After the absolute rollercoaster that was the 2015-16 season, the first week of Premier League is quickly approaching and it already looks very promising. The vice-champions Arsenal are going to face Klopp‘s determined squad, and we can only hope the match will be half as stunning as the Gunners‘ last year‘s debut horror.
That is not to say they aren‘t prepared to play against Liverpool – but after the Reds friendly victory over Barcelona it‘s rather safe to assume they‘re pretty tough contenders. However, Arsenal has kicked off with a friendly 3-2 win against Man City, which did come at a price as Gabriel suffered an injury that put him out for six to eight weeks before the very first game of the Premier League season 2016-17.
And that’s not the only drawback that the Gunners have – Wenger is actually taking his lads to the first match with a bit of an injury crisis on his hand. Per Mertesacker is not fit to play yet either,and Laurent Koscielny is resting after France’s run to the Euro 2016 final, so in turn Arsenal is lacking in defence. Jack Wilshere will be missing this game as well, as is Danny Wellback. On one hand, it could mean that other player will step up. On the other, it’s a pretty decent recipe for a disaster.
According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, the odds are in Arsenal’s favour: their victory is valued at 133/100 while Liverpool’s at 2/1. That is not a complete surprise, considering how the Reds have managed to continue their tradition of getting injured all the time – Daniel Sturridge is most likely out for the opener. Still, he seems to be getting back on track quickly and Klopp has managed to get out of worse situations than that.
If we take a look at last year’s Premier League games that these two teams had, we’ll see that they ended in draws both times – the first with clean sheets, and the second with a rather impressive tally of three goals for each party. Still, this time around Arsenal’s squad seems to be lacking because of the injuries and their new signings haven’t been taken all that well – which, of course, may prove to be a completely wrong first look at the situation.
In any case, this looks like it’s going to be the most interesting match of the opening week. Although judging by the friendly games both teams seem ready to kick off with a blast, the real competition is starting now and after last year’s stunner there is no doubt that each game will feel that much more important. A first victory could set the tone for a successful run – and both Arsenal and Liverpool are very thirsty for success indeed.