Big Match Focus: Arsenal vs Liverpool

In an exciting Saturday showdown, Liverpool travels to Arsenal as both teams seek to avoid losing ground on Premier League leader Manchester City.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery's seven victories in his first 10 top-flight matches gives him the best win percentage of any Gunners manager in Premier League history.   -  Getty Images

Arsenal and Liverpool will be hoping to enhance their claim as Premier League title candidates when they clash at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Liverpool remains unbeaten in the top flight this season and only sits behind leader and defending champion Manchester City on goal difference.

Unai Emery's men are four points adrift of the top two and saw their seven-game winning streak in the Premier League end with a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace last time out. Having suffered defeats to City and Chelsea in its opening two matches of the season, Arsenal will be keen to make a statement and make up ground on Jurgen Klopp's side.

BETTER THAN WENGER?

Stepping into the breach after Arsene Wenger's 22-year tenure in north London was never going to be easy, but Unai Emery has made a strong start.

Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger embrace before a Champions League game   -  Getty Images

 

Indeed, the Spaniard's seven victories in his first 10 top-flight matches gives him the best win percentage of any Gunners manager in Premier League history – better than Wenger (50 per cent), Bruce Rioch (60 per cent), George Graham and Stewart Houston (both 40 per cent)

Emery triumphed in his only previous meeting against Jurgen Klopp, too. He guided Sevilla to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in the 2015-16 Europa League final in Basel.

He will be hoping to become the first Arsenal boss to get one over on Klopp in the league.

FORM GUIDE

Following draws against title rivals Chelsea and City, Liverpool returned to winning ways at Huddersfield Town.

The side is unbeaten in its last 11 Premier League games (W9 D2) and have conceded just four times in that run.

Despite its winning spell ending at Palace, Arsenal has developed a reputation for starting slowly this season. The Gunners have not led at half-time in any of their 10 Premier League matches and if games finished at that point they would sit 17th.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp   -  Getty Images

 

However, the side does eventually get firing, as evidenced by the fact it has scored at least twice in each of its last nine outings.

PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Sadio Mane)

Emery has tended towards using Aubameyang from the left since his arrival, with Alexandre Lacazette leading Arsenal through the middle.

Aubameyang's expected goals have consequently dipped from 8.63 in his 13 appearances in 2017-18 to 3.6 across 10 outings this term – though that is still higher than Liverpool counterpart Sadio Mane's total of 3.23.

 

Despite being moved away from his favoured position this term, Aubameyang also leads Mane in minutes per goal involvement (87 to 132).

The Gabon international has more goals (seven to six) and assists (one to zero) than Mane, while also possessing a vastly superior shot conversion rate (36.84 per cent to 27.27 per cent).

Mane has created more chances than Aubameyang this term (11 to nine), but it is the former Borussia Dortmund forward who has the superior minutes per goal involvement since his Premier League debut last February (79.6 to 144.4).

HISTORY SAYS…

Expect goals! The last five Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool have produced a total of 27, which averages out at 5.4 per match.

The lion's share of that is down to Liverpool, though. The Reds have scored at least three in each of those matches and have 17 in total.

It forms part of a poor run for Arsenal against Liverpool, with the Gunners failing to triumph in any of their last six top-flight encounters against the Reds – their worst streak versus them since going 12 winless between 1994 and 2000.

However, Liverpool has left Arsenal with three points just twice in its last 18 visits.