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Saturday, 08 February 2014

Arsenal: Can the Gunners contain Liverpool's SAS?


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Premier League leaders Arsenal host fourth placed Liverpool this afternoon but can the Gunners contain the free-scoring SAS?

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are undoubtedly one of, if not, the greatest strike partnerships in the game right now. They have a telepathic understanding and are terrorising defenders up and down the land. Their trickery, vision and eye for goal have seen them score 37 of the club's 58 league goals this season. 

But can the Gunners prevent them from scoring today?

Arsenal boast the second best defence in the top flight - behind Chelsea. Wenger's back four, led by the impressive double act of Mertesacker and Koscielny, have only conceded 21 goals this season and their defensive strengths have been a major reason behind their success in this campaign. 

With Szczesny cutting the silly mistakes out of his game, Mertesacker and Koscielny linking up so well and Arteta/Flamini protecting the back four heroically, it has allowed the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and co to attack at will. 

The question posed in this article is can Arsenal stop the SAS. But equally it could be flipped around to ask can the SAS break down the Gunners' rear guard? Arsenal haven't lost a game in almost two years when the defensive partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker have been on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes. That is an amazing stat and one that the Gunners will be hoping remains in place for the rest of the season at least as they aim to end their trophy drought.

Arsenal have bossed this fixture in recent seasons. They have won three of their last four meetings, having lost only three of their last 21 encounters, but Liverpool are a different beast this season. They are moving the ball round well and have a wealth of attacking options from midfield. Henderson has come on leaps and bounds this season, while Moutinho can produce magic with those dainty Brazilian feet of his. Then there's the pace of Sterling to contend with too.

The Gunners will be fully aware of the threat posed by Liverpool, but this is their chance to stand up and prove their title credentials. Win today and they will go five points clear of Chelsea and City, turning the pressure firmly on their rivals. 

It's going to be a huge four games for Arsenal - Liverpool, Man United, Liverpool FA Cup and Bayern Munich - but these are the games you want to be involved in. Arsenal fans will just want to take it game by game and keep their winning run going.

Calling all Arsenal and Liverpool fans: What do you think the score will be? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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