Arsenal can extend their lead over top-four hopefuls Liverpool to nine points should they beat the Merseyside outfit tomorrow.
The Gunners are currently third and six points ahead of Brendan Rodgers’ side, who will hope to bounce back from their home defeat to Manchester United a few weeks ago. A win for Liverpool would see them close the gap on their hosts to three points, and two behind United who face Aston Villa later in the day.
Arsenal, though, are in a rich vein of form, having won each of their last six Premier League games, with striker Olivier Giroud scoring as many goals in such time. The north Londoners have lost just once all season at the Emirates, conceding 11 goals.
Arsenal's best XI of the season so far
Arsenal's best XI of the season so far
1/11 David Ospina - 7.40/10
Liverpool owner John W Henry once asked 'What are they smoking at Emirates?'. When it came to having a puff the focus landed on Wojciech Szczesny who was dropped from the team having been caught having a crafty cigarette in the changing rooms after Arsenal's game with Southampton. It was enough for Wenger to give Ospina his chance and the Colombian has easily been more impressive than Szczesny (6.46) was.
2/11 Nacho Monreal - 7.35
There is real competition at left-back with England international Kieran Gibbs (7.04) an option, but it's Monreal who scores higher.
3/11 Gabriel Paulista - 7.46
Only signed in January, the Brazilian defender ranks as the best centre-back at the Emirates based on his performances so far.
4/11 Laurent Koscielny - 7.37
Paulista is joined by Laurent Koscielny, meaning Per Mertesacker (7.07) is the one to miss out. Calum Chambers, who made such an impressive start to the season, is on 7.05.
5/11 Mathieu Debuchy - 7.25
The Frenchman has been out since January but in the 14 appearances before then he made more of an impression than youngster Hector Bellerin (7.21) - if only just. Debuchy is nearing his return from injury just in time for the season run-in.
6/11 Mesut Ozil - 7.56
Has been much derided following his £42.5m switch from Real Madrid, but Ozil has begun to show why Arsenal were willing to pay so much money. The World Cup winner recently spoke about aspiring to be crowned the best player on the planet. He'll have to start by being the best player at Arsenal but as it stands he's the third best based on these ratings.
7/11 Francis Coquelin - 7.53
In his 12 starts since returning from a loan spell at Charlton, Coquelin has seemingly solved the desperate need for a defensive midfielder. Alternate options Mathieu Flamini (6.78) and Mikel Arteta (6.73) don't get close.
8/11 Santi Cazorla - 7.65
Unsurprisingly based on his brilliant season, Cazorla completes the midfield in this 4-3-3 line up, with the Spaniard considered the second best player of Arsenal's season so far. That means there is no place for the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (7.20) had he been fit, Tomas Rosicky (6.73) or Jack Wilshere (6.69). But perhaps the most unexpected player to miss out if based on pre-season prediction is Aaron Ramsey, who's inconsistent performances see him score 7.02 and miss out on a place.
9/11 Danny Welbeck - 7.30
He might have scored just four Premier League goals since joining from Manchester United, but Welbeck's overall contribution sees him score enough to keep Theo Walcott (6.42) out of the attacking trio.
10/11 Olivier Giroud - 7.46
Never any doubt the French striker would be the best central striker thanks to his 13 Premier League goals and three assists.
11/11 Alexis Sanchez - 7.84
And completing the XI is of course Alexis Sanchez. The summer signing from Barcelona has been brilliant, scoring 13 goals and collecting seven assists. It makes him Arsenal's best player of the season so far.
Liverpool can take faith from their own impressive form in the build up to this clash given their run of eight Premier League wins in nine prior to their loss against United. Their record against the top six this season is one to also take heed of – won five; drawn two; lost three.
Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy and Mikel Arteta are close to returns but still unavailable for Arsene Wenger, while Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are both serving three-match bans for Liverpool
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 12.45pm
Liverpool 2 (Coutinho, Skrtel) Arsenal 2 (Debuchy, Giroud), December 2014
Arsenal 2 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski) Liverpool 1 (Gerrard), February 2014
Liverpool 5 (Skrtel (2), Sterling (2), Sturridge) Arsenal 1 (Arteta), February 2014
Liverpool have beaten Arsenal just once in their last ten attempts at the Emirates, losing four and drawing five.
No player has scored more goals in this fixture over the last three seasons than the suspended Martin Skrtel (3).
Arsenal have finished above Liverpool in five of the last seven seasons.
In their last 19 lunchtime kick-offs, Arsenal have scored 36 goals and conceded 42 – hefty away losses to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool last season contributed much to this (17-2 on aggregate).
Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez are Arsenal’s top goalscorers in the Premier League this season with 13 each. Liverpool’s top two – Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling – have scored just 12 between them.
Arsenal to win: 20/23
Liverpool to win: 18/5
Liverpool 5 – 1 Arsenal, February 2014
Indefinitely one of the club’s worst ever results, Arsenal headed into this lunchtime kick-off seeking to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League and avoid another drubbing away to one of their top-four rivals. This was not meant to be, though. From the very first minute, wave after wave of fast and ferocious Liverpool attacks tore the north Londoners apart, with the speed and movement of front-trio Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling too hot to handle for the Gunners’ defence. Two goals from centre back Martin Skrtel summed up the day for Arsenal – they were outgunned in each and every area possible. Liverpool would narrowly miss out on the title and finish second that season, while Arsenal scraped fourth.
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