Just 4 days after Liverpool inflicted a stinging defeat on the Gunners in the league, they set the two teams for another showdown in the EFL cup. The scores stand 2 victories for Arsenal against Klopp’s mentality giants’ recent victory against Arteta. On normal days, after that defeat, many people would write off Arsenal for this fixture yet again, but the Gunners have cause for optimism.
The first thing to consider is, it’s Liverpool. We consider anything beyond a loss to the champions a notable feat as they are the team to beat these days. But because it’s Liverpool, because it’s not the league, and it’s the EFL, maybe Klopp will rotate his squad. Although that might not dampen the intensity with which the Anfield faithful will play, it gives Arsenal a better chance to deal a deadly blow once again.
Liverpool’s track record in cup competitions, especially the domestic English ones, has been nothing but piss poor as they can’t seem to get it together in games like this.
The community shield against Arsenal was a recent example, and although they drew the match and lost out in a penalty shoot-out, it still emphasized the lack of a winning mentality in cup games. Arteta has shown that he can be an expert in playing cup games after winning the FA Cup last season and the Community Shield in the preseason.
However, one thing that Arteta will probably look to avoid is trusting experienced heads as opposed to players are in top form. No one at North London understood why Saka, Gabriel, or Ceballos were left on the bench against the champions on Monday night. And Ceballos was the architect in the move that almost saw Arsenal draw level, had Lacazette converted. That all happened when he came on.
If Arteta learned nothing at all, it’s that in the game on Monday, his side defended well, but had no one to connect defense to offense with a long ball or a defense splitting pass. That is why Ceballos and Saka must start the match on Thursday. The last player, Gabriel, has fitted into the team seamlessly and must be backed for the big games to test his mettle.
A few mistakes from a new player can be forgiven, but Gabriel has put in a fine display since the league started, and maybe his composure on the ball will allow players like Rob Holding and Tierney to defend with confidence as those two suffered at the hands of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
Best believe this match will be another cracker as these two teams go at it again.