Arsenal vs Liverpool: Three player battles to look forward to
Arsenal host what could well be an under-strength Liverpool side at the Emirates this Saturday, looking to reinforce their current position on the Barclays Premier League table and dent a further blow to the Merseysiders’ chances of a top 4 finish.
The task, however, is going to be far from straightforward, as Liverpool do have enough personnel in their ranks to cause plenty of problems for the Gunners, who went unbeaten in all competitions during March. In a game of this magnitude, it is those individual player battles that will have a huge bearing on which team comes out triumphant when the final whistle is blown. So, as for this Saturday’s engrossing Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Liverpool, which are the three player battles to look forward to?
Raheem Sterling vs Laurent Koscielny/Gabriel Paulista
Daniel Sturridge only has an outside chance to be fit for this marquee Premier League clash, meaning that Sterling could be the one to lead the line for the Reds. The diminutive winger played as a forward earlier this season, and enjoyed quite a bit of success. By far the most crucial aspect to Sterling’s game is his searing pace and deceptive movement that can be too hot to handle for most Premier League defences.
The North Londoners, in recent seasons, have struggled against sheer pace that the Scousers possess in abundance. So it is highly unlikely that Per Mertesacker, given his struggles this season, will be given an opportunity. Therefore, Koscielny and Paulista could be the central defensive partnership for the Gunners, and one of them will be tasked with stopping Sterling, who could be playing to prove a point against Arsenal who are touted to be his potential suitors this upcoming English summer.
Alexis Sanchez vs Alberto Moreno
The Chilean forward has not been quite at it over the last couple of months, when he has registered 1 assist and scored just 1 goal across all competitions. For a player of his caliber, though, the lean patch cannot go on for too long, and it would be terrific for Arsenal if Sanchez rediscovers his form this Saturday. He is an important cog in this Arsenal squad, as he, with his pace, power and goal scoring ability, gives them a myriad of options to play around with.
Sanchez could be up against Moreno, who has been the most utilized player at left wingback since Brendan Rodgers started deploying his side in the 3-4-2-1 system. Moreno has pace to match Sanchez’, but the question is whether he can handle the pressure of such a big occasion. When Manchester United visited Anfield before the international break, Moreno had a real nightmare on Liverpool’s left-hand-side, as he was solely at fault for both the goals Juan Mata scored.
Francis Coquelin vs Philippe Coutinho
This midfield tussle between Coquelin and Coutinho could possibly decide the way this game takes shape. Coquelin has been a central figure to Arsenal’s success over recent months, as he has been alert to a danger more often than not and decisive in his defensive actions. Playing against Liverpool and man-marking a coruscating Coutinho, could be a different challenge altogether for the Frenchman.
The Brazilian midfielder has been in red-hot form recently, scoring 2 unbelievable goals and creating 10 chances in his last 6 Premier League appearances. More than the stats he has racked up, he is playing with great vitality and confidence, factors which have been crucial to his recent success as a midfielder. He is more than capable of beating opposing players in 1v1 situations, but he will know that Coquelin wouldn’t be intimidated by his recent form or the threat he carries.
Though Danny’s Welbeck’s tussle with Emre Can on Arsenal’s left-hand-side will be another key battle to look forward to, the aforementioned player duels will carry greater significance and, in many ways, be decisive in the way this game takes shape. Coquelin’s tussle against Coutinho could prove to be the game-deciding midfield battle, as the Brazilian is Liverpool’s most in-form player and will be keen to make things happen in central areas, where the visitors would want to target the hosts’ defensive resilience.
Join JustArsenal @ INPLAY
JustArsenal will be covering the game live through INPLAY this weekend. Make sure to download and sign up to the INPLAY app and search for ‘Just Arsenal News’ to join our chatroom. We will have all the stats, news updates and much more for you through INPLAY and here on JustArsenal.
Get started now and don’t forget to launch the app for in-match discussion during this weekend’s games!