Arsenal host Liverpool in the first of four busy festive Premier League fixture rounds.
Both teams are split by just one point in fifth and fourth respectively, making this a must win if either want to strengthen their chances of Champions League football next season.
Arsene Wenger will be missing key striker, Oliver Giroud after the Frenchman picked up a hamstring.
Francis Coquelin could however be fit despite being subbed in midweek.
Shkodran Mustafi is expected to be back in the squad, having recovered from a thigh injury.
Liverpool meanwhile has Emre Can back from suspension.
Joel Matip and Daniel Sturridge meanwhile are fitness doubts for this game.
Defender, Alberto Moreno however is their only definite absentee with an ongoing ankle problem.
Arsenal have been in worrying form with just five points and a home loss to Manchester United.
Liverpool on other hand are unbeaten so far this month with two wins and draws apiece,
Goals wise, the Gunners have a meagre three league goals and seven cup goals. The latter came across to two competitions.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds meanwhile has ten goals and conceded just twice domestically. When it comes to cup competitions, their only cup match this month came in Champions League, when they thrashed Spartak Moscow 7-0.
Focusing on their last league games alone, both teams won although Liverpool battered Bournemouth 4-0 away.
Arsenal meanwhile won 1-0 against Newcastle at home.
Key opening half
Arsenal’s defence will need to be on their guard in the first half, if want to get anything from the game.
54.2% of Liverpool’s away goals have come before half time, which is when Arsenal tend to concede more at home.
How important is clinical finishing here?
Clinical finishing will definitely be key here for both teams, as goals make point/s.
As well as their heavy first half conceding rate, Arsenal’s attacking record at home is also a concern.
61.8% of their attacking shots have been off target but the goal return from those on target is an issue.
Only 11.5% of home shots have been turned into goals with 26.7% saved.
Liverpool’s away attack meanwhile has a higher off target percentage, but the saved and goals shot percentage are a lot closer.
Swings and roundabouts
Although Liverpool might appear to be the more clinical, if look at several key areas, things might be tighter than expected.
|Per game average (home/away)||Arsenal (home)||Liverpool (away)|
|Shots on Target||8.11||5.56|
Arsenal tend to dominate more, being the home side but Merseyside’s Reds have an excellent foul average.
Their foul average of 9.44 is something that is expected of a team at home, giving them a good edge discipline wise.
Coming back to the point of how vital clinical finishing might be, despite lagging behind in shots and on target categories, Liverpool has the better goal average (albeit away goal average).
We should definitely see goals here but I am going for a comfortable Liverpool win, purely due to their attacking quality and clinical finishing.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Liverpool
Jake predicts: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Result: Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool
Here at Sport Grill, me and Jake Self are going head to head predicting games. Here is how things stand after the previous round of games along with the rules.
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points