Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Premier League (It's back!)
Saturday, April 4, 2015
4:45 am PT/7:45 am ET/12:45 pm BT
Emirates Stadium, London
Recent Form: ARS Like a sleek Chilean panther who can only be slowed by an international break | LIV Like a energetic young lion who can only be slowed by hefty dudes in red shirts with Chevrolet logos on the front
US TV: NBCSN | Worldwide TV info livesoccer.tv
Now that we've all enjoyed an international break that included a Bendtner hat trick against the Americans ... the final stretch of Premier League action for Arsenal begins with a pretty fantastic matchup. Liverpool comes to the Emirates in an attempt to revive its Top Four ambitions (as they're currently in fifth, five points behind 4th), while Arsenal's looking to vault Man City for second place this weekend, and maybe, just maybe, in position to overtake a possibly-wobbling Chelsea for the title in the season's final eight weeks.
The international break was not entirely kind to Arsenal -- according to today's red-and-white site, Danny Welbeck suffered a slight knee tweak on Three Lions duty, and might not be available for activation. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also still out, according to Barclays Manager of the Month Arsene Wenger.
But a great number of other Arsenal players, including Barclays Player of the Month Olivier Giroud (who bagged five goals in four March matches, include a brace in five minutes vs. Newcastle) are available. In fact, slightly unfamiliar-by-now names might find their way onto the roster this weekend -- you might remember players like Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshire, Mathieu Debuchy, and Abou Diaby. (There are even rumors of a Diaby contract renewal which surfaced earlier this week, met with the levelheaded sobriety we've come to expect of the British Media.)
Squad selection for Liverpool was made more interesting in their most recent match, via the red card stylings of Steven Gerrard (who exited their disastrous loss vs. Manchester United less than a minute after entering as a second-half sub) and Martin Skrtel (who won himself a three-match vacation for stamping on David de Gea late in their epic bed-crapping match). Daniel Sturridge is expected back from a hip issue to lead the line, and there's this Raheem Sterling guy who some think (cough * agent * cough) might be a fantastic addition to the Arsenal squad next year.
In their previous matchup, this past Dec. 21, Skrtel scored on a 97th-minute (!) header to salvage a point at Anfield in a 2-2 match which saw Debuchy immediately answer a Philippe Coutinho late-first-half goal. The match also included one of Giroud's 13 sexy 2014-15 EPL goals toward the mid-point of the second half.
Of course, this might not be the last we see of Liverpool this season; there's some likelihood that the teams will meet again on May 30 in the FA Cup finals, though Liverpool face the Rovers in Blackburn this Wednesday for the rights to face Aston Villa in the semis.
Oh, also: Anthony Taylor (of Villa 3, Arsenal 1 and Stoke 3, Arsenal 2 fame) will be the ref for this match. Do what you will with that horrible knowledge.