Sunday 14th August. 4PM. Sky Sports
Premier League football is back this weekend, and we don’t need to wait long for the world’s most exciting league to serve up a mouth-watering clash of the titans. It’s the first Super Sunday of the season, and it sees Arsenal take on Liverpool at the Emirates.
Both clubs will be looking for a big season in 2016-17, and a win over a tough opponent would provide the winner with a fantastic platform to build upon. But while both teams have plenty of reason to be optimistic, their respective shortcomings will afford confidence to their rivals.
It has all the makings of an early season cracker. Do not miss it.
Can Arsenal Overcome Defensive Woes?
It wouldn’t be a new season without Arsene Wenger coming under fire from his doubters, and it wouldn’t be a new season without Arsenal facing an injury crisis. Despite both of those issues hindering the Gunners ahead of the opening weekend, the hosts have plenty of reason for optimism.
The Gunners have performed well in pre-season and finally enter a new campaign with the midfield guard that they’ve been lacking for years. Summer arrival Granit Xhaka should add quality to a team that already boasts Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin. Meanwhile, the exciting attacking stars of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and co should give Arsenal a great chance of goals.
Absences at the heart of defence are a real worry, however, so Arsenal may need to go for attack in this one. Given that the Gunners struggled for goals at the Emirates last term, this is something that the home fans would certainly be eager to see.
Wenger hasn’t added too much over this transfer window, but the club weren’t far away last year. If they can start the new season in style, they’ll have every reason to think a serious title challenge could be on the cards.
Klopp Revolution To Kick On?
The arrival of Jurgen Klopp did bring a positive impact to Liverpool last season, but the former Dortmund manager will be even more eager to work his magic in his first full season at Anfield. An opening weekend win at the Emirates would be the perfect start.
The Reds are looking in good shape in too following the summer arrivals of Sadio Mane, Joel Matip and Georginio Wijnaldum. However, Klopp faces a defensive crisis too as new goalkeeper Loris Karius joins Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho on the sidelines.
With no European football on the menu, the Merseysiders can focus solely on their Premier League ambitions. Winning the title might be a little unrealistic, but they will harbour hopes of Champions League football. Opening the season with three points would fire a warning to their rivals.
Whatever happens, it should be a cracking encounter.
Arsenal v Liverpool Betting
With home advantage on their side, Arsenal are considered favourites with the bookmakers as Bet365 have priced the 11/8 for the win. Liverpool, meanwhile, can be backed at 19/10, and the draw is available at 23/10.
Both teams have bags of attacking talent, but Wenger and Klopp are joined by defensive headaches. Hopefully, this should lead to plenty of goals.
It could be cagey in the early stages, but both sides will feel more confident in attack than defence. One goal should open up the contest and we’re backing both teams to score.
While we won’t be backing Liverpool to win, Klopp’s high energy pressing should see the visitors take advantage of Arsenal’s defensive woes. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if they leave London having scored at least a couple of goals.
With this in mind, new signing Mane could be great value to score. The Senegal man was brilliant at Southampton last year and has a keen eye for goal. With better players around him, he should score plenty this season. We’re backing him to open his account here.