Liverpool vs Arsenal | Monday 28th September 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Premier League champions Liverpool look to continue their 100% start to the new league season and extend their incredible unbeaten home record when hosting Arsenal for Monday Night Football.
The Reds edged a thoroughly entertaining affair against Leeds on the opening day but looked a worry defensively, conceding three times from three away shots on-target. The Chelsea match would undoubtedly have been tougher had the Blues kept 11 men on the pitch but the red card on the stroke of half-time changed the game and a second period of dominance followed.
This is always a match I look forward to, mainly because it usually contains a lot of goals. The last seven head-to-heads have seen both teams find the net and the last five go Over 2.5 Goals so the logical way to go, when baring in mind each side’s start to the season, is to back an entertaining match again here.
We’ve seen plenty of goals to start the new Premier League season, 3.73 per match to be exact in the first 22 fixtures. To put that into context, we saw 2.72 across the entirety of 2019/20 so the increase of a goal per-game so far does persuade me even more that we’ll see the ball hit the back of the net a few times at Anfield.
I want to side with Liverpool here given their superiority at home, their desire to get one over Arsenal for the last two results against the Gunners and quite simply, the extra quality that they have all over the pitch.
If you took a simplistic view of things, you could only really make a case for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang squeezing into a joint eleven here and although Arsenal are indeed improving step-by-step under Mikel Arteta, they’ve a long way to go to be competing regularly with the top two if that is indeed their long-term ambition.
Wins over newly-promoted Fulham and an all-at-sea West Ham are to have been expected and this Anfield trip will be a real test of just how far the North London outfit have come in the last year or so. Arsenal are without a win in their last eight matches on this ground, conceding 30 goals in the process.
Instead of backing Liverpool to win and Both Teams To Score however at 9/5, I’ll dutch the 2-1 and 3-1 correct scores at 60% and 40% of my stake respectively at much better odds of 8/1 and 11/1, both with Bet365.
Liverpool were buoyed in their match at Stamford Bridge by the debut of the magnificent Thiago who registered 82 passes in just 45 minutes on the pitch. I’m sure it has led to many looking at the Spaniard’s passing lines this weekend to potentially put some money behind but with Coral offering any form of backable odds at 95+, I think it’s an angle we’ll swerve!
From a tactical point of view, with Jordan Henderson out, Thiago’s introduction should allow Gini Wijnaldum to push into a more advanced role as we saw in the second 45 minutes last weekend. The Dutchman recorded four shots in the match and I’m looking to back him here with that in mind.
On the shots front, the 29 year old will be in the knowledge that Fabinho and Thiago will be protecting him from behind, allowing some freedom to make late runs into the box. His heat map from the 2-0 Chelsea wins shows that Gini played in a more advanced role that normal, albeit against 10 men, and registered more shots than any other Liverpool player on the pitch as a result of supporting the front three.
Wijnaldum has scored seven goals in his last seven appearances for Holland where he frequently plays in a more advanced role so I’m more than happy to put some money behind the 8/1 in a match where I’m expecting goals. The midfielder scored six times for the Reds last season, his best return in three years and I think the price is just too big, especially considering that Wijnaldum scored in the fixture back in 2016/17.
My final selection for the match will be Mo Salah to score from the penalty spot at 19/4 with BetVictor’s bet builder ‘method of goal’ feature.
We’ve seen an incredible 16 spot kicks awarded in the first 22 matches including two in Liverpool’s win over Leeds – both converted by Salah – and one in the Chelsea match that Jorginho failed to score. The ridiculous new handball rules, teamed with the ever controversial VAR, is leading to an increase in the numbers being given so it makes sense to keep an eye on the penalty angles this season.
Craig Pawson is the referee here and has already awarded a spot kick this season to Chelsea against Brighton and has pointed to the spot four times in his last five domestic games. His career long record isn’t huge for penalties but in a game where I think Liverpool could bag two or three times, backing Salah from the spot – as he did in this fixture last season – rather than the 5/6 best price for him to score anytime – looks like the value play in getting the Egyptian on side.
Liverpool vs Arsenal – Liverpool to win 2-1 (8/1 Bet365)
Liverpool vs Arsenal – Liverpool to win 3-1 (11/1 Bet365)
Liverpool vs Arsenal – Gini Wijnaldum 2+ Shots (13/10 Ladbrokes)
Liverpool vs Arsenal – Gini Wijnaldum to score anytime (8/1 Unibet)
Liverpool vs Arsenal – Mo Salah to score a penalty (19/4 BetVictor)