Gunners look for shot in the arm- EPL - Wwenger’s battered boys take on liverpool
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- Published 10.02.10
London: Since climbing to the top of the Premier League, Arsenal have taken only one point from three games, slipped to third and been knocked out of the FA Cup.
Now Arsene Wenger’s young players face a tough home game against reviving Liverpool, and another defeat could leave them with little chance of winning a title they last captured six years ago.
“I feel that we are not in the best position but we will not give up,” Wenger said after Sunday’s 0-2 defeat at Chelsea left his side nine points off the lead.
“We were a bit unfortunate as well in the same period to play Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool on the trot. If you lose one game, it is very difficult with the psychological implications for the next game. I believe that is a little bit of a disadvantage.”
At the same stage of last season, however, Arsenal slipped off the title pace by drawing five games in a row — four of them 0-0 — although they didn’t face any of their traditional title rivals during that run.
At home, on Wednesday, Wenger’s team will be facing a Liverpool side that have lost only one of their last nine league games, with a 1-0 victory over neighbouring Everton on Saturday. Neither have the Reds conceded in their last four outings. Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas and their hamstrung strike force — Robin Van Persie and Eduardo Da Silva are injured — will have to think of something new and different if they are to open up the Liverpool defence.
Arsenal have scored only one goal in their last three games — a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United — and Wenger’s team rarely troubled Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech despite having far more possession.
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba scored both goals and rattled the crossbar with a free kick, and the team’s defence was just as outstanding. Manager Carlo Ancelotti singled out John Terry for praise for a commanding performance two days after being stripped of the England captaincy by Fabio Capello.
Terry injured a thigh in Sunday’s game but hopes to be fit to face ninth-placed Everton at Goodison Park with Chelsea now two points ahead at the top of the standings.
Everton’s defeat to Liverpool was their first in 10 league games since a 0-2 home loss to their Merseyside neighbours on November 29. Saturday’s game was a bruising confrontation and both managers hope they can send out the strongest available line-ups for Wednesday’s games.
Second-placed Manchester United come off a 5-0 victory over bottom-placed Portsmouth but now have a tougher game at Aston Villa, who are seventh in the standings and have conceded the fewest goals at home — seven — in the Premier League. United are level with Arsenal for the most goals away from home, 25.
In Wednesday’s other games, Hull hope to continue their revival with a victory at Blackburn, having drawn with Chelsea and beaten Manchester City to climb out of the relegation zone and up to 14th.
West Ham slipped back into relegation trouble after a 2-1 loss at Burnley and now host eighth-placed Birmingham.