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Preview: Arsenal v Liverpool: Forward ruled out, Welbeck to start + prediction

By on December 22, 2017

danny welbeck arsenal

Arsenal can move in to the top four of the Premier League with a win when we take on Liverpool at the Emirates this evening.

The race for Champions League qualification could hardly be tighter this year as just three points separates fourth-placed Liverpool from seventh-placed Tottenham.

We currently sit fifth so a win tonight would see us leapfrog Liverpool in to fourth and hopefully Burnley – who are sixth – take something off Spurs tomorrow to give us some breathing space.

Obviously this is an important game for our league position but we also need to avenge the 4-0 thrashing we suffered at Anfield back in August as it was embarrassing and we need to put it right this evening.

Team News

Aaron Ramsey is unavailable due to a hamstring injury that’s expected to keep him out until the New Year so Jack Wilshere should get another chance to impress in the middle of the park.

Olivier Giroud has also been ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury against West Ham in midweek but Shkodran Mustafi is back in contention after recovering from a thigh problem.

Arsene Wenger is set to recall the likes of Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette to the squad after they were rested on Tuesday night.

As for Liverpool, they’ll be without Alberto Moreno due to an ankle injury while Joel Matip and Daniel Sturridge are also doubts.

Preferred line-up

We’ve been playing with a back four in recent weeks but with Mustafi available again it might be time to revert to a three with wing-backs in order to give us an extra body against Liverpool’s dangerous attack.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been playing at left-back in recent games but I’d prefer to see the more experienced Sead Kolasinac tonight with Hector Bellerin on the opposite flank.

No doubt Wenger will persevere with Alexis Sanchez but I think it’s time he’s dropped as he’s offering virtually nothing and playing at 50% of his capabilities right now.

A hard-working Danny Welbeck would be a much better option against a Liverpool side that will press us all over the pitch and we’ll need our attackers to do there bit tracking back.

This would be my line-up:

Likely Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino

Prediction

This game has the potential to be a classic as both teams can be devastating going forward but woeful at the back. Our home form is excellent as the unfortunate defeat to Man Utd is our only loss in 16 games at the Emirates but Liverpool have a terrific away record this season. If we can score first I’ll be confident so it’s important we either come flying out the blocks and score early or keep things tight early on to prevent Liverpool from doing us on the counter attack. It’s a tricky game to predict, but I have to back the boys to edge a five-goal thriller. Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool

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