While Arsenal took our FA cup 3rd round game against Sunderland seriously and also got the just reward for starting with first team stars like Walcott, Giroud, Koscielny, Bellerin and Petr Cech, our next Premier League opponents Liverpool made wholesale changes.
They got what they deserved as well and now have to face another unwanted game with the replay against Exeter City, but the concern for Arsenal is what that will mean tomorrow. Their only regular first teamer to start on Friday was Christian Benteke and so the Gunners will be facing a side that has had a good long rest since their last game, the Capital One Cup win at Stoke last Tuesday.
So Arsene Wenger has reasons to worry about the pace and ferocity of the game tomorrow and he suggested as much in the press conference ahead of the game, reported by the Arsenal website. The Frenchman knows that it is always hard at Anfield, despite the fact that the Gunners have a good recent record there and have only lost one of our last seven visits.
But that loss was a big one if you remember and they blew us away in the opening 20 minutes. We cannot let that happen again and even though this Liverpool team does not have the same quality and goal threat as the one two years ago, Wenger knows that we might struggle to match their work rate.
He said, “Every time we go to Anfield, we face a team who is up for it. It’s always a ferocious battle, no matter who the manager is.
“They had a very strong manager before, they have a very strong one now and Klopp has the personality to do well there.
“[We need to] play our game at a good pace. We are used to pressing. It is not just Liverpool who do that, everybody in the modern game [does it].
“Pressing has been created in England basically because there is a history of teams who have done that very well so it is part of the modern game to make quick decisions, be very short with your first touch and play your game.”
So it is important for Arsenal to start well and match the home team and then we can hopefully quieten the fans and start to let our own superior quality show. Will we be able to withstand an early onslaught and the fresher legs of Liverpool?