Premier League • England

Predicted Arsenal team to face Liverpool: Key duo return in big boost for Arteta

Jonny Whitfield
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during their 1-0 victory over Watford 2021

After a period of solid form and strong results, the predicted Arsenal team to face Liverpool on Saturday could see star duo Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney return.

The Gunners have turned a corner to become one of the Premier League’s in-form teams, following a disastrous start. In fact, three defeats from three matches left them bottom of the table with a minus nine goal difference.

Skip forward to 11 matches into the campaign, though, and Arsenal sit fifth, two points behind Saturday’s opponents Liverpool.

To add more gloss to their recent run, Liverpool’s first defeat of the season only came in their last game.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said of his side’s trip to Anfield: Well it’s always a test. It’s a fascinating stadium to play football.

“You have to be at your best, you have to raise your level to the maximum standards emotionally, physically, technically, because if you don’t, you’ll get exposed.

“To go to Anfield is always a test, but if you’re able to do all that, there aren’t many grounds where you feel as though you are a proper footballer.”

Liverpool are unbeaten in their past 13 matches at Anfield, but Arsenal have not lost in 10 matches in all competitions.

Last time out – Arsenal 1-0 Watford

Arsenal quartet Ben White, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gabriel Martinelli and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2021

The Gunners’ strong run of form continued before the international break with a convincing win over Watford, contrary to what the scoreline might suggest.

While Emile Smith Rowe eventually netted the winner in the second half, Bukayo Saka had a goal disallowed for offside and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty before the break.

What’s more, another clean sheet for goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and the back four of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel and Nuno Taveres cemented Arsenal’s stability at the back.

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Further forward, Saka, Smith Rowe and Aubameyang could have made it a more handsome win for Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette continued to play a key role behind Aubameyang.

Predicted Arsenal team against Liverpool

Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey celebrate

Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ainsley Maitland-Niles played in midfield against Watford, but Partey could replace the latter.

The Ghana star complained of a groin problem before the clash with the Hornets. As such, he stayed in London during the international break and Arteta hopes to have him available.

The manager said: “He couldn’t play for the national team. He really tried to do that and pushed for that one but wasn’t enough.

“Again that’s something we have to assess because until today he hasn’t done enough.”

Elsewhere, Kieran Tierney made his return from an ankle problem for Scotland and so he could replace Tavares at left-back.

Saka and Smith Rowe will likely start again, as will Aubameyang and Lacazette. Arsenal have struggled at Anfield in recent seasons – losing all of the last five Premier League games between the sides there.

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However, Arsenal have much-needed stability in their team this season which could serve them well this time around.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Saka, Lokonga, Partey, Smith Rowe; Lacazette; Aubameyang