Win at Anfield, win the league? Beating Liverpool holds the key to Arsenal's title push

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The Gunners have an awful record at Anfield in the Premier League, but Mikel Arteta is confident they can end their 11-year wait for a win on Sunday

Here we go again! Another day, another monumental game on the cards for Arsenal as they go hunting their first Premier League title in 19 years. There have been so many huge moments for Mikel Arteta’s side already during their increasingly remarkable season, but Sunday might just be the biggest yet

The Gunners head to Liverpool having won their last seven games in the Premier League, picking up 21 points from a possible 21 since their defeat against Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium in February.

Many felt Arsenal’s title challenge would fall away after that 3-1 loss against Pep Guardiola’s side, but instead it has picked up pace.

And should they make it eight wins from eight at Anfield this weekend, it would be the biggest sign yet that they are ready to finally end their long wait to be crowned champions.

  1. The biggest of tests

    The biggest of tests

    Arteta’s young side have faced many big obstacles already this season and they managed to successfully avoid every almost one that has stood in their way.

    Liverpool were seen off at the Emirates, as were Manchester United. Tottenham were beaten twice, while Chelsea were outclassed at Stamford Bridge.

    Aside from the home defeat by Man City, Arsenal have stepped up when needed this season against the so called big six in the Premier League.

    "We really need to embrace the moment and go for it,” Arteta said ahead of Sunday’s game. “The team is full of enthusiasm and positivity and we know that we have a big challenge, but I see a big opportunity to go to Anfield and do something that we haven't done for many years. 

    “That's what is driving the team in the last few days."

  2. Banishing demons

    Banishing demons

    But if they are to get past Liverpool, Arsenal are going to have to do something that they haven’t done in 11 years and that’s win in the league at Anfield.

    Arteta was playing the last time the Gunners picked up three points on the red half of Merseyside, with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla earning them a 2-0 win in 2012.

    Anfield has been a miserable destination for Arsenal since then. They have visited Liverpool nine times in the Premier League since that win 11 years ago, and have picked up just two points, conceding a staggering 32 goals in the process.

    It’s an awful record, but Arteta is convinced his team has what it takes to finally end it on Sunday.

    "We've been to a few grounds this season where we haven't won in 17, 18 and 22 years and we have managed to do it,” he said. “So we are capable of [winning at Anfield], that's for sure.

    “We are coming from a different position and what I see is enthusiasm, positivity and something that you need to have: courage. Courage to play, courage to impose yourself on the game and be dominant. 

    “On Sunday we will try to be that team."

  3. Following in the footsteps of greatness
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    Following in the footsteps of greatness

    One potential positive for Arsenal going into the game is that past history suggests that a win at Anfield during a title chase tends to end with them lifting the trophy.

    There was of course the famous night in 1989 when Michael Thomas’ injury-time strike saw Arsenal crowned champions at Liverpool’s expense in the most dramatic end to a league season of all time.

    Paul Merson then scored the winner in a 1-0 win as George Graham’s side won the title again in 1991.

    Freddie Ljunberg’s strike saw a 10-man Arsenal triumph at Anfield during their title winning 2001-02 season, and Robert Pires was the hero as the Invincibles came from behind to earn a 2-1 win in 2003-04.

    So history shows that it can be done, and what this Arsenal have team has shown this season is they like nothing more than proving people wrong.

    Their fearless approach to games is what's taken them to the top of the Premier League, and they will need to show that type of attitude again at Anfield this weekend if they are to maintain their advantage over a Manchester City side that look like they are hitting top gear.

  4. Calm heads will be key

    Calm heads will be key

    If Arsenal are to end their Anfield hoodoo on Sunday, then they are going to need to keep their heads amid the usual intense atmosphere.

    They didn’t manage that last season, with Arteta actually the chief culprit. His side had actually done well to quieten the crowd, but his touchline spat with Jurgen Klopp seemed to spark Liverpool into life and they went on to run out 4-0 winners.

    Arsenal can’t allow something similar to happen this time around, and they will need to draw on their experiences from the victories at Chelsea and Tottenham this season.

    Arteta’s side stamped their authority on those games early on and gave the home crowd nothing to cheer about. They went on to dominate both matches and returned to north London with maximum points.

    If they can do the same at Anfield on Sunday, then they would take another massive step towards the title.