Liverpool v Arsenal Preview: A tough start given the circumstances

The big question for Arsenal fans going into the opening game of the season against Liverpool at Anfield is: what is a good result?

Historically this a fixture where a draw would be considered acceptable, yet this assessment is complicated by the poor showing Liverpool gave last season and the pre-season injury crisis that threatens to derail the early part of our season.

In the end, those two factors just about cancel each other out and the same desired conclusion remains: a draw at Anfield on the opening day of the season would be a successful start for our boys.

One wonders, however, whether the stability and balance in the team going into this game will be strong enough to achieve such a result.

The injury list is already up to five with Nicklas Bendtner, Johan Djourou, Alex Song and Denilson joining long-term absentee Aaron Ramsey in the treatment room.

Abou Diaby faces a late fitness test – but should be fine to play – whilst Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie will likely start on the bench after extended post-World Cup rests.

The absentees mean Laurent Koscielny will make his Arsenal debut alongside Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence, flanked by Bacary Sagna on the right and Gael Clichy on the left.

The midfield is slightly more complicated, however, and hinges on the availability of Diaby.

Should the Frenchman be passed fit then I believe he will play as the holding midfielder with Samir Nasri in the Fabregas role and one of Tomas Rosicky, Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere or Emmanuel Eboue as the other midfielder.

My personal choice would be Eboue, who actually started last season’s opener against West Bromwich Albion as the holding midfielder, to add some steel and experience to what will be the most important area of the pitch.

Up front the options are excellent.

Marouane Chamakh will lead the attack from the centre with support from Andrey Arshavin on the left and Theo Walcott on the right.

As someone who has remained relatively blind to the pre-season happenings at Arsenal I am extremely excited to see Chamakh play tomorrow and really hope he can mark his debut with a strong performance and more importantly, a goal.

The final position to be decided for the game is that of the goalkeeper.

Arsene Wenger has remained extremely tight-lipped about his choice for the weekend, stating that it will be a good opportunity for whoever he selects to impress.

My only real thought on this is that I hope it is neither Lukasz Fabianski nor Vito Mannone, but one of Manuel Almunia or Wojciech Szczęsny, in order to promote some positivity in what has been a troublesome area of the pitch thus far.

As I mentioned at the start of the piece, I feel a draw away at Liverpool, one of the top six clubs in England, would be a terrific result for Arsenal under the circumstances.

A win, on the other hand, would be a marvelous start.

Have your say on Arsenal v Livepool by leaving a comment.



  1. I think you got the part wrong about last season’s opener. We started off last season at Everton, and Eboue wasn’t the holding mid. Not sure if he can play that well at Liverpool.

  2. Considering its the season opener i think both sides will be happy with a draw, us probably more so than them.
    I agree that it needs to be Almunia to start with Woj as No.2, but i expect flappy to be on the bench unfortunately.
    I just hope the defence starts to knit and that we play with two holding midfielders, i don’t want to see liverpool playing us on the break.
    Cmon you Arsenal.

  3. Both teams will be on the look out to make an impression – tough encounter but good to get this one out of the way early!

  4. note to the writers
    you link your site to plenty of other arsenal blogs but i feel that you’ve missed what is probably the best of the lot – arsenalarsenal – who are a good debating polite community.
    I like your site and i’ve bookmarked you.

  5. Andy mate, last season’s opener woz versus Everton not WBA. Also LFC are not top 6 club as they finished 7th….Other than that yeh I’d settle for a draw, but we must be favorites as player for player we have a better team and we did do the treble over the pool last season…

  6. good to be back on this site even if i feel a bit disoriented 🙂

    It’s going to be a tough match. Our defensive concerns are what prompt me to snatch at a draw.However I just get the feeling Liverpool are more nervous than we are (unless Fabainsky is in goal I guess) A 2-1 victory for us would be my prediction.

  7. wenger shd go quickly and sign shay given, sell fabianski, and use Vito Mannone as 1st choice keeper he is mentally strong in air nd he is capable of playing starting Xi

  8. Almunia
    Cesc -Diaby- Rosicky
    Nasri – Chamakh – Arshavin

    I prefer cesc in the first 45 min rather then coming on from the bench. Even a 75% fit Fabregas will do good 🙂

  9. Arsenal must pick a win at Anfield,no doubt about it.The team just needs a bit of speed,like putting a 45 on a 35 rpm and speed it a little bit, then boom!Liverpool has several times suffered at the gunners’ hands when they were in much better shape than now,so they should only be chasing shadows.Joa Cole alone cant lift them to an instant prowess.Lets see what happens anyway.In the sticks I wish Vito Mannone is the man to lead the pack out of the blocks.

  10. I’ll not tempt fate by making a prediction other than to say it won’t be a nil – nil draw.

    Of our present crop of ‘keepers I would go for the greater experience of Almunia over the the erratic Fabianski and the almost total lack of big game action of the other two.

    In the absence of Song, Diaby (if fit) and Eboue with Walcott and Nasri in midfield supporting Arshavin and Chamakh up front.

    The back four must be Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen and Clichy.

    Certainly a team capable of beating Liverpool. A repeat of Arshavin’s four goal extravaganza would be welcome.

    “Up the Gunners”

  11. Vito never gets the credit he deserves, I personally think he is better then Manuel n Fabianski. Hope you saw how strong Spurs look n esp if it were not for Hart who was fantastic in goal!! Hope we get some great keeper. Nice weekend all you gunners!!

  12. Spurs was not strong at all, City was just crap that’s all. Yaya Toure look like a bad buy, he was slow and reminded me of Papa Bouba Diop, not even a hint of a young Viera. I’ll take a draw tommorow due to the unresolved issues in our defence, although i rather have Kos be the first choice centreback. He’s shaky but definitely better than Djouru.

    I have a feeling it will be the nasri, shava, chamakh show if they use the stopping power perk. 😛

  13. All the people mentioning Everton instead of WBA, you’re absolutely right. That should have read that Eboue started two seasons ago.

    A good way to start the new season!

  14. And to everyone who is back in the commenting groove I just want to say “thanks”. It’s great to be back throwing opinions around with level-headed Arsenal fans again.

  15. why is it taking AW so long to fix the keeper problem? Hart proved today that it’s the most important position on the pitch. If we don’t get a good goalie before the window closes, we are in for a big trouble; the league is gonna be more competitive than ever.

  16. Hard first game! I think other teams had it easy. But I can’t wait to c what our boys are going to do! I wonder if we are going to have a new keeper soon…I think we really need one, that’s my number one worry!

  17. I beleive if we play Wengerball at our tempo we will out score Lpool .Chamakh to score 3-1 Arsenal

  18. If we can stop pool from scoring then were fine. i think our attack is good but that defence and keeper make me sweat.

  19. A draw? Really? Come now we surely should end up with three points, anything else will be a disappointment for me, Injury or not we should best Liverpool. All this draw talk has to stop. It’s the first game of the season how can you not be optimistic? I say 2-1 with Arshavin to score and and a very fine game from Almunia.

  20. Just don’t understand why Arsene is holding out on the goalkeeper issue! It’s obvious to anybody following Arsenal, that this is an extremely weak link. Even entertaining the idea of Fabianski in goal is right out ridiculous. He must be the worst goalie ever in the EPL. It’s an insult to claim he’s a goal keeper…

  21. Hail Gooners all. Brilliant to have the season kicking off again after a dire 3 months of the Cesc transfer saga, losing Eduardo, and a very poor World Cup tournament – and i mean the whole thing not England’s display. I’m in NZ and the media here welcomed the ‘All Whites’ home as heroes – and they didn’t even make it out of the group!
    I watched Spurs – Man City yesterday. It was a fabulous game and a great start to the season. It has to be said that Spurs were very very good. Unfortunately for them City had a virtual superman in goal in Joe Hart who put in one of the most perfect goal keeping displays I can remember seeing. Let’s hope Almunia can do the same for us because he’s sure to start. I feel confident we can win this game and get off on the front foot. I think we’ve just got too much in attack for Liverpool at this moment.

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