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Arsenal v Liverpool. An Acid Test.

Arsenal Opus Book Launch

Football – Arsenal Opus Book Launch – Emirates Stadium – 13/9/07 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (L) with Chairman Peter Hill Wood Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic

Top of the Premier League table with 51 out of a possible 57 points, second most goals scored, most clean sheets and yet to lose a game this campaign… safe to say the Reds haven’t a foot wrong thus far innit?

Good day one and all.

Arsenal are up north this afternoon to take on Liverpool in what is the headline fixture of this matchday weekend. Anfield has been an arduous place for visitors in recent seasons and this one is no different – P9, W8, D1. So the Gunners will need to do a lot better than lately if they don’t want to become another notch on the belt.

The Reds are undoubtedly a formidable force this campaign; not only did they smash a few teams, they also grinded out results when they needed to and are navigating the tricky waters of December with relative calm and fluidity. Questions are being asked whether they can go all way in pursuit of a first PL title in 29 years going into the second half of the season having opened up a six point lead, to put the pressure firmly on Jurgen Klopp as few of his players already said there’s no reason they cannot as well as maintaining their unbeaten run.

Going through a campaign unbeaten is something Arsenal knows about but fortunes has changed as we are now fighting to dodge a third successive season in the Europa League.

Since the North London derby at the beginning of month – a result that saw us move ahead of Spurs – we have gone off the boil a bit by dropping 7 points in our last five league outings. With the 22 game unbeaten run (in all competitions) now a distant memory, old problems returned as injuries at the back has become an obstacle for coach Unai Emery to circumvent as it got us playing on the back foot more than we would have liked. This Wednesday we had a few hairy moments, but luckily the Seagulls’ attack aren’t exactly the quality of the Reds.

I’m sure this is something the gaf’ will be mindful of; do you go into the game sitting deep and inviting pressure or do you take the game to the opposition with attacking players just as good as theirs?

Aubameyang and Lacazette have scored 19 and assisted another 8 goals between them this PL campaign, and should they both start they will need the support from all areas of the the pitch. Being up against the PL’s best defense we would also need to make the most of the few chances that no doubt will come our way if we want to take home the points.

Obviously wanting to round out 2018 on a high note will require hard work in front of the Anfield faithful in a fixture that usually brings goals but it’s hard to measure how much fatigue will play it’s part after such a long December, though, don’t the Reds players look rather fresh?

I’m not suggesting anything, not at all [insert mega toothy yellow blob]

On behalf of the Positively Arsenal family I want to say thanks to everybody being part of the year that was 2018, be it just reading or contributing in writing blogs or commenting. It’s been quite a rollercoaster that saw us wave farewell to our greatest manager and legend and the ushering in of a new era. Best wishes for the New Year and may it be better than the last.

@LaboGoon

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118 comments on “Arsenal v Liverpool. An Acid Test.

  1. Sorry for the cut and paste issue above, missing is, was not overly optimistic before this match….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see loads of gooners, the bloggers and big twitter accounts saying that Arsenal just have to do what LFC done with Klopp, give him time and let him buy big money players like van Djke and Allinson, etc, only couple of problems there, LFC had to get into CL for a few seasons, and even bigger had to have a player Barcelona were willing to spunk £120M on, for LFC to be able to afford those big money signings. So Emery has to get us in and keep us in the CL, even make a CL final, and then he has to sell one of his best players for an incredible fee, have we any player who in the next couple of years will make us £120M, will Emery get us to the CL, will he keep us in it, will he get us to a CL final, the bloggers and twitterati make it sound very simple.

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  3. I don’t have the finances, but I suspect in addition to all that, Liverpool have had help from their owners, including possibly with the stadium revamp.
    Liverpool have many advantages Arsenal do not at the moment , we saw a few of those today

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all we’d have to produce or buy for pennies a player that Barca or Madrid would pay big money for eddy. And straining hard in my review of the current roster I can’t see anyone in the bracket currently. Guendouzi is 2/3 seasons though ……….
    If we can buy in the next Coutinho who knows, I vaguely recall LFC buying him for a modest price from Inter where he had done very little. Hit and miss though.

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  5. well anicol, that is my point, to hear the bloggers and twitter experts its as simple as sticking with emery and in 2 or 3 years we can be top of the league flying, they try and make it sound like the LFC owners magicked up funds from no where for Klopp, not from selling a player for £120M, nor from making a CL final, etc

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hopefully our much vaunted new scouting regime will pay some dividends, but it’s going to take time and there are no guarantees.
    Still suspect we need some help this Jan though, with all the injuries, and contract issues, our defence, and creative dept is rather stretched to say the least.
    I hope Ozils knee injury isn’t serious, whatever else may or may not be going on with him

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The point they (the Uber bloggers) are missing maybe is that Liverpool bought well. A few dogs but most gambles that have been taken in the Klopp years paid off very well. Coutinho the most obvious but Salah had been poor at Chelsea and while he was good at Roma so what, it’s Roma. Mane was/is a bit of a nutcase. Going down the scale Robertson really was small change.
    Demanding by the über bloggers that AFC buy well, as though our club or any other tried to do anything different, is hardly worth saying.

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  8. but you can see that when many of them say the board must back Emery they actually mean KSE must give AFC his own money to buy us success, but they are too afraid to actually own up that this is what they want and mean

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  9. Liverpool have certainly got some decent money for players, we really haven’t lately, Alexis , Welbeck, Ramsey all good players, but no kings ransom

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  10. well mandy it was suggested when we got Sven Mislintat in that our aim was to follow the Dortmund blueprint, buy young up and coming players, for reasonable fees, give them game time, develop them enough that we can sell them for massive fees. But isn’t Guedouzi the only young player we have brought in since SM became our talent guru 18 months ago.

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  11. Would seem so.
    A few very promising youngsters already on the books, but as you say, only Gwen bought in so far.
    Can’t help but wonder if there is a bigger than expected clear out coming, for right or for wrong, especially if they really do want to start getting more youngsters in

    Liked by 1 person

  12. well Mandy Ivan said on more than one occasion that we have to find the stars before the become stars, such as the likes of Kante and Dembele, or even Mbappe, you know sort of get us either a top player cheap, or one that develops enough to get us a mega transfer fee. Then along with that we need our Academy to fill our our squad. It all sounds so simple, but having to be “smart” with transfers sounds so God damn easy, the reality is its exactly what almost every club, well certainly all the self sustaining ones, are trying to do.

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  13. Mavropanos another Sven one isn’t he. Torreira at 22 prob just about in young player category as well. If so, quite a promising start on the younger player front.

    Thought again earlier on how it has worked out with us and centre backs this year : Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos, Bielik sounded like we were well covered, or rather covered too well, with two senior cb’s as well, and Kos to return.

    So two loaned, and then Mavropanos down at some point early on, then Rob, and so four younger cb’s became none.

    Incredibly, the next two by age and experience- Pleg and Sheaf- also either injured or just back when trouble hit with Rob’s injury.

    Shitty luck.

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  14. odd thing Rich on two of those CB’s, Chambers and Bielik, is that they are both playing DM for their loan clubs

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  15. No doubt about it though, Ed- pulling a Liverpool looks/is a daunting task from here.

    There’s been plenty of good work to get where they are, and surely some good fortune to go with it. Even the briefest summary of their recent years should tell anyone it’s not some relatively simple plan to try emulate.

    It stings that CL qualification may be so influential in our relative budgets, given it didn’t feel like that in reverse with us when we always qualified and they missed out quite regularly.

    For one ,though, nothing is even nearly static- the varying tv deals throughout being one huge factor- and there was of course that large issue of us paying all our debts with our football earnings.

    I’ve no idea if Liverpool’s current owners have dipped into their own pockets, but I’ve always had impression we were/are unusual in always sticking to that self-earned budget, and that others will push things with loans etc.

    That’s what I’m pretty sure happened with Liverpool, in that period they spent at least as much as us, maybe a fair bit more, despite their irregular CL qualification. It led, at least partly, to them being in dire straits financially…then a load of re-financing, old owners forced out, and new ones basically buying the club for the debt…wiping the slate clean in process.

    That’s as lucky as it gets in a way, not having to pay the price at all for spending a lot more than you have in order to compete. Not sure there’s any useful moral to the tale though.

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  16. well Rich maybe where LFC have got lucky with is that unlike us when we were selling our best players for good fees, they are getting massive fees, and not only that but have been able to put those incoming fees back into signing new players, the money we got for our best players went to repayments or into the bank.

    Its an odd contradiction but AFC who risked it all with the Stadium move, have ever since been risk averse, we don’t go that bit over the top on a transfer in case it doesn’t work out, while LFC have taken those gambles.
    We also during the trophyless years made mistakes on our sales, that was when we really should have done a Coutinho with some of our stars, we turned down £50M from CFC for Henry then I think it was only about 18 months later we sold him for £16M, the sales of other stars, including PV4 also ended up not bringing in what they could have if sold that bit sooner, and we did not risk signing many players for small or very reasonable fees, such as Carrick for £2M, we looked at VvD when he was at Celtic, we were very keen on Hazard when he was in Belgium but never pulled the trigger, the list is very long. Yes it was always the fear of it failing and the funds being very tight. We kept being that couple of players short, then selling our better players when their contracts had run down and the fee was not what it should have been. We also terminated Sol Campbell’s contract so he could play abroad, at Portsmouth, and brought him back a few years later for a second stint.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think Emery has to be brave, a lot braver than he has been so far, we have to play to our strength, which clearly is attack, we have to really go for it, I think the 22 game unbeaten run oddly enough seen us become more negative, or less brave, it was too much about keeping the run going, and not going all out for wins.
    Here is a simple stat – Spurs have lost one game more than us in their 20 games, but sit 7pts ahead of us, cos they have no draws, and we have 5.

    Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan is not a poor group of attacking players, Emery needs to trust them more, and find a “process” or “tactical” way to get them firing.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. New post up.

    Like

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