Liverpool vs Arsenal - Match Preview
The big match of the weekend is the meeting of Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield, and there are usually plenty of goals and talking point when these two teams meet. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game, using unique stats and data points to select the best bets.
Liverpool have made a steady, but positive start to the season, picking up four points from their opening two league games and securing their place in the Champions League proper with a comprehensive victory over Hoffenheim (6-3 on agg). The only thing marring what has been a good start is the Coutinho saga which has been rolling all summer, but the players and staff have dealt with any potential unrest very well.
Steady start to season for Liverpool
They have been at their creative best in all of their matches so far this season, picking up where they left off last term. They generated 2.37 xG in their draw with Watford, and 2.74 in their victory over Crystal Palace, showing they are one of the best teams in the Premier League at consistently creating high-quality chances. Their victory over Palace could have been by a greater score-line, but Jurgen Klopp will be happy with what he is seeing so far from an attacking perspective.
Could have been more – shot map vs Palace
From a defensive perspective though, it appears as if there is still work to do. They conceded a late equaliser against Watford, and gifted their opponents plenty of chances throughout the match with an accumulative total of 2.12 xG – most of which came from set-pieces. Even against Palace they were given a few scares, as well as against Hoffenheim where the conceded three over two legs and it could have been more. They have to be wary of this in this match, but while ever they continue to have better chances than their opponents, they will be fancied to get the win no matter of the score line.
Arsenal have made an indifferent start to the season, earning a narrow win over Leicester in their opening game before losing 1-0 at Stoke last time out. That game at Stoke was a difficult one, and one in which they did have good chances and a few good penalty shouts turned down, but it seems as though not much changed from last season.
They always look as if they will get on the scoresheet in matches, and have so far generated 4.2 xG, and Lacazette looks a good addition to Arsene Wenger’s side, but he hasn’t been found anywhere near enough. It is clear to see how clinical he is when he gets a chance, but Arsenal don’t seem to supply him with enough chances – Arsenal have had 45 shots in two matches, only three of which have been taken by Lacazette. £47 million is a lot to spend on a striker who is only going to take 6.6% of your shots and 6% of your xG. It is only early days, but if Arsenal are to get the best out of their new signing, they need to improve the supply line to him – or actually supply him.
Lacazette needs more chances
The Gunners also look vulnerable in defence, mainly due to players playing out of position in a formation that they aren’t comfortable with. Nacho Monreal playing as a centre-back while Per Mertesacker is on the bench is questionable, and playing a right-wing back (Hector Bellerin) on the left side when new signing Sead Kolasinac was one of the best performing left-wing backs in the Bundesliga last season is even more questionable. They have looked susceptible to the counter attack in both of their matches so far this season – maybe due to players being unsure of their jobs in unfamiliar positions – and this doesn’t bode well against one of the fastest attacking sides in the league in Liverpool.
Both teams are very good at going forward, creating plenty of chances, so expect a high-scoring game at Anfield. Alexis Sanchez is expected to make his return, as is Laurent Koscielny, which will make Arsenal a lot stronger, but they will still be susceptible to the counter-attack. Liverpool are expected to take advantage of this, and get the win, with Mane to continue his good scoring run.
Liverpool win @ 11/10
Over 2.5 goals @ 4/6
Mane to score anytime @ 9/5