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Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Anfield

15/8/10

16:00

On Sky

Arsenal v. Liverpool

The season starts this weekend with Arsenal traveling to Anfield for a massive opening day encounter with wounded giants Liverpool. A year on and not much has changed for Arsenal. A handful of players have left while a couple have come in, as once again Arsene Wenger puts his utmost faith in the squad he has already assembled. The same can't be said about Liverpool. Much has changed with the Merseysiders. Rafael Bentiez out, Roy Hodgson in. Joe Cole swapped for Yossi Benayoun. But more importantly, a much needed change in tactics has swept over Anfield. All this makes for a mouthwatering contest. You can't lose the league on the first match, but wouldn't a cracking start be oh so great?!

Vital Quotes:

Arsenal is playing at Anfield again. Arshavin must be licking his chops. Arsene had this to say on the diminutive Russian: 'It was a massive blow for him to go out of the World Cup with Russia,' said the manager. He also had an end of season which was disturbed by many injuries.'

'But what I expect from him [this season] is that if he remains completely fit he can give the team everything. With his creative side he can be decisive, create chances and score goals. That is what you want from him.'

Liverpool Team News:

While Hodgson would like to get off to the best possible start, he'll most likely have to do that without his best striker. Torres has recovered faster than expected from a groin strain suffered in the World Cup Finals, but to risk him this early would be a unneeded gamble. Milan Jovanovic or more likely David Ngog will replace him at the forefront of the Liverpool attack. Also, Martin Skrtel is out with an ankle injury.

Player to watch: Joe Cole

Cole was the subject of one of the bigger transfer sagas of the silly season. We were interested in his services, as was Tottenham and several others abroad. In the end he choose Liverpool, which probably has much more to do with guaranteed playing time more than anything else. He'll feel liberated under Roy's new system at Liverpool, and I believe he'll be a great signing for them.

Arsenal Team News:

Well I wish I could bring you some sort of concrete news regarding our possible starting lineup, but what Wenger says to the media and what is actually going through his head are not often the same. Here is what I do know. Diaby is fully fit. Song and Denilson are in the squad. Cesc and van Persie will have fitness tests today. And Johan Djourou has a slight knock that will probably keep him out of Arsene's eleven.

In my humble opinion, I don't think Denilson and Song will start. Diaby might get the nod, if Cesc isn't fit enough for match action. However, I feel our captain will be ready. I think he'll just be able recover in time from his 87 minutes of World Cup play. Also, I believe Robin van Persie won't be available, nor should he. If anyone deserves a rest for his summer exploits, it's our flying Dutchman. Considering all of this, my best guess at a starting lineup is probably going to be wrong.

Predicted Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy, Diaby, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh

Player to watch: Marouane Chamakh

With Eduardo gone, Bendtner injured, and van Persie wrapped in cotton wool, new signing Marouane Chamakh will lead the Arsenal line. He is an experienced forward with plenty of ability to lead the line. He has formed a nice understanding with Samir Nasri during preseason, and I'm sure he'll be very eager to prove himself in England as fast as possible.

Chamakh! Chamakh! Chamakh! Chamakh! Chamakh!

Match Facts & Stats

This is the 173rd time Liverpool and Arsenal have met. Liverpool lead by 68 wins to 60, with 44 draws

Liverpool have won only three of their last 18 Premier League games against Arsenal.

If Liverpool win, it will be their 2000th victory in league football.

Andrey Arshavin has had six shots at Anfield and scored five goals.

Ref Watch:

Martin Atkinson is the head official for tomorrow's match.

Match Prediction:

I'm obviously worried about our defence to start the season, but I don't think it will cost us too much tomorrow. Neither team will be firing on all cylinders, but with the atmosphere buzzing, I believe the game will be buzzing as well. 4-4 anyone?

Next Fixtures:

21/8 (Sat) - Blackpool (h) - Premier League

28/8 (Sat) - Blackburn (a) - Premier League

11/9 (Sun) - Bolton (h) - Premier League




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 14 2010

Time: 1:59PM

Your Comments

Well, it's finally here folks! Can't wait to get the new season underway.
gunnerkid107
Cheers Brice ! I will be at Anfield tomorrow and don't think you are far off on the starting 11. I will gladly take a point tomorrow, but a defeat is on the cards unfortunately. However, it won't be the end of the world.
Cockney Rich
You might be right Rich, but I can't help being the ever optimist, especially on the opening day!
gunnerkid107
Oh, I'll still shout myself hoarse for the boys tomorrow gk. Would feel alot more confident if we had a FULL strength side, but I can't remember the last time that we had one !!! I fancy Chamakh for a goal tomorrow, but fear it might be a ' consolation ' job.
Cockney Rich
Im sticking with my 1-1 prediction with Chamakh scoring our goal.
True-Gooner-Blood
I never meant to call into question your support CR. I was only saying personally I can't help but predict a positive result.
gunnerkid107
love playing arsenal, great team and tremendous fans. it's one fixture when both sets of supporters can honestly preview the match and assess each other's strengths and weaknesses without it descending to the traditional tit for tat bile. personally i think we will do pretty well this season but score draw tomorrow. old hat i know but you lads will do so much better if you can get a strong keeper in. given's not going to spend the season getting splinters up at city...
SH
Sorry to say but I don't have much optimism for our prospects tomorrow nor for the season. If anything we look a weaker outfit defensively than we have done for a few seasons and even more full of injuries. I truly fear this is the season things will catch up with us. We're playing for 3rd position.
Gooner_Vin
I can see a score draw too. Hopefully Andrey will do his magic again!
GoonerLou
I can see where quite a lot of us are coming from with that pessimism. But you know what, Woy is feeling equally negative about his own squad's condition at this moment, saying that they're 'a long, long way from being a team like Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea.' Maybe he's trying to fire up his players, maybe he's just being honest. But it's true that he's got a hell of a job to do at Anfield, and not just ahead of this game against us. So I'm with Gkid - cautious optimism. COME ON YOU GUNNERS, especially you Andrey and Marouanne!!! http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8652_6311393,00.html
GoonerLou
The feeling is mutual SH. Your set of fans are overall even more cracking than ours imo. The 2003-2004 invincible season brought us worldwide fame but the downside was that some fans with short memories and limited perspectives got on board. All the best tomorrow and may the better team on the day win.
Deltaforce
I personally can't see why RVP needs to be rested. He played all the games at the world cup but he did have 6 months off with injury before that. Plus he's in my fantasy football team and therefore needs to be in action scoring me some points :)
bowiecokemirror
not to mention de jong played for citeh today... what's the difference for RVP?
TPowell
I do worry about our defense but am still optimistic we can pull off a result at Anfield. It will be a cracking atmosphere, as Anfield always is. I see Cesc and RvP playing a role tomorrow. Good luck to the lads for the season.
Naijagunner
Decidedly nervous about tomorrow. CR, please give Reina a piece of your mind. No humiliating defeat please!
Sajit
agree with bowiecokemirror.. no reason why rvp and cesc shoudnt play.. if cesc was fit enough to play against mexico, then he should lead the players out in anfield.. almunia, sagna, vermalen, koscielny, clichy, diaby, fabregas, nasri, arshavin, rvp and chamakh to start.. wilshere, walcott, eboue to provide strenght on bench if needed.. 3-1 arsenal
McGooner
I reckon : Almunia, Sagna, TV5, Koscielny, Clichy, Nasri, Diaby, Cesc, Walcott, Vela, Chamakh.
Cockney Rich
My head is pounding my hearts about to explode Go You Gunners. I just hope I make another season. GV, sorry mate we are notplaying for third its a double season in front of us.
alwaysgunner
I don't know why you guys feel so nervous. It doesn't seem to matter who Wenger puts out you play great football. You have Cesc to run your mid-field and with your overall intuitive style of play you should sweep Pool away....at least 1-3 in my book. Hurts to say it but I think you can win it this season.
Harry-Kari
I think it may well be a bit of a cagey affair with neither team wanting to take unneccessary risks and not wanting to lose to a rival on the opening weekend of the season. I think there will be goals just not that many. I think to make any serious inroads in this match we need to win the midfield battle (which incidently against Liverpool, would be much more likely if we have Cesc) and not leave our defence exposed too much against the attacking threat of Cole, Gerrard and Torres.
True-Gooner-Blood
Yet another trophyless season beckons for the Gooners. Why can't you attrract big name players? - the only ones that come are either past it or show no bottle at all. As soon as the going gets just a little tough you fall away ....... no grit = the Gooners and a loss this afternoon is guarenteed as Liverpool will show some grit.
wswilly3
Liverpool may be full of grit Willy, but you are full of sh^t. Harry-Kiri, thanks for your good wishes, hope you are right.
Deltaforce
I actually dreamt about this game last night, Liverpool opened the scoring with Almunia making an error and Gerrard scored, we quickly equalised (Fabregas I think it was) but they scored again befored the half ended (can't remember who scored but it was through a defensive mistake). I woke up and didn't get to finish the game. And we were wearing the dark blue kit of last season for some reason.
gronedrone
No Cesc. Almunia, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue, Nasri, Diaby, Wilshere, Arshavin, Chamakh
gunnerkid107
Big day for Wilshere.
gronedrone
Nothing of note so far.. Everyone just getting a feel of it.
Sajit
Nervous nervous...
GoonerLou
Is Koscienly's leg broken? :(
Sajit
What a bunch of thugs are the Liverpool defence and mid-field. Cole deserved his Red card but several of them, including Gerrard should have seen at least Yellow by now.
Harry-Kari
Koscielny was playing so well..... It looked like a strained ankle..hope its just strained and not broken.
Deltaforce
We played well, Wilshere will have a big part to play this season by his performance so far. Joe Cole reckless idiot as always, Koscielny being carried off on a stretcher. Song will fill in I guess. If the injury to Kos is serious then we have to go into emergency spending and splash whatever on at least one CB although two are needed.
gronedrone
it doesnt look broken as harshas this sounds this may be a blessing in disguise if it pushes wenger into buying another CB
anonymous
id get Wilshere off, ref will be looking to even this up. Apparently Joe Cole aint that sort of player......
iceman10
anonymous, AW has made it clear that he would be looking to add a defender anyway. There is no blessing in disguise here and that is a very cold approach to take for an injury to one of our players.
Deltaforce
That's it. I am petitioning Arsene to go and buy Destructor Van Bommel and few other Dutchmen to come in as enforcers and protect our players. Day 1 of the season. ********s the lot of them out to knobbly our squad. How many more? Eh? Answer me that!
julieloveshenry4ever
It could only be a blessing in disguise if it forced him to buy two CB's. DF is right, Wenger was looking at CB anyway and this injury will leave us without a first choice CB, and there is no way that can be blessing.
gronedrone
Kos looks like a tough mother*****er :)
Sajit
I apologise if it seems that way I just remember in january AW said he would buy a forward and backed off because arshavin had a good game upfront and we paid for it... we are short in defence im just very anxious to get numbers. I dont want anyone injured especially arsenal players however that may hae scared AW into a decision by giving him a glimpse of how quickly we can be forced to using untested players
anonymous
******** bull*****
Sajit
L. Koscielny. Does the L stand for Lazarus?
lordjohnny
Poor decision by ref to send of Koscielny. Anyway, good point!
Gooner_Vin
Considering the awful second half performance, I'll surely take it. Good challenge by Chamakh on Reina led to that goal. Reina disrespected Arsenal by talking about Cesc being the future Barcelona captain, so he gets what he deserves.
gunnerkid107
Does anyone realize that we dont have a partner for Vermaelen for next match :|
Sajit
Not happy we were lucky to get a point. Dont know what is wrong with clichy but he seems to have lost a yard or two. Arshavin poor game. Diaby still wants to dribble the whole team then give the ball away. We seem to want to run backwards and forwards along their third of the pitch; there's no burst into the box. Oh well first game of the season, time to make and mend.
alwaysgunner
Its only Blackpool at home. We should be fine with Song slotting in or maybe Djorou will be fit?
gronedrone
You can't be too critical of our play, Anfield is a tough place to play at any time of the season let alone first game. We played well in the first half. The main gripe I have is the way we conceded the goal through sloppy play and Almunia's genera play. Jeez I can't believe we have such substandard goalkeepers and haven't sorted this out yet.
Gooner_Vin
You can't be too critical of our play, Anfield is a tough place to play at any time of the season let alone first game. We played well in the first half. The main gripe I have is the way we conceded the goal through sloppy play and Almunia's genera play. Jeez I can't believe we have such substandard goalkeepers and haven't sorted this out yet.
Gooner_Vin
We easily kept possession as always especially in the first half which gave us an opportunity to dictate the tempo of the game but there very few players willing us forward or going for goal with a killer instinct. Was impressed with the tackling, pace and distribution of Koscielny. Rosicky played well and was more direct than normal.
Deltaforce
New member here :D I think we got a good point despite the performance..and hopefully Djourou can play next week..I prefer Song rather than Diaby for DCM
Malaysian_GunnerZ
And auditioning for the role of Fabianski......Reina!!!!
DBerg
Welcome Malaysian GunnerZ! Agree with Vin, I actually think it's okay for the first game, and at Anfield in front of their new manager at that. Diaby wasn't fully fit as he just came back from injury to be fair. But I was disappointed in AA, especially with his sloppy pass at the back that led to the NGog goal. But Chamakh, Nasri, Kos and the Verminator did well. I thought Eboue and young Jack were alright too given the makeshift setup. But I want to reserve my praise for Tomas Rosicky, who changed the game when he came on. We were a bit lucky to get that goal but he's the one who gave ourselves a chance by sending ball after ball into the box. You make your own luck and all that. If anything, the Cole sending-off (probably plus Hodgson's half-time team talk) spurred them on, as they thought it's harsh, rightly or wrongly. Our 2nd half performance dropped but Liverpool also made it tough for us. All in all, 1 point was an okay result, except that we're down to absolute bare bones at the back. I was tempted to say 'Thank God it's Blackpool at home' but you really never know with these promoted teams, all fired up to do well, especially after their shock big win at Wigan. I just hope they'll come out and play a little bit, booted by that result, so we have the space to attack too.
GoonerLou
Im happy with a point TBH. Liverpool away on the 1st day of the season was always going to be a tough game. Cole definetly deserved to be sent off. It was a reckless and late challenge. Actually got into an argument with a Liverpool fan down my local over this as he was calling Kos every name under the sun. Fortunately Kos was ok or we would have had serious problems going into the next game with no recognised CB on the bench as cover. How Ironic that Reina gifted us our goal? :-) Good pressure by Chamakh and I was very nearly spot on with my prediction :-). Special mention to Almunia who had a great game, defintely played with a purpose and point to prove although he did have that moment where he recklessly dived at the ball which if a Liverpool player got his head to, would have been a goal. Excellent save though from Gerard's freekick and before the end of the first half where he tipped it over the bar from Johnson.
True-Gooner-Blood
Also was impressed with Rosicky when he came on. He also played with a real purpose today and was unlucky not to score with that chance that Reina tipped over.
True-Gooner-Blood
Not a bad result, considering we were without Song, Cesc and RVP (for most of the game). Arshavin was awful, more at fault for their goal than Almunia. He's not played well for a long time, think we should drop him and start with Rosicky or Walcott next game.
bowiecokemirror
TGB, that save from Gerrard's free kick was straight forward - Almunia has a tendency to make the ordinary look fantastic. He flapped at a couple of corners, making no contact. He did have 1 good save from Johnson, but that was it. Overall, not very convincing, and doesnt generate confidence.
prits
Overall, it was a decent result. I would have taken a draw before kick off. The team still looked rusty, and lacked the decisiveness and sharpness to open up the Pool defence. This is where Nasri needs to step up, which is disappointing. Rosicky did quite well when he came on. It was ironic that we dominated 11 on 11, but not in the 2nd half. Defensively, going to sleep in that part of the pitch is criminal, and something that has still not been addressed. No amount of wailing and gnashing over our keeper is going to change that part of our game.
prits
No one can scoff at a draw at Anfield on Day 1 of the EPL, so I am pleased with the result. As for Arshavin, I am sure he was just rushed into the game to give the 'Pool defense something to think about, what with his goal scoring record at Anfield. He must be bushed coming from a mid week Intl' fixture, from half way round the world; we should cut him some slack. I thought Nasri was one of our best performers today, though.

I worry that Djourou may not be ready for the next game and expect that Song will be drafted, unless we will have bought a CB by then. Glad that Kos has done admirably well in his first EPL baptism. I think it was a part of 'Pool's game plan to intimidate him hence Cole's rash challenge. Let us see how the lads will have settled by the time B'pool come calling next week.
Naijagunner
Anyone else thought Nasri was rubbish? All the frustrating things about him came back to the fore. Sideways passing.. Not taking on defenders and simply dawdling on the ball.
Sajit
He was far from rubbish Sajit. Some of his forward passes were not picked up by Chamakh. They are yet to make a telephatic understanding. Liverpool defenders paid Nasri close attention recognising him as a key outlet for us in the absence of Cesc and did not even mind throwing themselves at any shots on goal he took. I think summarising a players performance as awesome or rubbish is too black and white and does not cover players who had a normal game.
Deltaforce
Well done boys for plugging away yesterday. Would have taken a point before kick-off, but can't help thinking that we should have produced more against 10 men. Chamakh, well in mate, you'll do for me, and unlucky Laurent Koscielny. A nervous ref gave you a stupid second yellow card which otherwise spoiled an impressive debut. Samir Nasri, you ARE allowed to pass the ball wide and quickly ! You don't have to hold onto it for hours on end !!!
Cockney Rich
When are we going to stop giving excuses for AA. He should stand up to his responsibility for the team. A player of his caliber even on a bad day should be capable of changing things. All in all I was pessimistic at the start, became very confident as the game progressed and like the rest of the team became over confident when Cole was sent off; and the team paid for that overconfidence dearly. I was particulrly happy with TR in the middle of the field, he really made a statement. Wishing us all the best this season
phreddy
 

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