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Liverpool is the best test for Arsenal

By Aldrine Nsubuga

Added 27th September 2020 01:22 PM

Both have maximum points from the first two games with Mikel Arteta’s team continuing an excellent run since the close of last season where they won the FA Cup and Community Shield after claiming the scalps of City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the process.

Liverpool is the best test for Arsenal

An Arsenal player tries to dribble pat Liverpool defenders. AFP PHOTO

Both have maximum points from the first two games with Mikel Arteta’s team continuing an excellent run since the close of last season where they won the FA Cup and Community Shield after claiming the scalps of City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the process.

Some people felt the delicacy of nuance between Liverpool and Leeds on opening weekend was in the result. Others debated whether Chelsea's £200 million freshers have not catapulted the Londoners to equal heights with the champions.

It no longer matters. By overwhelming Chelsea with their 2-0 away, victory on Sunday, Liverpool's insatiable hunters have given their response and drawn the white line. The gulf in class remains unbridged. On Monday, Arsenal - Chelsea's London rivals - will have their turn to climb the mountain. Anfield.

After the bickering in conference rooms, came the hugs on the touchline inside the walls of Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp had insisted there was no personal rivalry, only professional responsibility towards their clubs. They were right because when the ‘oligarch' met the ‘shoestring,' money became paper and the string turned into a rope from which Lampard's head hung after 90 minutes. It was a no contest.

Christensen wrestled Sadio Mane and got sent off, Kepa Arrizabalaga assisted him. Earlier, the reigning African Player of The Year had beaten the Spanish goalkeeper; the most expensive goalkeeper in history, with a flying header. On the opposite side, Allison; £5m cheaper, denied Chelsea's penalty expert, Jorginho from the spot. It was the Italian's first miss in nine attempts for Chelsea. Karma indeed.

On this same night, a makeshift center back Fabinho pocketed £47.5m signing Timo Werner while Jordan Henderson bullied the £70m club record signing Kai Havertz to the point of invisibility and replacement. Werner and Havertz are supposedly the leaders of Chelsea's new dispensation. Lampard's more qualified counterparts, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have been left with egg on the face following verbal contests with the Klopp on occasions before, the Chelsea manager would have known better.

‘There is no rivalry with Lampard,' the German tactician had insisted before the match. Four wins out of four big meetings now including the European Super cup. Absolute dominance. Case closed. When Liverpool play like this so early in the season, there's the reason for the chasers to worry. Klopp's team have a cynical way it answers critics. They responded to the challenge of toppling Manchester City - everyone's idea then of the greatest team in Premier League history - by winning the championship a whopping 18 points above them. That was dominance.

Pundits have spent the short summer looking for a chink in their armour. Some say being champions is now a burden to them as they've turned into the hunted and target. Others impugned that their slow market activity was going to bring lethargy and hand the advantage to their hunters. Their response? Bayern Munich's Tiago Alcantara and Wolves' Diogo Jota for a combined fee of £65million. Proved world-class together with burgeoning talent. 45 minutes against Chelsea is all it took for Klopp and Tiago to silence and alarm the critics.

Without training with his new teammates and only 24 hours at the club, Tiago has penned his page in the Premier League's history books. Not only did he out pass the entire Chelsea team, but he also registered the most number of passes ever by any player in a single half. He oozed so much class with every touch, movement, and presence, none of the Chelsea superstars looked good enough to untie his boot laces. He cost one-fifth of what Havertz and Werner cost Chelsea.

Arsenal next. Both have maximum points from the first two games with Mikel Arteta's team continuing an excellent run since the close of last season where they won the FA Cup and Community Shield after claiming the scalps of City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the process. Alexander Lacazette is back in the goals and Pierre Aubameyang is Pierre Aubameyang. The perfect time and mood to take on the champions. But Anfield is a venue where Arsenal have suffered most since Klopp's arrival, a place where Liverpool haven't lost in 60 games. A fortress.

If Arteta maintains the pragmatic approach that has tactically helped the improvement in results recently, he could be swept by an avalanche. Both Mohammed Salah and Mane are in the mood and there's a new pass master in town. Arsenal have conceded eight goals in the league in their last two visits at Anfield, 13 including the League Cup. They need prayer. Liverpool will be taking them seriously as they are in good form currently.

Aware that the top teams are off to a good start, with Everton (also enjoying an excellent start) soon after, Liverpool will be focused. A perfect start last season gave them the impetus they needed. It's the best game for Arsenal to test their newfound resolve and character.
 

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