As Arsenal prepare for this season’s underwhelming Liverpool side on Sunday, there is an unusual confidence amongst the fanbase.
Anfield is a tough stadium for any side to visit, but Mikel Arteta’s team appear more confident than ever in securing an all-important victory. Although the Arsenal manager has recently come out in the press citing Klopp as an inspiration, this fixture is all about revenge.
Last season was special for both managers. Klopp’s side were electric, menacing, scary, and downright brilliant. Arteta’s team, meanwhile, were building an identity and laying the groundwork for their present-day dominance. Arsenal were on a ten-game unbeaten run in the Premier League when they marched into the fortress that is Anfield. The game was touch and go, and Anfield lay relatively dormant.
That is until a challenge by Sadio Mane on Takehiro Tomiyasu went under the radar, causing Arteta to protest and Klopp to disagree. The two clashed out of pure competitiveness, and Anfield came alive. Once the fans were fired up, the beatdown began. A 4-0 defeat was a tough pill to swallow for the Gunners.
At the time, the teams were on a completely different level, and a draw would have been a good result. This time the teams are once again on a different level, but roles are reversed with Arsenal looking down the table and expecting a dominant win at Anfield and… Arteta will be looking for the last laugh.
Arsenal winning at Anfield would, could and should be a huge statement. We know Arsenal are a better team this season, but the victory at Anfield would signify a real change has taken place.
It would mean that fans all around the world can trust their eyes and believe that Arsenal are back.
2 reasons why Arsenal’s trip to Anfield is about revenge
1. Granit Xhaka’s red card
Granit Xhaka’s new attacking role has revitalized his Arsenal career. The Swiss International was on his way out after his infamous Crystal Palace shirt toss, but Arteta convinced him to stay.
The midfielder has developed into an outstanding leader and, most importantly, a player keen for a goal. As Arsenal fans look back and reflect, Xhaka’s history of red cards was not simply down to an aggressive tendency. However, this is an essential aspect of his onfield personality and performance.
In reality, his foul trouble was primarily due to his defensive role. Playing as a holding defensive midfielder, he would often be caught in no man’s land on the break and forced to make a hard foul. A perfect example of this was against Liverpool in the 0-0 draw in the Carabao Cup.
The outstanding Liverpool, playing heavy metal football, side of last season were explosive on the counter. An over-the-top through ball to Diogo Jota was dropped into a dangerous area, and Xhaka tracking back made a last-ditch foul that warranted a red card.
Now that he has become one of the most integral players in this brilliant Arsenal side, one can be sure he has revenge on his mind.
Continued on the next slide…