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Now it gets really tough for Premier League leaders Arsenal

| 06.02.2014

This Saturday marks the start of not one, but two scary runs of fixtures for Arsenal that will define their season. Get through them and they may well win the Premier League title and perhaps one of the Cups as well. Flounder and they could end up scrapping for a Champions League spot with Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs and Everton.

Liverpool away this weekend is followed by Manchester United at home before they clash with Liverpool again in the FA Cup and then the mighty Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

It then gets easier for a short while before an even worse nightmare sequence of games between mid-March and early April when they play their return leg against Bayern before consecutive Premier League matches against Spurs away, Chelsea away, Manchester City at home and Everton away.

This all means, of course, that they have a relatively simple five-game run-in, but the damage may well have been done by then and any Gunners’ fans contemplating taking Coral’s 4/1 to win the Premier League might well do better to wait and see if they are still in with a shout after they have taken on all the big boys.

Arsenal, still top of the pile after Chelsea beat Man City on Monday, have lost both their top-seven League clashes on the road this season (to the two Manchester clubs), but will take heart from their head-to-head record with Liverpool in recent seasons.

They have lost just one of their last 13 encounters and are unbeaten at Anfield since walloped 4-1 in March 2007 (something of a backlash following an incredible 6-3 away win for Arsenal in the League Cup a few weeks earlier).

Liverpool are playing down their own title aspirations and Coral’s 20/1 is a fair reflection of their chances. A Champions League spot would be a most satisfactory return this season as far as boss Brendan Rodgers is concerned and they look good for it at the moment (4/6 with Coral).

But they have developed into a very good team this season, particularly at home, and Arsenal will surely be pleased to come away with a point.

This game has finished 1-1 (6/1) five times in recent years and it would be no surprise to see it end the same way, but there are plenty of goals in both teams and 2-2 (8/1) is an attractive alternative. Any draw is 12/5.

As for goalscorers, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are the obvious candidates for Liverpool, but Steve Gerrard has been weighing in with a few as well and makes appeal at 7/2 to be on target again (10/1 first or last).

Arsenal are hoping to welcome Jack Wilshire back, but it is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (11/1 to score first or last, 4/1 at any time) who catches the eye following his brace against Crystal Palace last weekend.



Jon Freeman