In the second week of Barclays Premier League action, we already have a Big 4 match-up between Arsenal and Liverpool. Both teams made a lot of off season moves and were hoping for better results than the draws they were both deal last weekend. As far as this game goes Arsenal is the favorite according to Bet365, as they sit at +135 on the money line. Liverpool is just a slight underdog sitting at +200 on the money line. Bet365 currently has a draw at +220.
Coming in to last week Arsenal really expected to open the season with 3 points as they usually do, but Newcastle put in their work and escaped with a 0-0 draw. One of the key factors in Arsenal losing points was Gervinho. He failed to produce productive crosses and at the end of the day was sent off with a red card. Arsenal dominated the possession, after having held the ball for about 63% of the time. It was not for lack of trying that Arsenal did not win, it was lack of finishing. I still think Arsenal is going to be one of the top teams to look out for this year, and as long as players like van Persie and Arshavin can find that finishing touch, they should be ok. Especially because they sport one of the strongest defenses in the Premier League.
Liverpool also looked very attractive in their first match against Sunderland. They walked off Anfield with a 1-1 draw donned with missed opportunities, the highlight of which was Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez’s missed penalty kick in the 5th minute of play. Luckily for him he was able to open the scoring with a header just 7 minutes later. The new boys at Liverpool were making their voices heard too as Charlie Adam, who was signed over the summer, was the one who swung in the free kick that lead to the goal. Andy Carrol, another relatively new player for Liverpool was also threatening as he had a goal that was subsequently disallowed. Liverpool’s excellent play slowly but surely faded into the background heading towards halftime and the momentum swing was complete when Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson fired a strike home in the 57th minute to equalize.
Arsenal v. Liverpool Prediction
Like I said before, both these two squads came out looking like title contenders last week, but just weren’t able to finish the job. This game is going to come down to what team can sustain an attack longer. As we saw in Liverpool’s first half display they are fully capable of striking the ball, and striking the ball on target, but what we didn’t see was an attack that lasted much beyond halftime. Dying out early is a great way for teams to make late comebacks just like Sunderland did. Arsenal kept the ball for mostly all of the game but just could not find that finishing touch which was what eventually killed them. I think Arsenal is going to come away with the victory here simply because there defense is too strong. That, and I also think that a player like Robin van Persie will not take much more than one game to find his stroke.