Gunners know how to blitz reds: Oezil

Mesut Oezil (above) has started this season as Arsenal's No. 10. He scored from a free kick in their 4-1 trouncing of Liverpool in April.
Mesut Oezil (above) has started this season as Arsenal's No. 10. He scored from a free kick in their 4-1 trouncing of Liverpool in April.PHOTO: REUTERS

Midfielder sure Wenger's side can repeat last season's hammering of Liverpool at Emirates

LONDON • Arsenal playmaker Mesut Oezil has warned Brendan Rodgers' men that the Gunners know exactly how to beat Liverpool ahead of their crucial clash at the Emirates tonight.

The German international pointed to last season's fixture - a resounding 4-1 win for the hosts - as evidence that they have figured out how to defeat Liverpool.

With the exception of Petr Cech in goal, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to name the same side who produced one of the club's best performances last term.

"I remember that we delivered a really convincing display," Oezil, who scored from a free kick in that April game, told the London Evening Standard.

"In the first half, we decided the game because we had a high level of concentration and wanted to utilise our potential. We want to do that again this time.

A LOT ON THE LINE

This is a very important game where the result will of course be vital. It's not a result that will decide (anything) but, in our heads, we know it's very important.

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal's manager, on the match against Liverpool

"We're at home and we know exactly how we can beat Liverpool."

Liverpool have won only once in their last 18 games at the Emirates.

Their 5-1 demolition of Arsenal at Anfield in February last year was the only success in their last eight meetings with Wenger's side.

But Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers knows the importance of a psychological lift that victory at Arsenal will bring. And the Northern Irishman believes he knows where the match will be won or lost.

Both teams tend to approach games looking to dominate the ball. But Rodgers, who has noted a trend of away wins at the Emirates, says that the side who dominate the space today will prevail.

"If you look at Arsenal's last 10 games that they've lost at home, the teams that have won there, it's been about dangerous possession," said Rodgers, who saw his team collect only five points from a possible 24 against the top four last season.

"The teams that have been there have only averaged around four shots on target and with 43 per cent possession.

"Tactically, we'll arrive in a good mind about how we can win it.

"There are certain games you look at the approach to get you the result and that is something we have been working on this week."

Liverpool will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new season. Arsenal, on the other hand, lost their first game at home to West Ham United, although they bounced back with victory at Crystal Palace.

A second home defeat in succession would see yet more scorn poured on the Gunners' title chances. Wenger knows it is key that his players put the Hammers result behind them.

"If you want to have a successful season, you want to be strong at home," said the Frenchman.

"Normally, we're strong at home. This is an opportunity to show that.

"This is a very important game where the result will of course be vital. It's not a result that will decide (anything) but, in our heads, we know it's very important."

Arsenal have no new injury concerns, with midfielder Jack Wilshere (fractured fibula), forward Danny Welbeck and midfielder Tomas Rosicky (both knee) still sidelined.

Arsenal are expected to have Alexis Sanchez in the starting XI after he returned to the team at Palace.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson faces a late fitness test after a foot injury forced him off early in the second half against Bournemouth.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'Gunners know how to blitz reds: Oezil'. Print Edition | Subscribe