Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Liverpool

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal FC vs. Liverpool FC

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Monday, August 24 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 7/10 – Draw 3/1 – Liverpool 18/5

Match Preview

Arsenal vs Liverpool. It’s always a huge fixture on the Premier League calendar and this one comes very early in the season as the two meet at the Emirates on Monday night.

Both sides have failed to set the world on fire in their opening two games but have got some vital points on the board nonetheless. Arsenal responded to their opening loss to West Ham with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace last Sunday and will now look for a first home win of the campaign.

Arsene Wenger is under pressure to bring a new striker in before the transfer window closes but will be focusing on on-the-field matters ahead of this one.

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The Gunners have shipped four goals in two games and need to make sure they tighten up at the back if they are to build on last year’s third place finish.

Liverpool have opened the season with back-to-back 1-0 wins over Stoke and Bournemouth but have yet to really impress.

Six points from six is still a great start and if they can step up a gear, they could walk away from London with three more on Monday night.

Brendan Rodgers has a whole host of new signings at the club and he will be delighted with the fact Christian Benteke opened his account in a Reds shirt in the win over Bournemouth on Monday.

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Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 in the most recent meeting between the two at the Emirates after they played out a 2-2 draw at Anfield last season.

The last time Liverpool won at Arsenal was in August 2011 and they will hope that another early season clash can deliver the same rewards.

Team News

Arsenal are likely to name an unchanged side from the one that beat Crystal Palace last Sunday. Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck remain out through injury. Olivier Giroud should keep his place up front with Hector Bellerin keeping his right-back berth ahead of Mathieu Debuchy.

Liverpool’s main concern regards the fitness of Jordan Henderson as he limped off in Monday’s win over Bournemouth. If he is unable to play, Roberto Firmino may push for a first league start, though his fitness is still questionable. Daniel Sturridge, Joe Allen and Jon Flanagan are all still sidelined.

Key Points

Arsenal’s form: L/W

Liverpool’s form: W/W

Key Stat: There has not been a 0-0 draw between these two sides since January 1999.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean star started at Crystal Palace last week after coming on as a sub in the opening loss to West Ham. This will be his first home start of the campaign and he can be expected to be a constant threat.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool – Expecting a very tight contest between two sides who have yet to hit the kind of form they will want to this year. This is always a huge fixture but it has perhaps come too early and so the goals might not fly in like they did last year. Arsenal to edge it by one goal.

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Premier League Prediction: Arsenal vs West Ham United

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. West Ham United 

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Sunday, August 9 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – West Ham United 9/1

Match Preview

Arsenal play host to West Ham United on Sunday as they kickstart their season at the Emirates Stadium after winning the Community Shield last Sunday.

The general consensus now suggests that the Gunners are genuine title contenders and with the addition of veteran ‘keeper Petr Cech, they now have arguably the best defensive unit in the league.

There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger has an incredibly talented group of attackers at his disposal and now he has arguably the strongest squad since the ‘invincibles’ side of 2004.

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They will expect to start the new year with three points in front of their own fans against their London rivals here.

West Ham come into the new season with new coach Slaven Bilic replacing Sam Allardyce at the helm in what will be the Hammers’ final season at the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham will be hoping to match the early season form of last term which saw them in the top four at Christmas, but a trip to the Emirates presents a very stiff test on the opening weekend, especially off the back of their Europa League game on Thursday night.

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Consistency is key for the Hammers this season as they lost pace in the latter half of the season and another collapse of that magnitude could see them lose their Premier League status if they are not careful.

The arrival of Dimitri Payet is an exciting one but he may not get the space he needs to create chances at Arsenal this weekend.

Team News

Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky for the opening day. Jack Wilshere is out for around 6-8 weeks but could return sooner. Alexis Sanchez is unlikely to start as he is not yet fit enough. Hector Bellerin is set to get the nod at right-back.

West Ham United are without Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia, who are both out with knee injuries. Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien and Pedro Obiang are doubts but should be fit to start. Carl Jenkinson won’t feature against his parent club.

Key Points

Arsenal’s preseason form: W/W/W/W/W

West Ham United’s preseason form: W/W/D/W/W/L/D/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: Arsenal have only lost two of their last 37 home matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Petr Cech – The big Czech stopper was sensational in the Community Shield and his experience will be key to their title challenge this term.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 3-0 West Ham United – It’s easy to back Arsenal as they are in superb form and look very hard to beat. Expect them to be too strong for West Ham, who were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Arsenal

Premier League Final Position: 3rd

Review

Arsenal end the 2014/15 Premier League season in third place, sealing automatic qualification into the Champions League for the first time in three years. That is clearly good news for Gunners fans but the wait for a title extends to 11 years and that will frustrate supporters. The league was arguably not at its strongest this term and Arsenal will feel they missed an opportunity in not challenging for the title over the entire course of the season. An FA Cup trophy for the second year running would deem the season a success, and so a lot is riding on that game at Wembley.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

Arsenal’s impressive 2-0 win at Manchester City in January was a huge result for the club, and was certainly their best moment of the campaign. Arsene Wenger’s side lost 6-3 at the Etihad last season so the victory and clean sheet will have delighted fans. The win at City was Arsenal’s only away victory against any side in the top nine though (P8 W1 D2 L5), and that’s an area that needs to be looked at.

Worst Moment

The 2-0 loss at Southampton on New Year’s Day was probably the worst moment in Arsenal’s season. The defeat came at a time when the Gunners were in fine form after a good run over Christmas and the controversies surrounding Wojciech Szczesny after the game left a dark cloud over the club for a while. The Polish ‘keeper was at fault for both Southampton goals and was caught smoking in the showers after the loss. David Ospina was then made first-choice for the remainder of the campaign.

Player of the Year

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Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean attacker has enjoyed an excellent first season in England and ends the league campaign with 16 goals. His goals have fired the Gunners to a third place finish and an FA Cup final, in which he will look to score his 25th of the season in all competitions.

Biggest Win

Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa (February 1, 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal (October 5, 2014)

Southampton 2-0 Arsenal (January 1, 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Arsenal have been consistent over the past two years and look to be just a signing or two from being real title contenders over the course of a season, rather than just for a few months. Wenger needs to assess the team’s performances against the big sides again though as winning just one away game against the top nine is not good enough. Their only win against any side in the top five came at City, and so performances against the bigger sides must improve if Arsenal are to claim a first title in 12 years next May.

STATS: Who had the better Premier League season – Hazard or Sanchez?

Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard were two of the top performers in the Premier League this season and have left fans disputing who is the better player.

Hazard won the PFA Player of the Year, beating Sanchez to the award and it came as no surprise that the two were nominated.

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Sanchez was easily one of the best signings of the season and Arsenal fans will be hoping Wenger will continue to bring in top quality players.

The two are considered to be similar players, so how did they perform in key attacking areas over the course of the Premier League season? Having looked at their performances earlier in the season, the two are still just as hard to split now the season is over.

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Key Passes Shot Accuracy Successful Take-ons Duels Won
Hazard 38 14 9 87% 91 59% 180 65%
Sanchez 35 16 8 77% 71 62% 115 50%

Sanchez ends the season with a better goals-per-game ratio but Hazard impressively featured in all 38 games of Chelsea‘s campaign.

Hazard had more assists, better pass accuracy, more key passes and 65 more successful take-ons. The Belgian superstar bettered Sanchez in the majority of the key attacking areas.

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Chelsea’s key man was beaten on shot accuracy, which ultimately showed with Sanchez’s goal output. The two are incredibly hard to split but winning the Premier League certainly helps to sway the argument in favour of Hazard.

Sanchez can show his worth to Arsenal yet again this weekend as he prepares for his first chance of silverware at the club in the FA Cup final.

This is going to be key battle and talking point for years to come in the Premier League as both seem to be settled at their clubs.

Liverpool legend urges Arsenal to strengthen this summer

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has urged Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad this summer.

The comments come as Arsenal drew 1-1 against Manchester United on Sunday, and Souness suggested that to win the title, Arsenal would need to strengthen over the summer.

“Forget spine, forget any names, if you’re a big football club and you’re not strengthening, you’re standing still as all the other big clubs will be strengthening.” Souness said on Sky Sports.

Arsenal’s title drought has stretched another year and it’s now eleven years without winning the league for the Gunners.

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A topic that has sparked debate is Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy recently. Arsenal have made a marquee signing in each of the last two summer transfer windows, adding Mesut Ozil in 2013 and Alexis Sanchez in 2014.

Both players have been brilliant recently and Souness has suggested that Arsenal should once again look to spend big in the market.

Should Arsenal look to strengthen again it would be interesting to see who they target, as it seems that they will be competing with rivals: Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea for the biggest names available.

Do Arsenal need to strengthen this summer, and which players should they be looking at?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, May 17th – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man United 6/4 – Draw 23/10 – Arsenal 7/4

Match Preview

Manchester United entertain Arsenal on Sunday in a showdown fixture in the battle for third place. United are currently fourth on 68 points. Arsenal are two points ahead in third but have played a game less. If the Gunners win this one they cannot be caught by United and will therefore guarantee a top three finish.

United come into the game off the back of a 2-1 win away at Crystal Palace which ended their three game losing streak.

Louis Van Gaal’s men have all but secured Champions League football for next season but will do everything possible to avoid the burden of the qualifying rounds for finishing fourth, and a win against Arsenal would help them on their way to a top three finish.

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Arsene Wenger has added importance to the tie and is hoping to ensure his side avoid the Champions League qualifiers early next season.

Arsenal come into this after suffering a shock defeat at home to Swansea City on Monday night which was their first loss in ten games.

The Gunners haven’t won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2006 and will be hoping to put an end to that run.

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This game has the potential to be a classic and with so much at stake for both clubs it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

United fans will expect a result in their final home game of the campaign but Arsenal have already won there this season in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, though the Red Devils did win the reverse league fixture at the Emirates by the same scoreline.

Team News

United have suffered a huge blow as captain, Wayne Rooney, is set to miss out. Louis Van Gaal’s side have the longest injury list in the league with the likes of Michael Carrick, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Rafael all set to miss out. Robin Van Persie could be in line to start against his former club but is currently unwell so his situation will be monitored over the weekend.

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Arsenal have three injury concerns ahead of this one as Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all ruled out. Wenger could be set to make a few changes after Monday’s performance against Swansea, but given that was a shock result he will not want to upset the balance of his side ahead of such a big game.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: W/L/L/L/W

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: It has been nine years since Wenger’s side won a league game at Old Trafford and he has a great chance to put that trend to bed this weekend.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal’s goal-machine has the chance to stamp his mark on the Old Trafford faithful after a superb first season in England.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal – A fixture which rarely fails to disappoint will live up to expectation this weekend. United’s injury woes will hamper their chances of winning and Wenger will not let his side blow their third spot easily. Expect goals but the shares may be spoiled with little to separate them.

STATS: Who is more influential – Rooney or Sanchez?

With this weekend’s showdown battle for third place between Manchester United and Arsenal fast approaching, Lewis Addley looks at who has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Wayne Rooney or Alexis Sanchez?

The two attackers go head-to-head in arguably their most important fixture of the season after Arsene Wenger’s comments regarding the difference coming third can make in terms of transfers. The game has added importance as the victor will edge closer to securing third place and will therefore avoid the Champions League qualifiers.

This has been another transitional season for United and it looks like Louis Van Gaal is getting closer to the side he wants and bringing United back to the top level.

Rooney has been used in a number of different roles this season and the United captain has remained very professional about it. He is still arguably the best striker for the Red Devils and his qualities have made him the stand out attacking option in the United side.

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Sanchez’s first season with Arsenal has been brilliant. He was nominated for PFA Player of the Year and he has been the difference in many of his side’s games.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Rooney 32 12 10 85% 45 51% 43% 38
Sanchez 32 16 8 77% 72 64% 51% 111

Having both played the same number of games, Rooney’s goal output is still impressive. It is lower than previous seasons, but being used in a midfield role on occasions certainly hasn’t helped. Sanchez does have a better goals-per-game ratio than the England captain.

Rooney has more assists, which isn’t surprising given he plays a more central role, and has a more successful pass rate. Surprisingly though, Sanchez has created more chances, as his ability to get his head down and run at defences makes him a very tough player to stop.

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Sanchez has a far greater success rate when it comes to take-ons which also gives him a better ‘duels won’ percentage.

Both are playing in similar squads and are certainly the key players when looking at offensive options.

Their battle this weekend will help to show who can perform at the highest level under immense pressure. Rooney could well edge it with the home crowd behind him but Sanchez will look to hurt the Red Devils where possible.

Who do you think is the more influential player, Rooney or Sanchez?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Arsenal vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Swansea City

Venue: Emirates Stadium – Monday, May 11th – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Arsenal 30/100 – Draw 9/2 – Swansea 8/1

Match Preview

Arsenal take on Swansea City in this week’s Monday night fixture as the Gunners prepare to cap off the weekend’s action for the second consecutive week.

Arsenal faced Hull away last Monday in a game they won 3-1, extending their unbeaten run to ten, with nine of those wins.

The only game they have failed to win in their last nine was their last home game in which they had to settle for a 0-0 draw against the new champions Chelsea.

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Arsene Wenger has seen his side put in some excellent performances since the turn of the year and the home fans will be expecting to see of Swansea on Monday night.

The Swans have enjoyed their best-ever Premier League season under Garry Monk and come into the game off back-to-back wins against Newcastle and Stoke.

Swansea have been fairly good away from home this season, winning six times, but have not won in London this campaign with this game at the Emirates and a trip to Crystal Palace still to come.

The reverse fixture saw Swansea come from behind to beat the Gunners 2-1 and Arsenal have only won three of the last eight meetings between the two in all competitions, with the Welsh outfit also picking up three wins.

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This should be closer than the odds suggest but Arsenal need the points more as they look to finish second in the Premier League come the end of the season.

Team News

Arsenal have five injury concerns ahead of this one as Danny Welbeck, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all ruled out, while Aaron Ramsey will face a late fitness test after being forced off against Hull last week.

Swansea will be without Jordi Amat, Tom Carroll, Kyle Naughton, Nelson Oliveira and Wayne Routledge, while Kyle Bartley and Bafetimbi Gomis are both doubts.

Key Points

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Swansea’s last five: W/D/L/W/W

Key Stat: Swansea have scored six goals in the last 15 minutes in their last five league games against Arsenal. Patience.

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – Hard to overlook the Chilean, who has been phenomenal all season, and added another two goals in the win against Hull last week. He has 16 goals this season and will be a real threat again.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Swansea – Expecting a tight game and the Swans will be confident with their recent record against the Gunners. But Arsenal look too strong and will seal a first win in three against the Welsh club.

STATS: Who is more influential – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Ahead of Sunday’s London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea Lewis Addley looks at which winger has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard.

The two have both been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, which comes as no surprise given how key they are to their sides.

The attackers go head-to-head this weekend and either player can produce that moment of magic to win the game – something that could lead to an entertaining game.

Sanchez has proved to be a hit since joining Arsenal from FC Barcelona for £35 million last summer and he has proved to be the attacking talent they have been missing in recent seasons.

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Hazard has arguably been Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons and his £32 million transfer from LOSC Lille in 2012 seems to be even more of a bargain with each passing season.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Sanchez 29 14 8 77% 67 65% 50% 102
Hazard 32 13 8 87% 87 60% 65% 153

Sanchez has a better goals-per-game ratio, having played three games less than Hazard. The Chilean also boasts a better shot accuracy when compared to the Belgian wide man.

The two are very closely matched statistically, both racking up eight assists, but Hazard does have the edge in passing, creating 20 more chances and having 10% better pass accuracy.

Hazard is also ahead on duels won and successful take-ons, but given that he has played as an out-and-out winger compared to a striker, where Sanchez has played for a number of games this season, that is not surprising.

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Chelsea’s key man is two years younger than Sanchez and with the two tied down to long contacts this could be an interesting comparison for seasons to come.

At the moment they seem to be near on inseparable, but if we have to pick an overall winner it would be difficult not to side with Sanchez.

The Chilean is playing in a squad which arguably isn’t as strong as the league leaders’ and doesn’t have a midfielder duo on the same level as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic constantly supplying him the ball.

Both players are performing at the highest level and are unbelievably exciting to watch.

Their battle this weekend is set to be yet another exciting event and may help decide who has the edge, Sanchez or Hazard.

Who do think is more influential to their side – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Burnley vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Burnley vs. Arsenal

Venue: Turf Moor – Saturday, April 12 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Burnley 5/1 – Draw 16/5 – Arsenal 8/15

Match Preview

Burnley host the in-form Arsenal in the Premier League‘s evening game at Turf Moor this Saturday as their battle against relegation continues.

Burnley have just one win in their last ten games, but it has to be noted that was against the champions Manchester City at Turf Moor and they come into this game off the back off a 0-0 draw against Tottenham.

The Clarets are currently sitting 19th in the Premier League table and are running out of time to save themselves from the drop.

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With every team in the bottom five on the edge, their fight will still have many twists and turns but they have to start picking up points and it doesn’t come much tougher than this.

Arsenal are the in-form team in the league after winning their last seven on the bounce, which has made them Chelsea’s closest rivals for the title and they’ve pushed themselves up into second in the table.

Arsene Wenger‘s men have clicked into form at a vital stage of the season and this run will certainly help them attract big names in the summer.

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Sean Dyche‘s men have to take the same approach to this tie as they did from their astonishing win over Man City almost a month ago and they need to make their home advantage count during this run-in if they are to stay up.

It should be a tough, hard-fought tie with both sides having so much to play for at this stage of the season.

Team News

Burnley are set to have five sidelined as Steven Reid, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Kevin Long and Matt Taylor are all recovering from injuries. Sean Dyche will be hoping forward George Boyd can produce another moment of magic to continue his latest stint of giant killing.

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Arsenal will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczęsny will be fighting to be fit following minor injuries. Wenger will need his goal-machine Olivier Giroud to keep the goals coming as he has seven in his last six. His partnership with Alexis Sanchez has proved to be a hit.

Key Points

Burnely’s last five: L/L/W/L/D

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Winning Streak – Arsenal’s seven-game winning streak has seen them climb up into second and a push for the title is an aim even this late on. Their next game against Chelsea is possibly the biggest Premier League tie of the season.

Key Player: Olivier Giroud – An easy choice. Giroud is the man in form and now has a better strike-rate this season than fellow forward Alexis Sanchez. The Frenchman has notched an impressive 14 goals in 20 games.

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Score Prediction

Burnley 1-3 Arsenal – Arsenal’s momentum will overpower a spirited Burnley side fighting for their Premier League status.