Depleted Arsenal face battle to defeat Liverpool in Premier League opener

Arsenal enter the new Premier League season in the midst of an injury crisis ahead of their opener against Liverpool.

It’s a common theme with Arsene Wenger’s teams: health issues always seem to strike, whether it's at the start of the campaign or in the heat of battle for the top-flight crown.
As a result, the Gunners will begin the new term needing a strong performance from their forward players in the light of defensive absentees.

Wenger’s side still have strong options available to them, and consequently can be backed at 13/10 to triumph over the Reds at the Emirates Stadium in the latest Premier League betting odds.

It has been another summer of frustration for Arsenal fans as the club’s transfer activity has not been as busy as many had hoped after they fell short in their bid to end their long title drought last season.

Granit Xhaka was added for £35m from Borussia Monchengladbach, while young defender Rob Holding also joined the team from Bolton Wanderers for £2m.

However, supporters' desire for a world-class striker has not been realised yet by Wenger and the board, especially as their attempts to sign Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette were rebuffed.

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud will continue to lead the line, which is a strikeforce the majority of clubs would love to have, but the Frenchman’s struggles in the last campaign played a major role in Arsenal’s failure to lift the Premier League title.

Giroud went 15 matches without scoring in the second half of the season, but had previously enjoyed great success until the turn of the year. He fared well with France during the Euros but his exploits there will likely see him miss the opener against the Reds.

Sanchez may be tasked with starting up front, which will be a challenge for the Chilean as he prefers to play off a strike partner. Without further additions, the pressure will be on him to deliver quality performances week-in week-out, starting against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Meanwhile, Xhaka will need to hit the ground running in the middle of the park to justify his price tag, helping provide the protection in front of the back four that Arsenal have lacked since losing the dominant presence of Patrick Vieira.

The Swiss international will have to be at his best from the off considering the injuries behind him, with the possibility of Holding making his debut against the Reds alongside Calum Chambers.

Gabriel Paulista suffered an injury in the Gunners’ final pre-season game in their win over Manchester City, and will miss at least two months, joining Per Mertesacker in the treatment room.

Laurent Koscielny, like his France team-mate Giroud, has just returned to training after a break following the Euros, leaving Wenger with the difficult choice as to whether to throw his captain back into the fold without valuable minutes under his belt.

It will be curious to find out Wenger’s decision as he may risk injuring another key player by putting him straight into the team or handing a 20-year-old a baptism of fire in the Premier League against a team that recently put four goals past Barcelona.

Arsenal and Wenger cannot afford a poor start to the campaign and risk losing ground in the title race, which already looks to be one of the most competitive in the history of the league. The outcome of their opener could be very telling in terms of how they will fare this season.

1 comment:

  1. Someone needs to investigate the doctors or Wenger's training style because these injuries are waaayy too often and a full health Arsenal is a very good team