The Premier League is back after a layoff of 10 days and we look forward to this mid-week round of fixtures tonight
Arsenal are coming into this game with 6 wins out of 7 in the Premier League and are also sitting atop the table with a 2 point lead. They will be aiming to continue to build on this lead when taking on the struggling Liverpool side. Arsenal have been playing well delivering the goods while keeping clean sheets in 3 out of the 6 victories. They have developed a good chemistry of players up front in Giroud, Ozil, Walcott and Ramsey who sit up there. They have been working extremely hard on their offence after a poor time in November. Arsenal will feel they have momentum also on their side with the string of victories compared to the Liverpool side who have been struggling off late.
Liverpool’s biggest struggles have been on the defensive end with numerous injuries to their key defenders in Skrtel and Loveren definitely missing while Sakho is doubtful to play. They made an emergency signing in Caulker last night, but he will also struggle to adjust with his team mates after possibly being thrown on the pitch for the first time. Offensively, Liverpool have been horrible losing 2 out of their last 4 games in the league; with their 2 wins coming as a result of narrow 1-0 wins against a struggling Sunderland and a off-colour Leicester City. Benteke, Origi and Sturridge have failed to deliver a consistent goal scoring threat of at least 10 goals that can be proven to be dangerous for the team. Coutinho will also be missing this fixture while Milner has just recovered from injury.
Arsenal will look to exert their dominance in this game especially with Liverpool facing a huge game against Manchester United on the weekend, and I believe that the Gunners should pull away with a victory, but I am taking the draw as insurance.
Manchester City will feel that the return of Aguero has slowly seen their offence get back into the rhythm which they established before he got injured. De Bruyne, Aguero, Silva, Toure and Sterling make for a solid 5 players who can come up with goals and create for the others from any corner of the pitch. They make Fernandinho sit in the midfield ahead of the back 4 for insurance, but that back 4 has been conceding goals and has done so in 7 out of their last 8 games. While they were conceding, the scoring wasn’t consistent but that has improved over the last few games.
On the Everton side they showed their improvement in recent games beating Man City 2-1 in the Capital One Cup last week, and will be aiming to continue to do the same in this encounter. They have relied a lot on Lukaku, Barkley, Kone and Deulofeu to come up consistently with the goods for them, but can always change it around adding McGeady, Mirallas or Lennon on the wings to give an extra injection of pace. Defensively Everton have been quite poor since Jagielka has gone down. He has now passed a game in the FA Cup, but it will be difficult for them to get their understanding back together with Stones so quickly against a top offensive unit in Everton.
This is definitely going to be the encounter of the mid-week fixtures, and hopefully the goals will be around to entertain us, and I am backing over 3 goals on the Asian Lines tonight.