Arsenal travel to Liverpool this weekend looking to keep their lead at the top of the Premier League in tact.
It’s a massive match for the Gunners but it’s also a great chance for Brendan Rodgers’ men to snap up three points and send out a statement of intent to the club’s rivals in the race for the top four.
We’ve taken a look at some of the key battles which could turn the match.
Martin Skrtel v Olivier Giroud
Skrtel will see Giroud as one of the main threats in the Arsenal attack.
Giroud’s size means Skrtel will try and match up against him, trying to stop him from holding the ball up and winning any challenges in the air.
If Skrtel can dominate Giroud then it means the rest of the defensive stars in Liverpool’s team just have to focus on the midfield and the runners coming from deep positions.
Jon Flanagan v Santi Cazorla
Arsene Wenger could ask Cazorla to revert to a left midfield position where he’d be matched up against the young Jon Flanagan.
Flanagan has come on leaps and bounds as a defender so far this season and it will be interesting to see if he can cope with the skill, movement and pace of one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
Jordan Henderson v Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
If the Ox plays through the middle of Arsenal’s midfield again, Rodgers could instruct Henderson to make it difficult for the youngster to have any time or space on the ball.
If Henderson can stop him from developing any fluency, then Liverpool remove one of Arsenal’s quickest players from having any influence on the game.
To do that, Henderson needs to show a lot of discipline because it means he’ll have to sit in a deep position for long spells of the match.
Steven Gerrard v Mikel Arteta
This is going to be the battle between two experienced heads in the middle of each side.
They won’t always be up against each other in a practical sense but their teammates are going to look to them if either team gets off to a bad start.
Gerrard needs to resist the urge to push too far forward while Arteta’s job is likely to be sitting, holding and protecting the back four.
Luis Suarez v Per Mertesacker
Suarez is one of the smartest strikers in Europe so he’ll drift onto Mertesacker’s side to try and exploit the German’s lack of pace and mobility.
Arsenal’s centre back can counter this by dropping off slightly and trying to give himself more room, stepping in to intercept before Suarez can get on the ball and cause a problem.
Mertesacker does have the experience and discipline needed to resist Suarez’ tactics of trying to pull him out of position.
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