Liverpool V Arsenal: Wenger Must Get The Tactics Right

The stage is well and truly set. What a weekend for Arsenal fans so far! Title challengers have dropped points as Chelsea were held at home and United defeated in their own backyard. Top four contenders Citeh march on in their quest for the all time record for drawing matches and the tiny Tots just gave us another chuckle.

What was already a big game has now been given added significance by these results. It gives the Scousers a chance to close the gap on the top four and we have the chance of getting up close in the title race.  The psychological value of the result has its own importance. Both sides have few believers and many distractors at the moment.

Contrary to popular belief, I think this is a really bad time to be playing the Mugsmashers. All their top players are getting back into the game and must be fresh after a break of sorts. The return of Torres, the best striker in the league IMHO, gives their whole squad a boost and Liverpool are a team that thrives on belief. Even Aquilani and Johnson are fit and that makes them full strength at the moment.

Our record against the hosts hasn’t been too great off late, but it isn’t too bad either. Here are the last ten meetings between the clubs in all competitions.

Liverpool Vs Arsenal Head to Head Last Ten Games

The only wins we have had over them are in the League Cup and one FA Cup triumph almost three years ago. Thankfully, we haven’t lost many to them either, although there have been three occasions when we have shipped four goals in the last three years. If the results of this weekend are anything to go by, this one might be another high scoring classic.

Last year’s game was a thriller. Arsenal dominated early possession and the hosts attacked by playing long to Torres on every occasion. The Spaniard was alone up front and created enough half chances on his own. Story of the first half was possession for Arsenal in the Liverpool half and all shots on goal by Torres and Benayoun. A little pressing from Cesc saw a mistake by Mascherano near his own penalty box and El Capitan set Arshavin up for his first goal.

The Mugsmashers came right at us after the break and scored two quick goals. The Russian magician then stole a ball from Arbeloa’s feet and scored a scorcher. Our third goal came from a scuffed clearance by Carragher. Once again the Scoursers upped the ante and pushed men into our box. They were able to score two while Arshavin scored his fourth of the night in between. An epic contest ending with both teams disappointed at not winning.

I believe that game showed the true capability of Liverpool except the somewhat uncharacteristic mistakes in defence. They can sit back and let Arsenal have the ball, just like Chelsea did, with a top class striker who can trouble us at every opportunity. We also saw their ability to mount sustained pressure on our goal although that did leave them vulnerable on the counter.

I think we will see Liverpool coming out of the blocks and having a go at us in the first few minutes. Running around and hassling for every ball, shooting at sight and letting crosses fizz through our box. We need to maintain our calm in these minutes and control the tempo. It’s important that our players don’t make mistakes under pressure. Conceding an early goal will make things difficult for us.

I also feel that Arsene must ask his players to show more desire in the final third. The hosts will be happy to let us have possession and push us wide or towards the middle of the park. These areas can help in keeping possession but don’t offer any attacking threat as our ability to put the ball in the box is quite limited.

If you see the game United played today, they always created space in the attacking third even if they didn’t score. We have to learn from that. By pushing men forward at a slow tempo we allow the opposition to get their defence organized. When we attack in numbers, it just creates a crowd like one would see in a Mumbai local train. No one can score in that crowd. At best we might get away with some groping and there are no points for that!

We need more incisive passing from the central areas of the pitch supported by constant movement up front. We also need to control the tempo of the game. Top sides can increase the pace or slow the game down at will. It’s a barrier we are yet to cross. Arsene has to get the message across to the players. Keeping ball is not enough, there has to be a real desire to score from every attack.

With injuries to Rosicky and Eboue, our options are further limited. I am not sure if Diaby is fit to start or if Theo is ready to play a second game in three days. I would like to see the following team,

Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Traore; Cesc, Song, Denilson; Nasri, Arshavin, Diaby;

I think Theo should not be risked again from the start and we need an option of the bench. We also need slightly better defensive cover on the left to stop Johnson. Now, can the Wengerboys walk the walk?

9 Responses to Liverpool V Arsenal: Wenger Must Get The Tactics Right

  1. gooner ji says:

    Surely the game has become a lot more important after yesterday’s results. We have to win this one.
    I think we have a better team this time than last year’s classic(4-4). We have a much better center back pairing(Galas,Vermaelen) than last time(Toure,Silvestre) so we can tackle Torres lot better. Most of their first teamers played in the midweek game while our major players were rested. So our team will be less fatigued.
    Desi, you have correctly pointed about the fact that we slow the game and that gives the opponents the chance to regroup thier defense. I think we should always look for all the options for scoring goals rather than always looking for the perfect eyecatching goal. Liverpool are also vulnerable to set pieces so we should look fot that option as well.
    I think Walcott can play a crucial role coming after 60 minutes and creating havoc with his pace against the tiring pool defense.
    Come on gunners…….

  2. arshavinfor5goals says:

    the reference 2 the mumbai local train… lol.. but agree with u completely the stakes just got higher and we cant afford 2 lose.but with all the players carrying little knocks its hard 2 tell what the team is goin 2 be

  3. Both teams are out of track but Liverpool had a wonderful record to defeat Manchester United at Anfield Stadium in October. So, I will pick Liverpool base on the fact above.

  4. hmmmm says:

    get ur facts right mr so called arsenal fan….arsenal lost 3-2 away at anfield in cl not 4-2……still remember the pathetic challenge put by toure on babel….

    anyways…this is the perfect or rather the only oppurtunity for u guys to get back in title race….but remember what happened to utd after liverpool lost to fiorentina in cl last time….quite frankly utd had a good defence than arsenal…..

    wenger has repeated the same words as he did last year that chelsea will drop points so will utd….but are u brave enough to pick points when other drop????….that’s the main question….last year defeats didn’t hurt arsenal that much as those 4 goalless draws…..

    it will be a cracker coz liv are dangerous when they have their backs to the wall…..u guys won’t have much time on ball for sure……

    it will be liv vs arshavin…

  5. subash reddi says:

    I am just too happy 😀

    Ole!Ole! Oleeeeee !

  6. […] Liverpool V Arsenal: Wenger Must Get The Tactics Right The stage is well and truly set. What a weekend for Arsenal fans so far! Title challengers have dropped points as […] […]

  7. ridzy says:

    oh yeah it is haha. it happened so fast i just saw the solid red, and they’re at liverpool so i jumped to the assumption. freeze framing you can see the arsenal badge, the nike symbol, and the sponser…

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