Arsenal have won their first two matches of a Premier League season for the first time in a decade. However, their fixtures list has gotten much tougher after those opening games and they face a trip to Anfield next. Arsenal will receive a boost as Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have both returned to full first-team training.
Arsenal Get Mesut Ozil Boost Ahead of Anfield Clash
Arsenal were without both Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka for their 2-1 win over Burnley last weekend. The midfield trio of Dani Ceballos, Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock performed admirably in their absence.
However, Unai Emery will enjoy having additional midfield options when he faces off against Jurgen Klopp. The club has confirmed that long-term absentee Rob Holding has also rejoined first-team training. It is unlikely, however, for fans to see the English defender return in this match.
Liverpool had their best season since the start of the Premier League last year. The Reds pushed Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City all the way to the final day of the league season and only missed out on the trophy by a single point.
Then, of course, they went on to defeat Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final. Klopp’s men have begun this new season in much the same vein, beating both Norwich City and Southampton to start the new campaign.
They also won out on penalties against Chelsea in the European Supercup. In the same fixture last season, Arsenal were beaten heavily by a 5-1 scoreline. However, the Gunners stymied the Reds at home to earn a point.
Options for Emery
With the return of Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil, Unai Emery and Arsenal have plenty of options as far as their formation and starting XI. The Gunners used a 4-2-3-1 against Newcastle United and a flat 4-3-3 versus Burnley.
However, Unai Emery did use a back three against some big six opposition last season. As far as defensive solidity goes, this would likely yield better results. The manager is known to prefer a back four, however.
Emery will have a selection headache in midfield regardless of formation. The midfield trio did well last week so it would be harsh to see any of the three not get a start this weekend.
Liverpool have one of the best attacks in Europe at the moment, so it would make sense for Emery to line his side up in a back three. Because he will want to get both of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette on the pitch, a 3-5-2 is preferable.
As far as a scoreline, Arsenal will find life difficult at Anfield. While they had a terrific summer, their squad is simply not cut from the same cloth as Liverpool’s.
However, that does not mean this will be a one-sided match. Arsenal are more than capable of netting a goal or two and should provide excellent opposition at Anfield.
Predicted score: Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal
Embed from Getty Images