refuse to give up and how much we can stick together despite all the conclusions. Sport is change and movement and we have to accept that in sport things can change quickly. Of course it is realistic to still think we can catch Manchester United and Chelsea – why not? We have already played all the big teams. There was a coincidence of the fixtures, which was quite amazing. If we had won all the games, then it would have been a big advantage. At the moment, it is a disadvantage, but let’s continue to believe in what we do, play our game against Liverpool with belief. We will not always be 2-0 down after 20 minutes.”

We have played Liverpool, City, United and Chelsea away as well as Chelsea and United at home – we have played our hardest games of the season now. Liverpool at home will be the test and if we can coem away with three points, then there is no reason not to believe.

Onto team news, and little Eduardo amazing run of injuries shows no light as he’s out for another week, but we do have a striker in Bendtner who has a few games and training under his belt and can come in and make a difference. Even if he doesn’t hit the heights we want him to, his presence will give us another option and will give us the ability to play players in their right positions. It’s a difficult one to know who will start but I have a feeling, it may be the following team:

Almunia

Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy

Song – Diaby

Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin

Bendtner

Of course, this leaves Eboue, Nasri and Walcott on the bench, but this gives us options. With Walcott’s starting berth on Sunday, I don’t think Arsene will start him for two games in 4 days. I think Bendtner will get the start that will mean that Arshavin moves to the left – his best position and I believe Nasri will be rested after his efforts on Sunday.

For Liverpool, they will be without Fernando Torres, but their captain Stevie G will lead the line with Kuyt – probably their two most influential players, but the midfield dynamo hasn’t been up to his best this season and we should be too strong for them. The plan of action is to be disciplined, something we’ve lacked in the last two games. To be patient and let the front four players have a go.

It’s an exciting game tonight and I really do think we will win and I hope we give Liverpool a good seeing to, to increase the gap between them and us and to start climbing up again and clawing back some lost points.

Early news this morning – in the Mirror – is that we’ve agreed the signing of Maroune Chamakh on a pre-contract that will see him join us in summer on a free and a £50k contract. Whether or not it’s tabloid talk is yet to be clarified – we shouldn’t really believe it until we see it on the official site – and it’s not on there at the moment… he’s not joining us now, so we don’t really have to worry about this until the end of the season anyway!

For those of you who are worried or bemused by all the rumours around Cesc, I wouldn’t worry – they have been happening non stop for the last few years. Whilst I don’t agree with the tactics that Barcelona and the Spanish and English media employ in destabilising players, fans and clubs, speculating and worrying will get us nowhere.

Arsene is keen to focus on winning the next game…

“There is no concern at all. What is more of a concern is that we try everything to win something. Cesc is committed when he plays, [so] what’s the future? We don’t know what will happen in six months, in two years, in five years. Your commitment is when you sign your contract and where you play.”

So, forget rumours, forget the recent defeats and let’s cheer on the team tonight. We need to take the season one game at a time, give our all, as fans, which will in turn allow our players to reagin the lost confidence (well, Theo still thinks we will “kill” any team we play) and start getting back to winning ways.

Get behind the team tonight, it’s going to be the start of the rest of our season, and who knows what’s in store…

  • Sam

    If we win tonight, we still have a shot at the top. But if we fail to get all 3 points, let’s all agree to stop talking about a trophy this year as we must start work on staying in top 4. Man C & Kop are too close for comfort.

    Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool.

    Go Gunners, Go!

  • EboueFan

    Eboue will start for sure.Either on RB or in midfield

  • yemi

    arsenal 3:1 liverpool, everton 1:0 chelsea, villa 2:2 man u.

  • vj

    please guys no almunia

  • ny

    arsenal 1 – 1 liverpool

  • bayo

    i appreciate what arsenal is this last days and i love u all

  • bayo

    guys wat shld we believe.arsene said previously that there is money and if he had to spend thirty million on one player he could now there is no money again

  • bayo

    for d summer chamack free and spend twenty million on the squad.

  • ny

    if we play like we did against Chelsea we will win by atleast 4 goals.We were outstanding in the last game.Wenger hinted Bendtner may not start and that bothers me.Also I want Ebouoe to start at some position.

  • bayo

    if there is no money where is the fourty million we made on adebayo and toure.pls wats d truth somebody pls WHATS THE TRUTH CONCERNING ARSENAL FINANCES

  • ny

    yes…Looks like Wenger does want to spend at all.If he was so serious about the title he could atleast have bought Kevin Devies or Ricardo Fuller both being renowned as Target men.But same time I am not forgetting we played some superb football.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I would suggest the money made on last seasons sales he will be used to to tie in Fabregas on a new contract which would be alot out of the £30 we have for transfers/contracts. We will probably sell Alumina for a replacement and obviously Chamakh on a free and maybe one other…just guessing though!!

  • dampatti

    If results go our way we could be only six points off Chelsea and only four behind Manchester United.

    On the other hand we may find ourselves only two points clear of Liverpool.

    Two very different scenario’s but both should give this Arsenal squad enough motivation to go on and claim three of the most important points this Premiership campaign has to offer tonight.

    Every game for Arsenal from now to the end of the season must be treated like a cup-final. We need to keep winning, letting Chelsea and Manchester United know we haven’t given up yet.

    It may seem worthless at the moment, many Gooners have conceded defeat already but don’t. Please don’t.

    I know Wenger has made mistakes, especially not signing anyone other than Sol Campbell in January, but we have to get behind the side for the last push of the season.

    Let’s be like those away Gooners, who never gave up singing at Stamford Bridge despite being 2-0 down. Let’s call on that under-dog spirit that Arsenal are famous for. enter – Rocky sound track

    Chelsea and Manchester United will drop points from now till the end of the season. We have to be there to capitalise. We can help. We can be the twelfth man on that pitch.

    I know we are all pissed off at the moment. Who wouldn’t be? But let’s show the wankers out there that we are Arsenal and we are united as one.

    The media, experts, ex-players have all wrote us off and love having a dig. Let’s not resort to that amongst ourselves.

    we may be a little closer to the top. We may not. I reckon we will be though. We can still win the league, albeit relying on others, but we are still there. In the mix.

    Keep believing! Football is an unpredictable game.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    AW speaking about transfer situation.

    “Football lives in an artificial world at the moment. We have to live in a realistic world at Arsenal, and we are very proud of that.

    “If you go high on transfer fees, you also go with high wages. It is linked, but we cannot afford [to do that]. Also, we live as if everybody can just buy, buy and buy in the market. But look what happened in the January transfer window.

    “Give me one big move: there were none. People ask me: ‘Why did you not buy a great striker?’ Well, tell me one who moved clubs. There wasn’t one.

    “We are one of the 10 best clubs in Europe and players who can strengthen our team in that window are either not available or at a price that we cannot afford.”

    “Yes, the mood [at the club] is very down but I will not compromise the wage structure.

    “Do you think I fight every day and night to lose games? I question not my principles, but what I do every day. I am patient with my players because I believe we’re still very young considering the top level in Europe.

    “Take our midfield – we have players who are 22 and 23 in there, and yet we are already capable of dominating games in midfield. The basis is there.

    “We have to transform that into winning trophies, but we can only do that if we believe it. I know everyone else is impatient, but my job is to be patient and to work.

    “I saw a lot of positive signs in that game against Chelsea that we are developing very well. You could say: ‘Shut up.’ Maybe you’re right, but that’s what I believe.

    “We have gone for a policy and we need to be strong and patient, and sometimes take the knockbacks, but still persist with it because it’s the only way this football club can be run.

    “We are faithful to our philosophy.”

  • Nick

    Lets not forget that a lot of our money is tied up in the best stadium in the EPL. The Emirates was/is a big reason for our lack of spending. Arsenal want to be fiscally responsible which very admirable in the current economic climate and the spend happy big clubs. Arsene speaks the truth.

    Chamakh will put pen to paper Friday for L50,000/week and join in the summer. We seriously need a new goalie. Nobody will argue that.

    Do you guys think Bendtner or Eduardo or maybe Vela will leave since we’ve got Chamakh now?

    I think we played well against Chelsea just couldn’t get the goals. Some were unlucky, some were great defending by Chelsea. As long as we don’t let ourselves get countered against like we did against Chelsea and Man U. Rafa has said that’s what Liverpool will do.

    Have faith. The chances are there, we just have to take them.

  • Mehedi

    Awesome post Nick

    But still then I am pretty much sure Wenger had a lot of money to spend.

  • Mehedi

    Ade + Kolo = 40 for gods name

  • bayo

    players for summer since we dont v alot of money.chamack(free)for a new keeper i believe we shld go for an old experienced hand in the league(jaskalinen of bolton) four million.Get an experienced def midfielder toulalan for twelve million to give direction to song and daiby and toulalan can equally play cd if we need to.let sylvestre go and extend sol campbell by one year cus he still alright.djourou wld be back so no need to sign coverup.totally we spend sixteen thats alright

  • devday

    Did you read what Arsene had to say about transfers again today? Pretty much on the lines that we won’t go for big name players in the future as we have to manage ourselves with the funds we have.

    True, but if buying cheap, at least buy cheap and tall.!!!!

  • Kuka

    —-I do think pressure will be lifted off Arsenal once the first trophy comes in. United, Chelsea and L’pool does not face the same pressure (even when they loose) simply because they have won some silverware in the past few years. The only thing we can do as fans is not to allow external pressure to influence how we respond to the team. I always wonder how it must be for the players (that is if they dare read) or follow some of the fan-blogs. I hope they don’t…

    ….Any top flight team would have struggled with a schedule like the one we currently have. Let us face it, Chelsea have a more robust squad and probably, it helps when we admit that, we are not good enough at the moment. I watched the Arsenal-United Game and to be very honest, we did not deserve to win. United out-did us, not because we are a crap team as some suggest, but just because they do have a better squad than we do. A fan on this blog argued that we do have close to 6 players who play the same style of football. And that might explain why we lack the balance. We do not have the traditional defensive approach where our back four plays the God given role of defending…

    ….Having said that, I am proud to be Arsenal fan. Trophies have been elucive and that is OK. One needs to look at the debt at United. Why would a club sustain live in such an unrealistic world – with the lowest paid player earning close to 70K a week. 90% of the 1st team are on 3 figure salaries, money that they do not have. So yes, United fans might be proud, but deep within the club is almost imploding with debt. I would rather have Sol for free, earning 20K that Viera on loan earning 120K.

    I love this club and am willing to wait for the trophies, because when the first comes, many more will follow

  • Marc Callan

    Kuka,

    With you on that mate…I think the United game we were totally shown up but for the Chelsea game, I think they made us proud, if the wee Russian had scored that pass by Captain Fantastic it could have been a different game, Chelsea practically scored on their two attacks and didn’t do much else.

    I am enjoying the talk from the Liverpool camp cuz all that does is gee up the players. I am in agreement with everyone here, we need a new Goalkeeper, never been happy with Almunia, his positioning and I think his controlling of the box is v poor, United did well with Van De Sar and I think Arsenal need someone like that, tested well in the premier league with a few years on them.

    Hope everyone is good and I think the Gooners will win tonight, 2-1 to them.

  • Pete

    Starting line up:

    Almunia

    Eboue Gallas Vermaelen Clichy

    Cesc Song Diaby

    Nasri Bendtner Arshavin

    Subs: Fabianski, Sagna, Rosicky, Theo, Denilson, Traore, Campbell

  • JDD
  • Nick

    So Bendtner and Nasri have started as strikers. ALmunia in goal. IMO all we need to do is make it past the 30 minute mark without conceeding a goal and we’re good. We go down a goal in the first 10-15 minutes and it’s gonna be an ugly game.

    Come on you Gunners!!!!

  • Mehedi

    Hope manu and Chelsea draws

  • Sam

    I’m in Vancouver, and the game isn’t on any TV. So I’m stuck reading updates on a BlackBerry. Please send your updates & thoughts. Are the Gunners playing as bad as I read?

  • pires

    45′ Louis Saha (pen miss)
    dam!!! come on Everton!!

  • Pete

    1-0 Arsenal. Diaby scores

  • pires

    Louis Saha! Everton 2-1!!!

  • Pete

    Full time 1-0 to Arsenal :)

  • Mehedi

    we are back in the race yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh baby

  • Mehedi

    yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Mehedi

    come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
    Bring it on

  • pires

    # yemi says on February 10th, 2010 at 5:44 am :

    arsenal 3:1 liverpool, everton 1:0 chelsea, villa 2:2 man u.

    not exactly right for scores, but spot on points wise, well done mate!!

  • Sam

    Great stuff! Smiling again.
    Just few minutes till Chelski lose, fingers crossed.
    Happy day!!!

  • richiebacardi

    pheeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

    I think I just had my first deep breath in the last 2 and a half hours or so!

    Now time for me to return the banter tomorrow

    Chelski have lost!

  • richiebacardi

    and spuds….

    and Gallas was brilliant!

  • Josiah

    first half wasnt very good but i enjoyed the second half, great goal from diaby as united draw, chelsea lose and tottenham lose. come on arsenal :)

  • Shawn

    sometimes you can see why Arsene has so much faith in this squad, although it was only a 1 nil victory, we played so brilliantly in the second half, if we played like that against man-ure and chelski the results would have been very different . . . Diaby was outstanding even before he got the goal . . . well done boys!

  • goonerman

    i really hope some of the idiots who were on here a couple of days ago slating the team and wenger dont bother coming back becuase all they had to do was keep suppporting the team for a few more days and they would of seen that it doesnt look that bad now! and the media go from hating us to praising us! like fabregas said in his interview! arsenal football club is bigger than all this media and transfer speculation and him wenger and the team deserve a little more respect from small minded idiots! GREAT PERFORMANCE the team worked for eachother and i know bendtner was a little rusty but having him play most of the game made a big difference!

  • Mehedi

    Yeah, I saw fabregas’s interview, it felt good man.

  • Mehedi

    Wenger actually said in the press that sports can change in one minute.

  • mesol

    yes, happy to win the match..but you all happy like be a champ..long way to go man..and we also hope MU or chelsea to lose or draw..and we must win all remaining games..BUT it doesn’t change…I still hates that stubborn old man

  • jeffvip

    what happen to vermealen’s eye? he looks to got into a big fight before the match.

  • mesol

    Can I change to hail the stubborn old man just bcoz win against Livpoll..no..we still at no 3 at league..and wasted 2 cups already..Dont underestimate lower clubs such as Stoke, Sunderland, Burnley..

  • mesol

    He colided with malouda in the last games with malouda also have cuts on his head

  • vitus

    i’m in the injury list too
    when Rosicky missed i kicked the chair with my right foot so it still hurts))
    overall much pleased with our performance
    go gunners go!!!!

  • vj

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh great game guys everyone played out of their socks, even almunia with that great save, were back in it again, come on guys lets keep the results rolling

  • Gooner Get Ya

    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) Happy times are here again!!!

  • Yemi

    @pires: Thanks man, i just knew chelski would lose, man u would draw and arsenal will win. A litle bit of psychology in there. even though the scores were wrong in my prediction, it ended just the way i said. Win arsenal, lose chelsea, draw man u. Watch out for the next set of predictions(LOL)
    I missed the goal cos i was kinda switching channels to check on man u and chelsea scores. i didnt see the replay at the end of the match either cos chelsea match was still on.
    Was it a good goal ? what does it matter? a goal is a goal, a win is a win and 3 points is very very key at this point !!!!

    I follow leeroy, “win, lose or draw ……..”

  • richiebacardi

    Hmmm,

    Well once again the press are on it. They don’t half wind me up. One win we’re could win the league, one, two losses the title race is over and all that. Now apparently we’re back on with a chance.

    Last night all nice words were said about the Arsenal…what a turn around…No offence to any journo’s here but you guys sometimes wind me up so much my guts squeeze out my bum!

    On the other hand there was something nice said about us that I havdn’t heard before. It was that if Drogba was in our front line we’d have won. Not that I want drogba but it’s a testament to how well we played up to the 18 yard.

    Also they are saying we have an easier run to the end of the season! Well I have to bite my tongue and agree for once with the wind up merchant that is mesol and say b*****ks to that. There is no easy game for anyone of us, We cannot underestimate any team.

    Them journos now saying things like that, then get all wound up about it only to slag us off if it all goes wrong….Grrrrrrrrrr….It’s either one way or the other with them. Me don’t like!!!

    Rant over