By recent standards, Arsenal and Liverpool can both feel pretty chuffed with their progress in the 2013/2014 season so far. Wenger’s men in red and white have looked the real deal all season long, lacking the fireworks that Man City have pulled out of their sleeves on certain occasions, but playing with a dogged professionalism that’s seen them edge out close opposition time after time after time. That’s the mark of a trophy-winning side and the reason they currently lead the league.
A month ago, Liverpool sat at the top of the Premier League pile – a massive achievement for a side who have struggled to stay in touch with the top division’s best sides in recent seasons. Through a combination of lost form and bad luck however, their fortunes have changed somewhat, with a string of poor results and lukewarm wins. A title challenge seems increasingly unlikely, though Champions’ League qualification is still very much on the cards. Brendan Rogers knows that the FA Cup is now his side’s best chance of silverware this season, and as such, we can expect to see Liverpool throwing everything they have at an Arsenal side who bear the added burden of the Champions’ League campaign.
Who do the bookies fancy?
By all accounts this match is a tough one to call, but Arsenal are slightly better fancied to take the victory than Liverpool, at 11/10 for the win. Liverpool are at 5/2, with a draw between the two sides at 9/4.
Do they have it right?
We think the odds on this one seem to favour Arsenal a little too highly. Arsenal have just about got the better of Liverpool over the course of the Premier League season so far, but this game could be different.
For one thing, much will depend upon the form of Liverpool’s at-times unplayable strike partnership of Sturridge and Suarez. For another, and perhaps more importantly, this tie takes place on February 15th, in the middle of a horrendously challenging twelve day period for Arsenal, which will see them taking on Liverpool twice, as well as meeting many people’s tip for best side in the world, Bayern Munich in the Champions’ League and Manchester United in the Premier League. If there’s a team out there with a less daunting fortnight inked into their fixtures diary, we’ve not heard of them. Mark our words, this is going to be a tasty encounter!