Prediction and odds for the game: Arsenal (4/1) v Liverpool (5/7)
We are backing the draw at odds of 3/1
When: Saturday, 29th August 2020, Kick-off 16:30
On Saturday afternoon, Arsenal and Liverpool go head-to-head at Wembley in the traditional curtain-raiser of the English football season.
The appointment of Mikel Arteta as head coach has certainly seen a more positive outlook at the north London club. The Gunners may have finished a disappointing eighth place in the table, but the team from north London won the FA Cup and produced results improved results and performances towards the end of the campaign. One standout result was the Gunners recording a 2-1 home win over Saturday’s opponents.
Arsenal headed into pre-season knowing they had to improve their squad. Arteta turned Cedric and Pablo Mari’s loan deals into permanent ones. He also completed the signing of Willian, who arrived from London rivals Chelsea as a free agent. Media reports also suggest that a deal to sign Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes from Lyon for a fee of around £27million is close to completion.
The highly-rated youngster will not be able to play in the next 14 days anyway due to the current quarantine rules.
The Gunners have a poor recent record against Liverpool, winning just once in the last 11 meetings with the Merseysider’s in all competitions. In fact, the 2-1 win in the last meeting between the two sides ended a ten-game winless run for Arsenal against the reigning champions.
Jurgen Klopp’s team are still fresh from ending their 30-year wait for an English top-flight title, as their last competitive game was a month ago against Newcastle United. Since then, the Reds have played just two pre-season games, beating Stuttgart 3-0 before drawing 2-2 with Salzburg.
Liverpool have strengthened their squad with the signing of Greek full-back Konstantinos Tsimikas, who arrives from Olympiakos as back up for first-choice left-back Andy Robertson. The Merseysider’s are also reportedly still interested in signing Bayern Munich’s Brazilian playmaker Thiago. However, it seems that the Reds are unwilling to meet the German clubs mooted £30milion valuation of the former Barcelona star.
Incredibly, Liverpool have only featured in two Community Shields in the last 14 years. Their last appearance came in last season’s event, as they qualified as runners-up due to Manchester City winning the English title and the FA Cup. They lost the game on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Their previous appearance came in 2006 when the Reds beat then champions Chelsea 2-1.
This game is hard to judge as Liverpool have doubts over the fitness of Virgil van Dijk and also Trent Alexander-Arnold, two of their key defensive players. Arsenal have improved immensely since the appointment of Arteta and we are taking a punt on a draw in this clash. Normally games between these two teams have been highly entertaining and high-scoring. However, with the teams having such a short break, this may be a slightly more tame affair, so we are also sticking our necks out and backing the under 2.5 goals.
Verdict: We are backing the draw at odds of 3/1 and/or under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 11/8 (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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