Friday, August 12, 2022

3 Areas Where Arsenal Can Hurt Liverpool In The Highlight Fixture Of The Opening Weekend

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Arsenal will be taking on Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday for their season opener. It has been a rough period for Arsene Wenger with two important defenders getting injured. Laurent Koscielny has just returned to training after his extended spell with the international team in the Euro Cup 2016, which means he would not be starting the game anyway. The Gunners would face the visitors with a makeshift backline, which opposition manager Jürgen Klopp would be keen on exploiting. Despite the problems at the back, it’s not all doom and gloom for Arsenal and let’s see how the Gunners can hurt their opposition on 14th August.

Solid Midfield Base To Control Tempo

Summer signing Granit Xhaka is in line to make his debut on Sunday. He is most likely to be paired with Francis Coquelin, which will give the deep midfield of the host’s exceptional defensive solidity. The presence of Xhaka would also mean that Arsenal can continue to control possession as well as the tempo of the game, not letting Liverpool speed up things, the style on which Klopp’s gameplay thrives on. Regulating the pace of the tie would thus be very significant; the Gunners do seem to have the personnel in the midfield to do it. If done properly, it would boost their chances of getting maximum points out of the tie.

Pace On The Flanks

Arsenal would have the likes of Alexis and Oxlade-Chamberlain occupying the flanks on each side with Gibbs and Bellerin providing the support from their respective fullback positions. All these players have great pace, with abilities to get in behind the defence making penetrative runs. While Clyne is a very good al round defender, there are question marks over the defensive abilities of Moreno.

The penetrative wing play would be Arsenal’s most dominant threat against Liverpool in the tie. The nature of attacks from both flanks would differ a bit with Alexis cutting infield more often as Chamberlain would look to hit the bylines and whip his deliveries in from there. With intelligent shuffling of the attacking zones, Liverpool would be up for a real battle of their own at the back.

Impact Subs and 2nd Half

Liverpool would be battering Arsenal with their high-intensity pressing in the first half and would try and win the game in the first 45 minutes while the makeshift defence would still be trying to find their footing on the pitch. Arsenal would look to counter the threat of Gegenpressing by countering the counter attacks. In the first half, the intensity would be very high but in the 2nd half expectedly it’s going to drop a bit and that is where Arsene Wenger’s men can hurt Liverpool.

Wenger will have some impact players like Campbell, Iwobi, Ramsey (depending on the starting lineup) to come on and make their mark on the game,  taking advantage of the spaces which will be on offer more and more as the match nears its end.

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