A final is up for grabs, so who’s taking it? The tie is evenly poised with the aggregate scoreline at 0-0. Liverpool and Arsenal have had their fair share of struggles leading up to this game, with issues like fitness, COVID and AFCON all playing a major part when it comes to picking their ideal starting XI. The first leg was far from the goal-fest everyone was expecting. Both teams were intense and on the front foot for the opening 20 minutes until HE had another famous moment. The ‘HE’ in this incident is the Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka who decided to get his trademark red card. After a stunning chipped through ball from Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson, Diogo Jota was on the cusp of a 1v1 against the keeper. Enter Xhaka. The ex-Arsenal captain rises to clear the ball, misses, and ends up with a foot full of Jota’s chest. The recklessness of the challenge and him being the last man, saw the Gunner receive a red card. From then on, the objective for Arsenal changed. Sit back, soak up the pressure and stay in the tie. Ultimately the plan worked, leaving both teams with it all to do this Thursday,
Liverpool will be kicking themselves after the first leg. They played against 10 men for much of the game, this was a huge opportunity to take the incitive in this tie. The Red’s looked flat and uninspired as they struggled to open Arsenal up. Jurgen Klopp’s men looked lost without African stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane spearheading their attack, their best chance fell to Taki Minamino who blazed the ball over the bar right at the death. Despite the draw and their absent stars, Liverpool found their shooting boots as they came out on top 3-0 winners at the weekend against Brentford. With this result in mind, the Reds will be looking to continue this form and take advantage of this weak Arsenal side.
Arsenal has been the centre of attention this week as they controversially requested to postpone the North London derby this weekend. This request came under fire as despite claiming to have a depleted squad their decision to loan out Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun has been baffling to some. Their result at Anfield gives the gunners everything to play for, but with their list of absentees, any type of positive result is going to be hard to come by. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will be hoping his exciting duo of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka can not only play but be the difference come the final whistle.
Arsenal did brilliantly well to hold out for a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg after being reduced to 10 men for more than an hour. However, Mikel Arteta is short of numbers due to COVID, injuries, suspension, and AFCON so I can’t see them replicating this twice. Liverpool responded well with a 3-0 victory over Brentford at the weekend and will hope to carry that confidence and attacking play into Thursday’s game. Keep an eye out for Liverpool full-backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold as I believe they will be influential going into this second leg.
- Liverpool to Win
- Jota to have 1 SOT (Shot On Target)
- Match to have over 2.5 goals
With the first leg being a drab affair, why would there be so many goals? Well, my theory is that both teams have nothing to lose and a trip to Wembley to gain. In the last 5 games, 11 goals have been scored in total, I believe with both teams scrapping for the win I’m expecting goals and a lot of them.
With their goal scorer away at AFCON Klopp has had to look to an alternative goal source, the answer? Jota. The Portuguese striker is currently sitting second in the top scorer’s chart with 10 goals, 6 behind teammate Salah. Jota has shown to be a worthy replacement for Liverpool and I’m backing him for a goal against Arsenal for the second time this season.
Betting Tip Announcement
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