Like a 2013/14 season Liverpool – Arsenal 2019/20 Opposition Preview

6 August 2019

Arsenal look set to be one of the Premier League‘s most exciting teams this season, but will their attacking firepower be enough to mask a creaking defence?


Last season: Drew 1-1 away, won 5-1 at home

When we play them: August 21 (home); May 2 (away)


The Gunners’ 2018/19 season ended in miserable fashion as Chelsea thumped Unai Emery’s side 4-1 in the Europa League final.

It was the end of an iffy first year at the club for Emery, who has struggled to convince the masses since replacing Arsene Wenger.

Any new manager deserves time, but this is the season where the Spaniard has to be more strongly judged.

While there are clear shortcomings in Arsenal‘s side, most notably at the back, there is also no denying the attacking quality in their squad.

The arrival of rumoured former Liverpool transfer target Nicolas Pepe is a huge coup, and he could thrive alongside the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.

The Gunners will enjoy some great wins but also experience the odd damaging defeat, so a fourth-place finish will likely be the best they can hope for.

If they come flying out of the traps, though, belief will grow that they can finish higher, producing the kind of season Liverpool did under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14.

Arsenal

CARDIFF, WALES - Sunday, September 2, 2018: Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Cardiff City FC and Arsenal FC at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Notable ins: Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli

Notable outs: Petr Cech, David Ospina, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck

Best XI: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Monreal/Tierney (if the latter happens), Xhaka, Torreira, Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


We spoke to Kev Mounce (@GarrulousGooner) to hear about Arsenal and Liverpool’s respective seasons, with attacking football the order of the day.

How optimistic are you about the new season?

Very. I think, like most Arsenal fans, I am the most excited I have been for a long time.

Any of my followers on Twitter will know I have not been overly enamoured with Unai Emery since his arrival.

Last season I felt we made too many changes – nobody knew what our team or formation would be – and we lacked cohesion.

This summer, we have added pace and youthfulness which is exciting. The signings of Gabriel Martinelli, and mostly William Saliba, shows we are finally a club with a plan.

We still need a centre-back but I am more confident this season than I have been for a while.

It’s a shame we probably won’t have three of our back four available for the start of the new season and no doubt the signings will take some time to adapt.

I just hope we play fast, exciting football.

What are Arsenal’s main objectives for 2019/20?

Predictably, top four would mark a successful season, but Emery will also want silverware in his second season.

An FA Cup or Europa League win would, therefore, be great.

joie des joueurs de Lille apres le but de Nicolas Pepe (Losc) FOOTBALL : Lille vs Lyon - Ligue 1 Conforama - 01/12/2018 JBAutissier/Panoramic.

Who’s your man to watch, and why?

I can’t not say Nicolas Pepe, can I?

I don’t watch a lot of French football but everyone (including journalists) thinks this is a huge signing. He will add the pace and directness we lacked last season.

Going slightly more left-field, I’ll say Joe Willock.

Has impressed in pre-season and this could be his breakthrough year. I also think Martinelli may play more than some people expect.

* All rival supporter views taken before the end of the transfer window.

 

Emirates Stadium

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, March 4, 2016: A general view of the exterior of the Emirates Stadium before the FA Youth Cup 6th Round match between Arsenal and Liverpool. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

Capacity: 60,432

Away fans’ pubs: The Drayton Arms/Park, or for a mixture of home and away supporters, Twelve Pins and/or The Blackstock.

One piece of advice for visiting fan: Be prepared for defeat. As terrible as we were in the league last season, we had the joint-best home record in the league and we need to maintain this.

 

Liverpool

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, USA - Friday, July 19, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during a friendly match between Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund at the Notre Dame Stadium on day four of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How do you rate Liverpool’s chances ahead of the new season?

After such a successful season last season, it’s difficult not to see Liverpool doing well again.

They are still the only team that looks capable of challenging Man City, at the time of writing.

Liverpool’s first XI is strong, but the squad looks a little light in some places which will probably be the difference again in a hard league campaign.

That said, Gomez and Oxlade-Chamberlain will almost feel like new additions following injuries last season.

If they start strong, they will gain momentum like last season. A few careless dropped points early on might see them drop back into the pack.

Who are you tipping to be their Player of the Year, and why?

I can’t shy away from the obvious, so I’ll say Virgil van Dijk.

If he says fit, Liverpool will challenge on all fronts, but without him for any sustained period they will struggle to get close to last season.

Not only is he a fantastic defender, but he also gives the whole team confidence. You could cope without any single player other than him.


TIA’s Arsenal Predicted Finish: (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions) 4th

Where Kev says Arsenal will finish: 4th

Where Kev says Liverpool will finish: 2nd


This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC. Read them all here.

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