If there has been one word to typify this Arsenal FC side so far this season, it would have to be “different.” From pundits to reporters to bloggers (hi!), this year’s Arsenal side has been called “different” from previous iterations countless times already. From their performances to their mentality to their camaraderie, everything about this season has felt like the Gunners have finally taken that next major step in their quest to reclaim a spot among the game’s elite sides.
So far, it has been hard to disagree. Seven wins from eight league matches is remarkable, and the confidence with which they are dispatching teams is certainly unlike anything we have seen in a long time. Last weekend’s North London Derby success was the quintessence of this “different” Arsenal side, whose total domination of their rivals Tottenham was an emphatic statement to the doubters and believers alike.
But when it comes to Arsenal’s recent performances against Liverpool, though, another word comes to mind: snakebit.
Since Mikel Arteta took over in late 2019, Liverpool are one of two teams in the Big Six that, along with Manchester City, have consistently gotten the better of the Gunners. It isn’t terribly surprising - Liverpool have become one of the world’s most merciless sides in the attack, and a fortress at the back. But it doesn’t make it any less frustrating, especially when, no matter how good of form the Gunners are in, Klopp’s side always finds a way to punish them.
But this year’s Liverpool is not last year’s iteration by a wide margin so far, and there is probably no better time for Arteta’s side to get that elusive victory against them. This season has seen Klopp’s Reds get out to a surprisingly un-Klopp start. 2 wins, 4 draws, and 1 loss have the Merseyside club in 9th place with 10 points, a full 11 behind league-leading Arsenal.
After finishing second in the league and playing in the Champions League final last season, Liverpool’s tame results this year have been startling. Between injuries, aging players, the loss of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, and new players bedding into the system, a number of issues have all contributed to their slow start. But Arsenal cannot afford to take this Liverpool team for granted. For all of their faults, they have lost only once and have found ways to get results from losing positions all season.
If Arsenal truly are “different” this year, a result against Liverpool will be a tremendous step toward cementing the Gunners’ aspirations while reaffirming the glowing reports by the media. The Emirates has been crackling with fan energy, propelling the Gunners to their impressive opening run. They will no doubt be vocal on Sunday from start to finish, as hungry to see the Gunners get the Liverpool monkey off their back as the players will certainly be.
For injury updates, line-up and score predictions, make sure to check out Nathan’s article.
Time to see what we are truly made of.
WHAT: Arsenal vs Liverpool
WHEN: Sunday, October 10th, 11:30am EST/8:30am PST/4:30pm BST
WHERE: The Emirates Stadium, London
HOW TO WATCH: Live on the USA network. Streaming online on NBC Sports.
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