Arsenal vs Liverpool: FA Community Shield: Preview & Prediction
A mere 28 days on from their FA Cup final triumph, Arsenal face the Premier League champions, Liverpool, in the FA Community Shield on Saturday afternoon.
The Community Shield is called a glorified friendly but there is no way that the teams facing each other will see it like that. The game is as intense and as passionate as the other games and why not, as a single victory gives you another trophy to add to your collection.
Last time out
The last meeting between the sides produced one of the greatest upsets of the season, as Arsenal capitalized on two mistakes from a Liverpool side who were already confirmed as the champions. It ended 2-1, with the Gunners winning because of two rare errors from the Liverpool backline.
Head to Head Stats
The head-to-head battle between the two sides is pretty tight, despite Liverpool’s dominance in the last two seasons.
Out of the last 22 games played between them, Arsenal have won six, while Liverpool have won seven, with nine draws. The game will be of huge significance and given Arsenal’s recent competitive form, Liverpool would not take the game for granted.
Arsenal ended their season in a much better way than they started. Mikel Arteta has been the pillar in getting the team back together as fans’ issues with Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil had started tampering with the atmosphere of the Emirates.
One major change Arteta has brought is the mentality with which they play. The team looks hungry and after a successful FA Cup run, Arteta will be eyeing another silverware as they feel they have the quality to outplay the Reds.
Arsenal’s only friendly of the shorter version of the pre-season ended in a comfortable 4-1 win over MK Dons. On the other hand, Liverpool who dropped only seven points from their first 31 Premier League games, ended up throwing eight after their first top-flight title was confirmed.
However, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will surely repent losing on some important records that could’ve made them the part of a bigger history.
The Reds missed out on a century of Premier League points, they could’ve easily broken Manchester City’s 17/18 season’s 100-point record with a possible 101 but they dropped their levels, levels they themselves set before the lockdown.
Without the distraction of Champions League football in August, Liverpool got ample time to regroup and recover, while the 20-year-old striker Rhian Brewster who was impressive in his loan spell at Swansea fired three in two pre-season friendlies and will be in contention to fill Roberto Firmino’s underperformance this season.
Liverpool have won thrice, lost once and drawn once in their last five competitive games while Arsenal have lost only once in their last five games, winning the other four.
Arsenal have a list of players who are sidelined due to injury. The defensive duo of Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari are set to return in October and September respectively, whereas Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers are out for another calendar year with knee injuries.
Liverpool’s sensational defender Trent Alexander-Arnold did not travel with the squad on their pre-season visit to Austria and may turn out to be a big miss on Saturday. However, skipper Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip will be back in the early stages of the league but won’t be risked against Arsenal.
Virgil Van Dijk also picked up a knock and limped off the field in the friendly against RB Salzburg. However, he is expected to return without any issues, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss his chance to play against his former side due to a knee injury.
Arsenal ended their competitive season on a high note with victories against three of the top-four sides of the previous campaign but also succumbed to Aston Villa, who narrowly escaped relegation.
Arteta’s plan of a three-man defense has worked well as of now and it is expected that he will set up his side in that way only.
Liverpool will be back after a short yet long break after a 57-game season. This time the Reds are not expected to be sloppy in possession and sluggish while they move forward like they were when the sides met the last time.
Score Prediction: Arsenal: 1- 2 Liverpool