Preview of Underdogs Arsenal v Champions Liverpool – Head vs Heart?

THINKING ABOUT THE COMMUNITY SHIELD. by Funsho

IT STARTS

Liverpool won the Premier League by a whopping 99-point tally, which was almost 45 more than unlikely FA cup winners-Arsenal’s total on the EPL table last season. Whenever the Community Shield match comes around, you know a new English season is around the corner. The match brings the league champions and FA cup winners together in a one-off battle. Unfortunately, with the pandemic that’s altered everything in our planet, things look kinda weird, and it makes you wonder what to expect from this game.

DREAM/NIGHTMARE

Well, the date was 25.8.2020, and I started thinking about this Saturday’s 20/21 traditional curtain raiser and… so, Liverpool equalised to make it 2-2 through Sadio Mane, who got the ball, did a few step overs to spurn Bellerin, and unleashed a thunderbolt to the left hand corner of Leno’s goal post. It was an unreal effort. No keeper in the world would have stopped it. Not Buffon. Not Kahn. Not Casillas… It’s now the 79th minute of normal time and the relentless Reds were trying to attack Arsenal’s goal again. Robertson crossed the ball, and as it looked like substitute Origi was gonna connect with it at the far post, I woke up all sweaty with a pounding heart. Alas, I had dozed off in the midst of the thoughts in my head about the game.

THE TRUTH
Anyway, the 4-1 friendly win against MK Dons was a comfortable performance for Arsenal for the most part but Liverpool will be a different proposition. Without trying to sugar-coat the truth, Arsenal will be the underdogs in this game, but since it’s likely to still have the feel of a pre-season friendly, the gulf in class should not be so obvious – hopefully. The champions will likely have more of the possession with the gunners staying compact and trying to hit them on the break.

Look, chances are that if Arsenal try to take too much initiative and predominantly attack, like knife through butter, Klopp’s technocrats will carve the defence open and make us pay. Oh! This could be a long day; but who cares as long as the players weather the storm and the Shield ends up at the Emirates by Saturday night! Even so, it will be great if Arsenal are not outclassed in this game cos for the win last month, the gulf in class was so obvious that Arteta had this to say on ESPN after the game:

“The gap between the two teams today is enormous, we cannot improve it in two months, but the accountability, the fight is now equal, and I am very proud of that. The rest will take some time.”

PREDICTED LINE-UPs

Liverpool:

Allisson

Robertson VVD Gomez TAA

Wijnaldum Fabinho Henderson

Mane Firmino Salah

4-3-3

Arsenal:
3-4-3
Auba Eddie Saka
AMN Xhaka Elneny Cedric
Tierney Holding Saliba
Leno

The Arsenal team may not be ideal, but it looks like the most likely based on who’s fit, who’s back from holidays and who’s been seen in training pictures. Both teams will be up for the game as each coach will want the bragging rights, but don’t hold your breath on this one. Sharpness and match fitness could affect the outcome. The Merseysiders have been in pre-season in Austria for a couple of weeks now, while Arteta just started having the lads back this week, so don’t expect the intensity of a mid-March European fixture. Apart from a slight morale boost for the winners here, the silverware on offer should be an additional incentive.

HEAD/HEART

Moreover, this writer won’t join the ‘head says Liverpool, but heart says Arsenal’ bandwagon. Liverpool are the better team, and they look right on the money to win the game, even if it’s just on penalties. The Merseyside team’s high press, compact midfield unit, top class forward line and superior players overall could prove decisive. Coupled with Arsenal not being at full strength, doubt about how much service the attackers (esp Auba) will get from midfield and likely errors in a defensive pairing that’s hardly played together, the signs are not so encouraging. You may have expected to be reading a lofty proposition on how Arsenal can somehow snatch the win (and it’s possible) through the back door, but it’s better to be honest instead of raising your expectations only to come back down crashing.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In the end, who’s to say the mighty gooners will not look to take advantage again, peradventure the Scousers are not up for it on the day? If that happens, be sure that Arteta’s troops will be battle-ready to take the win. Whatever the outcome is, one thing is sure: Arsenal’s commitment, effort, application and game plan will be clear for all to see. Whether or not it will be enough to get silverware #2 of the Mikel Arteta era is another saucer of gravy. So, Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal? Yes? No? Maybe? Fingers crossed.

COYG!

Really appreciate you taking the time to read,

Funsho.

24 Comments

  1. kev says:

    OT
    I’ve seen comments about Leno and Martinez and I’d like to share my view on that.
    I believe the Arsenal fanbase isnt dumb and there’s a reason why many call for Martinez to start over Leno even though he played in only 9 games. It is clear as daylight that Leno isnt a complete keeper but is great at shot stopping while in Martinez the fans got to see what a complete keeper would look like. Martinez made the great saves we would expect Leno to make and so why won’t we rather see if what Martinez showed is form or class rather than sell him?? Some talk about ruthlessness but that would rather equate to benching Leno who did great for us before his injury and going with Martinez because the hard truth is Leno would never get back his place if Martinez continued with his great performances. If what Martinez showed is class rather than form then Arsenal will lose the better keeper and woukd be a typical dumb Arsenal sale but if the club get it right then its cool

    1. Sue says:

      Apparently Villa are going to offer 10m for Emi 😂

      1. kev says:

        If Arsenal are to sell him we should encourage more clubs to bid and sell to the highest bidder

        1. Sue says:

          Yeah, he’s worth more than that!

    2. Dan kit says:

      There is a reason that Martinez as been a 2 nd choice keeper for 10 years ,because that is what he is .
      Leno is miles ahead of him and in the top 3 keepers in the league if not the best .
      My opinion ofc

      1. Darthballz says:

        I would say they are both great keepers . But I feel emi gives more confidence to the defence especially with playing the ball from the back

      2. kev says:

        I can also flip your argument and say there’s a reason why Martinez has never been sold after 10 years when he was was one of those who could’ve easily been sold if the club actually wanted to. He didnt really have many chances to prove his quality. You can say Leno is miles ahead all you want but Leno just like at Bayer Leverkusen was only a great shot stopper and nothing more than that. He was just as error prone but always made terrific saves. Arsenal have the chance to see if Martinez is form or class. No way Leno gets his place back if Martinez continued with his performances. As I said if he is sold and proves to be average then its cool but if he actually performs like how he was doing for us then Arsenal habe lost the better keeper. That is another hard truth

        1. Dan kit says:

          He’s never been sold because no team as ever come in for him .
          Great second keeper but just not a top teams number one .

          1. kev says:

            Thats what you think. If he could’ve been sent out on loan and he wasnt on big wages then Arsenal could’ve sold him with a snap of their fingers. Im not saying Martinez is better than Leno but Leno would never ever regain his position if Martinez showed that form consistently. If he shows his current form consistently then he’s first choice material for any top team in the EPL.

      3. Jo-Gunz says:

        Ahead, maybe….but miles ahead, no.

    3. Kenny says:

      100%. Martinez starts, Beno sit on the bench.

  2. Sue says:

    Happy Birthday, Ainsley! Let’s hope we lift the trophy and have a double celebration!

    1. Uzi Ozil says:

      And hoping Aubamenyang scores and get the black panther mask

      1. Sue says:

        Yes, me too, Uzi. RIP Chadwick Boseman

      2. Echezona says:

        You wishes came to pass

  3. Sofoluwe Mayowa says:

    Lolz,, Martinez better than Leno,wow I’ve heard it all. There was a time everyone was screaming Leno is saving our bad defense,emi came wen arteta was already organizing the defense,where was he when Emery was destroying everything with tactics.. mtcheew.. but to be honest the only thing emi is better at is catching crosses and dats cos of his frame, some fans even said he has better distribution,wow wow wow, because Leno takes more risky passes and emi puffs it away wen he sniffs a pressure? God!! Even Romero blocked emi from national team,do you think if Leno was Argentine he would not be the no 1?

  4. kev says:

    Laughable. Read my comment again. I never said Martinez was better than Leno. I have implied that Arsenal have the chance to know if Martinez is class rather than form but are going with the easy option of selling Martinez and giving Leno the No. 1 spot again. There is absolutely no way in this world Leno would ever regain his spot if Martinez continued with his great performances. Leno is only great at shot stopping but Martinez gave fans a sight of what a complete keeper would look like. So now it would be in Arsenal’s interest to know if what Martinez showed was class and not form. He even made the fantastic saves that Leno would make.

  5. Sid says:

    Martinez over Leno, because he can be the technical GK that Arteta may want to start the buildup from. He is comfortable playing out from the back, and financially looking Leno would fetch more money.
    On the game though, whatever the result, COYG! (although a win is always sweet!)

    1. Sue says:

      Always sweet against that lot, Sid 🙂

      1. Sid says:

        Yup, Sue. Let’s hope we get another trophy today.

  6. Sue says:

    Isn’t Henderson injured??

  7. wenger91 says:

    I think MA will prefer to start his season with a CUP! So I’m guessing he will play with this mentality, same formation of 3-4-3 changing to 5-2-2-1

    Leno

    Saliba Luiz/Holding Teirney

    Cedric Guendozi/Alneny Xhaka Saka

    Pepe. Laca. Auba

    1. Awwal says:

      I think 3-4-3 will be good

  8. Awwal says:

    If Arsenal sell Martinez Arsenal is not a Good club again. So let Martinez still be No. 1 Arsenal goal keeper, even the world best keeper, if Arsenal continue to use Martinez we will carry the Champions league, super cup , club world cup premier league tittle, F A cup,Carabo cup and community shield as we did carry the community shield

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