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Arsenal vs. Liverpool

Emirates Stadium

03/04/08

12:45

On Sky

Arsenal V Liverpool

Arsenal will have to put any thoughts of the Champions League to one side on Saturday afternoon when Liverpool once again take to the field at The Grove, this time in a game that Arsenal simply have to win if they are to keep their slim hopes of a victorious Premiership campaign alive.

Liverpool also need to win in order to cement their Champions League place for next season. A victory over local rivals Everton saw them move five points clear of the blue half of Merseyside.

Arsenal dominated the game on Wednesday, and should have won comfortably. Were it not for Mascherano's powerful midfield performance, things may well have been very different.

I wouldn't expect the game on Saturday to be much different. Liverpool will come out and play a little more than they did on Wednesday, but that wouldn't be hard. I've seen more expansive football at the Reebok than I saw from Liverpool on Wednesday.

Arsenal are likely to dominate as they did in the Champions League and with Liverpool likely to play more, I'd expect more goals from Arsenal this time round.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger says Van Persie is a major doubt for Saturday: 'At the moment it is 80 per cent no and 20 per cent yes. But he has had a scan this afternoon and he is better today than he was last night.

That is positive for a muscle problem. But we'll know much more about it on Friday morning.


Wenger revealed that Adebayor has an ankle injury: 'We also have Adebayor who has a little ankle problem. We'll see how he is tomorrow.

'I hope he'll be OK. But the time is so short between the games it is very difficult to make a decision the morning after the game.

'You don't know if it is a bruise or a little twist and the first 24 hours doesn't tell you a lot about that.'

Arsenal Team News:

As Wenger just told us, Van Persie is unlikely to play after being forced off at half time in the last game against the Scousers.

Rosicky and Sagna will both miss out, but Wenger is hopeful that he'll have Bacary back for Arsenal's trip to Old Trafford.

Walcott is almost certain to start. With Eboue out it could be on the wing, but with Van Persie out, and Adebayor facing a fitness test, he could partner Bendtner up front.

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

The Spainiard was far from his best on Wednesday. He played far too deep for far too long. He'll be keen to make up for that on Saturday. He'll keep Gerrard and Mascherano busy.

Liverpool Team News:

Liverpool will have only Kewel and Agger missing, as they did for the last game.

Player to watch: Xabi Alonso

I did have Mascherano, but the FA have today hit him with a further two match ban following his red card at United two weeks ago.

Instead I'll go with the man that will be charged with taking on his role on Saturday - Alonso. He definantly doesn't have the bite of Mascherano, but he's still a fantastic player.

Match Prediction:

I'm going to plump for a 2-1 home win. We deserved to win the Champions League game, and I think the lads will be looking to settle the score. At least they better be after I managed to get a ticket to the game! With a bit of luck I haven't just condemed us to defeat.

Next Fixtures:

The teams meet again on Tuesday for the third consecutive game.

If Liverpool get the better of Arsenal on Saturday, then it will become an even bigger game for Arsenal than it is at the moment.




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 3 2008

Time: 8:30PM

Your Comments

You must be getting bored of writing this match preview :)
Boro 01
Mascherano won't play, will he? Is he not suspended?
Cheese.
Is Mascherano even playing Saturday? I heard he received a further two match ban...
SUX2BU
Massa is not playing. Change the danger man to reina!
Goofle
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_3379684,00.html
SUX2BU
Anyway, quite an early match preview, but I'm guessing it's because Simmo wants to get these 'Pool ones over and done with. I just hope that the match prediction is right. But it's going to be hard with all those injuries we have. Options are running out in front.
Cheese.
Seemslike Lou might have been right to be optimistic about Sagna's recovery powers, he has an outside chance of making OT.
Little Dutch
Sagna's a warrior!
jaelle
I really hope he can, LD. That will be a big boost for the team and, that way, we can also give Kolo a much needed rest. I really hope Sagna comes back as soon as possible as he has been our most consistent player this season.
Cheese.
Monster Masch wont play, 'tis a shame for us but could be a blessing as far as the CL is concerned.
JonLFC
You are right, JonLFC!
Bosko-Macedonia
Why is Eboue out? But 'Monster Masch' as they call him on Merseyside is suspended, but it doesn't matter I doubt they'd play him Torres or Gerrard. The CL is all they've got, I don't think Rafa would risk whatever decent players he has. I'd expect the simply terrifying partnership of Crouch and Voronin to start, and not get one shot on target. Liverpool will ahve one and a half eyes on Europe. A very comfortable 3-0 home win methinks.
super_gooner
Jon beat me to it, I wanted to use that nickname, because credit where it's due, it's a goodun
super_gooner
Mascherano is an awesome player, I'm very glad he can't play. Sagna was very much missed in our last two games, look up the word 'consistency' in the dictionary and you'll see his face.
Little Dutch
Really LD? I'd really love to see Sagna Bac! But I didn't see that piece of news on arsenal.com or other sites. Anyway, fingers and toes and everything crossed. Oh, while Sagna has an outside chance, Vidic has none - he's out 2-3 weeks. If RvP can also come back before then, perfetto! (Er, should I be more optimistic about Rosicky too?)
Lou the Gunneress
Well Wenger might also play some of the 2nd string - Hoyte, Traore, Denilson, Song. Rather, I hope he does, coz we have 2 tough games after that.
prits
prits, I don't think we can do that just yet. the 'Pool game will be hard, and we can't field a CC side.
Cheese.
"simply terrifying partnership of Crouch..." Need I remind you of Crouchy's hat-trick? ;)
Aamir
Oh yeah, just saw the Wenger quote on arsenal.com: "But Sagna is making good progress. Manchester United is the earliest for him. We are trying everything we can to get him back for that game. But we'll know more when he starts to run outside and he has not begun that." Woohoo!! :D
Lou the Gunneress
I expect you'll probably win this... But only by 1 goal I think. It'll be a tight affair.
The_Legend_Of_Zola
Maybe they'll play there b team and give you a chance, I wonder if Bendtner will be playing or if he's in the naughty chair this week. Or maybe Arsen Wenger will get his slipper out, bend him over the table and give it to him....... The slipper that is, before your tounge starts dripping jaelle.
YidEdy
We are really tired at this stage of the season. Players like Fabregas seem to never get a breather unless they get injured. Other players like Van Persie never get to play because they are always injured. I worry about Cesc. I really do. He's 20 and has played far too many minutes. He must be mentally and physically exhausted. To get past Liverpool, we need more, something unexpected from our rested players like Bendtner and Walcott. It would be the best time for these two to come of age.
Gael-Force
Our squad depth is pathetic. I know that's hardly news but i can't believe it at times especially when compared to other top teams fighting for two trophies. Noone proven on the bench except Jens and Bert. AW must stop kidding himself. He's running his starting eleven into the ground. We don't even have real wingers. Arsene, where is the much-maligned war chest. We could sure use some of that cash. I feel bad for the team as they've given everything. AW must help them out and balance the squad.
Gael-Force
YidEdy, check this out son: 'Spurs 1 Newc 4'. now goodbye.. your club is a joke. no self-respecting top football club gets trashed at home like that with their first team out. Man What a beating your boys got. Good old spurs: bunch of jokers.
Gael-Force
Gael force, you forget that they were playing Keegans Newcastle. The Messiah is back
paul_ownz
i think the way we played in mid-week didnt help you lot at all. we sat back and let you attack all the second half nd at the end of the game our plan worked because every arsenal player look really really tired, i expect that to show on saturday and it could well show even more on wednesday if the game goes the same way. its becoming the end of the season and it would be pretty remarkable if you could play like that in all 3 games and to top it off all the arsenal players haven't been to anfield on a european night which could make them already tired legs even heavier. good luck anyway for the rest of the season apart from the next 2 games :) god knows you deserve to get something out of it after the way you lot have played this season.
muffdaddy1983
This game is potentially massive, so many ramifications, i can see this one leading to our downfall on the Tues, who the fk have we got to play in our 1st XI's shoes? Answer - we aint. Scouse will play a wierd 2nd string hybrid and a completely different formation to what they will on Tues - just to try and mess with our youngun's brains. Hope Ade don't play.
AFC85Lew
simple prediction - a win
MYgood-ners
Cheese - Wenger could well afford to rest a few players coz Rafa will undoubtedly do the same. I dont expect Gerrard or Torres to start, and Masch is suspended.
prits
But we don't have the players to bring in. Unless we play Song or Gilberto ahead of Flamini, or Hoyte at right back. Neither of which I would do.
Little Dutch
Aamir, I don't get your point. Baptista scored 4 against your lot, but he's considered one of the worst players to wear the famous red and white. Strange, but true. I wouldn't take that lump back if all our strikers were injured. And no mention of Voronin, obviously a hit with the scousers!
super_gooner
super_gooner, Crouch may not be world class but he is a good one, and our defense has trouble with tall strikers like him, I'd prefer not to see him on the pitch against us right now given the way our defense is leaking stupid goals. muffdaddy, thanks for the good wishes and recognition of everything our boys have given this season. Frustrating to see how this small squad of kids have given everything this season, fighting so hard and may not win anything, while Utd cruise thru the PL and CL with nearly every team capitulating to them so easily.
jaelle
Well super_gooner, Aamir's point is simple, Crouch not only got a shot on target, he actually scored three goals against The Arsenal. Also he got a few shots on target against The Arsenal in the league game at Anfield earlier this season. And for a player who hardly started this season, he still scored eight goals. Your defense will not be comfortable with him if he gets a supply of crosses from the wings. By the way, Baptista scored against our reserve team, while Crouch did it against your first team.
JohnDoe
scousers must be favourites now but you never know
mick66owl
Voronin isn't a hit with the scousers but I would like to hit him :) PROVE ME WRONG ANDRIY, PROVE ME WRONG!!
JonLFC
away goals may win this one im afraid
mick66owl
I couldn't agree more with you Jon! I was counting down the days till we sold him but maybe he'll impress us now! (Well, a man can dream) ;)
Aamir
Am I the only one worried about the defence..?
Lou the Gunneress
"I'd expect the simply terrifying partnership of Crouch and Voronin to start, and not get one shot on target" You were saying super_gooner?
JohnDoe
Crouch was really good and I fully expected our defence, short of height, to have a tough time dealing with him. But Voronin... Anyway, you could see a draw coming when they showed that line-up.
Lou the Gunneress
JohnDoe, nobody doubts Crouch's ability, just that super_gooner as his name indicates was just optimistic. No need to dwell on Crouch who's also playing for his future having waited after Torres and Kuyt the whole season.
Lou the Gunneress
Lou the Gunneress, I would call him arrogant, not optimistic. Voronin was terrible, really bad miss in the second half says it all., I would hate to lose Crouch, he's a good striker, but he won't be satisfied with mostly sitting on the bench and playing the odd game. I fully expect him to leave in the summer.
JohnDoe
JohnDoe, chill, it's a good away point for you guys. Look, even I'm not that upset lol. If you say some of our good players were useless, I wouldn't get mad. It's just normal that some players don't get due recognition outside of the club. People have no idea how great Sagna, Clichy and Hleb are, apart from Gooners. I happen to think, while he might look awkward sometimes, Crouchie is a useful striker. I just don't particularly enjoy watching him, that's all. Relax. Look forward to Part III of the classic trilogy. :)
Lou the Gunneress
I'm just hoping that the next game doesn't end in 1-1 as well, because I don't to go to penalties. The boys did they're best, they should put this behind them and focus on the next game. I'm actually not too gutted about this result. Yes, now the title is pretty much beyond or grasp, but maybe the opportunity of getting revenge on Tuesday will help them get a much deserved win (following Wednesday's display). Some players should be better rested now for the next 'Pool game. I just worry for Fabregas and Flamini, though. I don't know when they'll get their much needed rests. Fabregas especially looks mentally and physically tired. Flamini has given 120% so many times this season that he deserves a bit of a breather as well. If the next two of our games end in wins, I don't care what happens for the remainder of our PL season, although, wins would be nice. :)
Cheese.
Lou the Gunneress, I'm not upset. I just hated all the arrogant talk from some Arsenal fans since our clubs drew each other in the CL. We had Arsenal fans coming to our site saying that they are confidant that they'll win all three games. Some said that Arsenal is superior to Liverpool in every department. Others said that Liverpool had no chance of advancing etc... I have no problem with fans confidant in their team's ability, but I for one would never say that Liverpool will definitely win any game, no matter who the opposition is. It just shows a disrespect to the other team.
JohnDoe
Yeah Cheese, I try not to feel sorry for ourselves after all we've been through. Just can't help but worry about the key players especially Cesc and Flam (who only missed a handful of games this season). We're incredibly stretched. This is where I think some of the Gooners would come in and say Arsene should have strengthened in Jan to avoid burn-out blah blah blah. No point going there now. I'm still very very proud of the lads. It's games like these at this stage of the season that we see where our limits are. They've really done the best they possibly could given the circumstances/resources. Again, all backs to the wall now, fasten your seatbelt, Anfield will be another tough ride.
Lou the Gunneress
JD I know, there's a fine line between optimism/support and delusion/arrogance, so fine that it's sometimes invisible to some. I dare say the majority of us do respect for your club. Actually there's truth in the belief that "we can beat anyone on our day" but so can you guys, so can Chelsea, so can ManU, so can quite a few top clubs. That's it really. They didn't mean to insult people on your site. (If you don't believe me, compare and contrast that with those comments between "some other London clubs" lol.) It's just (sometimes blind) optimism and adrenaline really. Anyway, some of those "predictions" were proven wrong so let's leave it at that.
Lou the Gunneress
Lou the Gunneress, How can I refuse a request from a fan as sensible as yourself :-) . And the respect is mutual, I've said here before, If we don't win the CL, I'd like Arsenal to win it.
JohnDoe
That first half must be the biggest piecd of Gash i have seen this season. Picked it up in the second half, and if perhaps Hleb could of controlled it at the end we may have one. Toure, Hleb & Adebayor look like they can barely stand let alone run. Lets hope we can go through Tuesday and rest some of these players for the semis.
paul_ownz
john doe. all tubby has to do is play crouch and torres on tuesday, the goons cant handle the physical and long ball game, simple really!!
springy
our season is on the line on tuesday, because if we go through, it will be a real boost to the club and help our league form too. i dun think we are totally out of the title race yet, but i dont want to think about the title now. i want us to reach the 86 point mark which would be a massive massive achievement for this team..
luckys_10
and all the moaners here including me too, i just have one message for all of you. now is not the time to dwell about our lack of squad depth, or considering the future of our injury prone stars, or criticising the team, the coach staffing and everything that is responsible for our poor form over the last few weeks. the team needs now more than ever before. our season is on the line on tuesday. i know the lads will give everything they have for the club, and that is why it is fundamental that we give them all our support, more than we've ever given them in the past, because they need us now more than they've ever needed us. if we win the CL, it would well be the greatest season ever in our club's history, so really we have no time to dwell now, we have the European Cup to win..
luckys_10
and i have a request to make to all the travelling Gooners who will be at Anfield on tuesday. lads i want all of you to have lost your voices at the end of the night, because only then would we have a chance to be in the semis. the lads need us, i wish i could be there too, but you all will be there, so bring the roof down at Anfield and make a mockery of the great liverpool support compared to us. it's now or never for us. i don't think anyone of us can wait till August to start dreaming and believing that this is going to be our season, because these four months before August will be really long and very painful to each one of us. so IT'S NOW lads. lets be the best 12th man the football world has ever seen at Anfield. COME ON YU GUNNERS..
luckys_10
Cheers Luckys. No matter what happens in CL next week, we should still fight for 2nd spot to have a bit to show for the lads' great effort. Though as it is, 3rd and 8 points above Liverpool is still great improvement on last year, it'd help also to avoid the CL qualifiers next year and have a good pre-season.
Lou the Gunneress
yes Lou, but ***** next season. what i care about is now. these lads need a trophy for all their efforts that they have put in this season, and just imagine what a boost it will be for next season if they can win the CL and maybe even the league this season. and i am convinced we will finish in the top two this season, but whether as Champions or Runners-Up i still don't know. but for the sake of the team and The Boss, lets not forget what a massive effort he has put in to create a team that has challenged for all the major titles this season and still has a chance to win something big and make this season a success, and all this with such a shoe-string budget, no words are good enough to give him the credit he deserves. but i'll like to say one thing, Sir Herbert Chapman laid the foundations of our success and put us on the map, but i'll never be convinced that he was much better than Sir Arsene. Le Boss is GOD..
luckys_10
I know, I know. Have to admire your optimism. I think the title's gone, just gone. 2nd though is reasonably attainable. If ManU beat Chelsea, boom, we can just nick it on goal difference already. Of course that's assuming the lads keep going after the Anfield match next week no matter what the result. Personally today's performance, as much as result, has made it just a bit more difficult for me to stay confident about CL, but I still am.
Lou the Gunneress
 

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