Arsenal v Liverpool - Match Preview

Facial expressions like that are why we never feature pictures of Abou Diaby. Or maybe why we should always feature pictures of Abou Diaby.

Liverpool v. Arsenal
Sunday 2 September 2012, 8:25 am ET
Anfield, Stanley Park, Liverpool
Form: Liverpool LD | Arsenal DD
TV: FSC
SBN's Liverpool web mini-mall: Liverpool Offisde / Anfield Asylum

Time, time, time...see what's become of me...
- Simon & Garfunkel, Hazy Shade Of Winter

The thing about things is that they change over time. Buildings degrade, rivers carve valleys, concrete cracks and gets overgrown with weeds, you know how it goes. Even people evolve over time - when you're young, you're full of energy, you know everything, and there's no stopping you, and as you get older you realize that you should stop yourself, and your body can't perform the way it used to.

Liverpool v. Arsenal. 20, 30 years ago...that was a tasty fixture, one that you'd circle on your calendar and look forward to for a couple weeks. Liverpool were the all-conquering kings of England for a long time - until two years ago, they had won the most championships in England, and were part of an amazing run from 1978-1981 where either Liverpool or Nottingham Forest won the Champions League in each of those four years.

Fast forward to today, though, and Liverpool are a team...not exactly in crisis, but a team that Arsenal fans would be wise to keep tabs on as many people seem to think that Liverpool's current state is where Arsenal are heading, especially if they don't act this transfer window (at the time of writing, the only action is that Arsenal apparently loaned some parkland to Spain; not sure how that works, but still). Still, I don't see the problem - Liverpool are owned by the same people who own the Red Sox, and yet Liverpool didn't just trade their five best players to Newcastle for spare parts in a massive salary dump. They'll be fine!

In all seriousness, Brendan Rogers is taking control of Liverpool just as they're evolving and recasting themselves as a young, fast side - the average age of Liverpool's starting lineup for the MCFC game was 23, and with players like Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling and Lucas (although Lucas is hurt and will be out for a couple months), there is a lot of optimism around Anfield these days.

It's funny, because Arsenal also have a lot of young, strong talent, and the mood around the Emirates is...not optimistic. If Arsenal v. Liverpool were a multi-level shopping mall, Liverpool would be the up escalator and Arsenal would be the down, or so the popular opinion goes. We all know what we've seen - two games with no goals and not a whole ton of shots - but that of course doesn't tell the whole story.

Arsenal have also defended really well in those two games; two clean sheets is nothing to sneeze at, especially given that last year's defense was clownshoes as often as it was solid. There are signs of creativity coming from the midfield, and against a team that doesn't defend high with two solid banks of four, like both Stoke and Sunderland do, Arsenal could really start to open up a bit. This could be a very free flowing game if Arsenal get into gear early, and if they do I think we'll see the first goals of Arsenal's season, and quite possibly the first three points.

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