Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates stadium, in what some in the media are calling the first big test of the Gunners Premier League credentials, although I seem to remember them saying that before the Tottenham game. But it is definitely a big game. Chelsea’s surprise loss at Newcastle means that Arsenal can go five points clear at the top of the table with a win today.
However, it is not going to be easy, because Arsenal are missing a number of key players, like Walcott, Chamberlain, Podolski, Flamini, Wilshire and more. For that reason, and because it is vital to stop the run of home defeats, I think that avoiding defeat should be the first priority. We have been a bit naive and left ourselves exposed by being too gung ho recently, and with the SAS partnership, we cannot afford to give Liverpool any help.
Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla
subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Monreal, Hayden, Akpom, Bendtner,
With Wilshire’s late omission, Arsenal have very limited attacking options on the bench, so it is really important that we keep the game tight and don’t have to go chasing it. There is a lot of quality in that first XI, so hopefully we can get ahead and hit them on the break and win well, but to be honest I will be reasonably happy with a draw. It will keep us on top and buy some time for the injury crisis to get better.