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Liverpool red-faced as Arsenal’s rock solid defence dominates XI

| 06.02.2014

There aren’t many grounds better equipped than Anfield to test a side’s title credentials this season, but as you’ll see from our latest Premier League infusion XI, Arsenal’s superior defensive steel should stand them in good stead against Liverpool.

Saturday lunchtime’s headline offering is a tough one to call, reflected in fairly neutral odds of 9/4 on an Arsenal win and 23/20 for the Reds to triumph – while a spoils-sharing result is 12/5.

There is however, nothing neutral about our proposed XI we’d pick to play in each position if given free rein to plunder both squads.


Despite earning many plaudits early in his Anfield career, cracks have appeared in Simon Mignolet’s game, where the Belgian has flapped at crosses and made poor judgement calls in recent times.

Contrastingly, Wojciech Szczesny has grown in stature between the Arsenal sticks and the Pole would be pleasantly surprised to see four familiar faces in front of him.

The stats speak for themselves as far as the Gunners rearguard goes, as only Chelsea can claim to have conceded fewer in the top-flight.

Forming the bedrock of that defence is Per Mertesacker’s seemingly telepathic understanding with Laurent Koscielny and the pair get the nod over any of Liverpool’s centre-backs.

Martin Skrtel is the only one who can genuinely consider himself unlucky as the Reds’ best performer there this season, though his unwise trait of wrestling opponents at corners tipped the scales in Koscielny’s favour.

Glen Johnson loses out to a revitalised Bacary Sagna at right-back and after usurping Kieran Gibbs in the Arsenal first team, Nacho Monreal proves a far more accomplished left-back than headless chicken Aly Cissokho.

Liverpool finally make a breakthrough in midfield, though, where Steven Gerrard is given pass-spraying duties, alongside the ever- industrious Mathieu Flamini.

Philippe Coutinho is unlucky to come up against Mesut Ozil for the number 10 role, while Santi Cazorla has made the left side of an attacking three his specialist position at the Emirates compared to various nomadic incumbents at Anfield.

Finally, Liverpool rescue a thread of decency with Luis Suarez leading the line, supported by the lightning pace of Raheem Sterling on the right.

Do you agree with our selection?

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.