Champions Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Wednesday night and Mark O'Haire reckons the hosts can stay competitive in the Emirates encounter.
"Arsenal matches are rarely the thrill-a-minute, goal-filled affairs of yesteryear with Mikel Arteta focussed on implementing a new three-at-the back system"
Arsenal v Liverpool
Wednesday July 15, 20:15
Arsenal suffer derby setback
Arsenal's aspirations for European qualification suffered a damaging blow in Sunday's North London derby. Mikel Arteta's improving outfit fell to a 2-1 defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium despite taking the lead through Alexandre Lacazette's first-half screamer; Spurs found an immediate riposte and the hosts pinched a decisive second 10 minutes from time.
The Gunners largely controlled proceedings in a fiercely-competitive contest but were made to rue Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rattling the crossbar on the hour mark, as well as the slack defending that gifted Spurs their two strikes. Arsenal have now dropped 21 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season - 15 of them under Arteta.
Despite the setback, Arteta was pleased with his team's performance, saying: "I was really proud of the way we played, the way we approached the game, the way we dominated. We nullified the opponents but when we play at this level you have to win the game. An individual error and a set-piece cost us. When you are so dominant you have to kill the game."
Liverpool held at home
Liverpool's hopes of completing the season with a 100% Premier League home record were scuppered by Burnley on Saturday in a 1-1 draw at Anfield. The Reds were ahead through Andrew Robertson's well-placed header but were made to pay for spurning a number of good opportunities, with Mohamed Salah and Curtis Jones guilty of wayward shooting.
Jurgen Klopp's charges all ran into an inspired Nick Pope in the Burnley goal. The England keeper pulled off a string of good saves , whilst Roberto Firmino struck the inside of the post as Liverpool fired in 23 attempts at goal, nine of which were on-target. The draw means Liverpool can now no longer beat the Premier League record for home wins in a season.
The Reds remain in decent shape to achieve a highest-ever Premier League points haul; although with three games left and seven points short of the record of 100 set by Manchester City in 2017-18, they have no room for error. However, Klopp last week claimed that surpassing City's points record was "not that important" to him.
Gunners can be competitive
Arsenal are winless in their last nine league meetings with Liverpool (W0-D4-L5), triumphing just once in 12 head-to-head Premier League showdowns. Even so, the Gunners themselves have been beaten only once in eight encounters with the Reds at the Emirates (W2-D5-L1) since 2011. Three of the past four clashes here have ended all-square and a repeat is [4.00].
Arsenal [3.95] have managed a solitary home success against Premier League teams above them in the standings (W1-D4-L2), losing both contests with top-three opposition Man City and Chelsea. Nevertheless, the Gunners are yet to be beaten by a two-goal margin in Emirates outings under Mikel Arteta are well-capable of producing a competitive display.
Liverpool [1.97] have won by a margin of two goals or more once on their travels since Boxing Day and have dropped points in three of their most recent four away days. The Reds have covered the one-goal handicap only once in eight trips to the top-nine this term and have surprisingly scored fewer than two goals in half of their six games since the restart.
Reds unlikely to run riot
Arsenal matches are rarely the thrill-a-minute, goal-filled affairs of yesteryear with Mikel Arteta focussed on implementing a new three-at-the back system to offer the Gunners a firmer foundation. The results have largely been positive with the capital club limiting the damage and seeing a steep reduction in Expected Goals (xG) given away.
Just three of Arsenal's 17 fixtures under Arteta's watch have broken the Over 3.5 Goals barrier, whilst Liverpool have beaten the Over 2.5 Goals [1.65] barrier in only three of their last six Premier League tussles, suggesting Wednesday night's match-up might not feature the goal-fest neutrals were hoping for.
With that in mind, I'm happy to dip into Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market where Arsenal +2 handicap and Under 3.5 Goals can be backed at generous 1.81 quotes. Taking this selection sees us profit should the Gunners win 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1, as well as the 0-0 and 1-1 draws, or even if the hosts are beaten 1-0 or 2-1 by Liverpool at the Emirates.
Mark's 2019/20 Profit/Loss
Staked: 164.00 pts
Returned: 182.83 pts
P/L: +18.83 pts