Arsenal and Liverpool are preparing for their huge game this weekend and both sides will think they’ve got what it takes to seize all three points, but the Gunners have a glaring weakness that could see the result decided in the first half an hour.
Arsenal are currently enjoying a run of 13 games undefeated in all competitions as of their win over Blackpool in the League Cup on Wednesday and are looking ahead to Saturday with the aim to extend that streak to 14.
Meanwhile Liverpool are hoping to claim a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions and keep pace with league leaders Manchester City, who are currently top of the standings on goal difference.
The Gunners stayed in the top four following a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace and the Reds kept level with City on points and narrowed the goal difference margin with a 4-1 battering of Premier League new boys Cardiff last time out.
The Emirates outfit’s fantastic form is disguising some big issues; they are still error prone at the back and were lucky to come away with a point against Crystal Palace last weekend as the home side were arguably the better team for large parts of the game.
Palace hit the post early on and missed a glaring chance from close range before captain Luka Milivojevic netted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead going into the break.
This marked the tenth time in ten Premier League games that Arsenal have gone into the second half either down or level (eight drawing, two losing), which makes their 13 game unbeaten run seem remarkable. Liverpool meanwhile, have led on eight occasions so far. The Gunners have scored 24 goals in the league this season, a massive 18 of which have come in the second half, indicating that they don’t truly click into gear until the first 45 minutes have passed.
Comparatively, Liverpool have scored 12 first half goals, seven of which were in the first 30 minutes – Arsenal have only scored three in the first half an hour this season.
The Gunners’ defensive record also leaves a lot to be desired; they have conceded eight first half goals while the Reds have let in just one. Jurgen Klopp will be licking his lips at these stats and those watching or in attendance at the Emirates on Saturday can expect an exceptionally high-tempo approach from the visitors as they look to expose the lethargic Londoners.