By far the most eye-catching game in week three of the Premier League sees Liverpool and Arsenal battle it out at Anfield. While it’s way too early to call this a ‘six-pointer’, it’s also a fact that one, if not both, of the only two remaining 100% win records will be broken come the end of this Saturday evening kick-off.
- Game: Liverpool v Arsenal
- Venue: Anfield
- Kick-off: Saturday August 24th 5.30pm
Liverpool had Norwich looking like a deer in the headlights when storming to a four-goal half-time lead during their opening game, before cruising to an eventual 4-1 win.
It was a similar story at Southampton last weekend, when they gained a deserved two-goal lead, only for Adrian to gift Danny Ings a goal, with only a glaring last-minute miss from the same striker preventing an unlikely draw.
Meanwhile Arsenal started their season with a rare away win, and an even rarer away clean sheet, when a neat finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was all that separated the Gunners from hosts Newcastle United.
A week later, they enjoyed their expected eighth straight win over Burnley. But it was no stroll in the park, with Aubameyang again providing the winner after Ashley Barnes had cancelled out Alexandre Lacazette’s early opener.
Sports Betting Odds
The sports betting markets have not been swayed by Arsenal’s promising start, making Liverpool clear favourites, with odds on a home win hovering around the 1/2 mark.
The price on an Arsenal win appears to be changing with the wind. Punters using bookmakers can get a generous 11/2 with BetVictor, while the draw can be found at anything up to the 4/1 offered by Bet365.
It is, of course, no surprise that Liverpool are such odds-on favourites – after all. they have not lost a competitive game since bowing out of the FA Cup at Wolves in January.
Team Facts & Analysis
The Reds only lost one Premier League game last season, and that was a title-defining 2-1 reversal at Manchester City.
Last weekend’s win at Southampton was Liverpool’s 11th straight EPL win. They have not lost a league game at Anfield since April 2017, since when they have won 31 and drawn 10 of 41 unbeaten home games, during which they have scored 105 goals and conceded just 21.
The enforced absence of the injured Alisson in goal is bound to have an effect, with replacement Adrian under a little pressure after already using up his “blunder credit” by gifting Southampton’s goal last weekend.
However, any perceived fragility in Liverpool’s back line is soon forgotten when they are in possession, with their attacking trio of Salah, Firmino and Mane looking as pacy and potent as ever. All three have already scored a goal apiece, and they also each found the net in both of their last Anfield encounters with Arsenal (5-1 and 4-0). Indeed, last season one or more of their front trio found the net in 31 of the 35 league games in which the Reds scored.
With their solid yet fluid midfield combining with the wide attacking threat of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, the Arsenal defence is sure to be stretched again by Liverpool’s high-tempo intensity.
Arsenal’s opening day 1-0 win means they have now already matched their entire total of away clean sheets last campaign. That came in April’s 1-0 win at Watford — one of only four wins in 15 road trips since September, with all those wins coming against teams in the bottom half of the table.
Indeed, visits to teams that finished last season in the top ten brought Arsenal just two points from a possible 27, drawing at Manchester United and Spurs, but losing the remaining seven.
Arsenal have not beaten Liverpool in eight league encounters stretching back to 2015 (D4, L4), and have not come away from Anfield with all three points since back-to-back successes there in 2012. Their last six visits to Liverpool have seen them ship a worrying 22 goals, although they have only once failed to find the net themselves in four defeats and two draws.
The fact that Arsenal have at least found the net in five of their last six trips to Anfield will give them some hope — especially with Liverpool’s defence not yet at its watertight best.
The arrival of David Luiz might help add some organised composure to that often susceptible Arsenal defence, while the emergence of Maitland-Niles as a reliable full-back has helped overcome the continued absence of Hector Bellerin.
The biggest feather in Unai Emery’s cap might just be the signing of Dani Ceballos, with the Real Madrid loanee bossing his full debut against Burnley with a performance full of invention and attacking flair, resembling a Cesc Fabregas 2.0. Ceballos should fill the creative gap left by the departed Aaron Ramsey. If he can find an understanding with the always dangerous Aubameyang and Lacazette, then Arsenal will undoubtedly remain a threat in the final third.
Free Betting Tip: Over 3.25 Goals @ 1/1 (2.00)
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