The rains are back. So much promise after a stunning weekend of sun. But here is the segue question you were waiting for… who will the rain pour on this evening?
It’s the first real test of the season. Liverpool had a bad season last year, in part due to injury, in part to losing Luis Suarez and in part to signing a rabble of pretty average players with £100m at their disposal.
Their main mistake was replacing one of the most menacing strikers in the world with a player who is one of the most overrated, laid back and lazy players on the planet. Mario derailed them last year. One cog drops in your pressing approach and you’re dead.
Rodgers has tried to bring back some of that tenacity and pace by signing players like Benteke and Firmino.
How that will play out probably won’t kick in until November. So this gives Arsenal, a far more settled team, the opportunity to take advantage of communications fractures that are sure to be present in their set up.
One of the best ways to upset a new team is hit them at pace. That’s what Wenger has said is key to disrupting the Scousers tonight.
When he says things like that, you have to wonder whether Giroud will start or whether he’ll opt for a Community Shield like line up. Could we see Theo playing through middle? Flanked by Chambo and Sanchez? Wouldn’t that be tasty!
If Giroud is dropped, it’s a positive step for the team. It means that Wenger is taking rotation seriously even at this early stage of the season. That would be an act of progress.
In midfield, Coquelin partnered by Coquelin with Ozil operating in the hole. I doubt he’ll go for that, he usually needs to make sure Rambo is in there as well. But Wenger made a point of talking up Santi before the game.
“Santi is an important player in the buildup of our game. He is naturally a guy who brings fluidity, and gets you out of tight situations.”
Mesut is supremely confident about the game.
“We are at home and we know exactly how we can beat Liverpool; that is what we want to do on Monday.
“We were highly concentrated. The manager gave us tasks on the pitch and we executed them perfectly. That’s what we will have to do on Monday again.
“We have to believe in ourselves as we have the potential to beat every team and we will show that on Monday.”
You can’t knock the confidence having a game plan can give to a team. Hopefully the plan and the instruction pack dished out for this one will come to fruition.
This match has big game written all over it, the players will turn up. We need to send a message to the rest of the league we’re not a soft touch this year. Manchester City were excellent once again yesterday, they really are going to be the pace setters this season. However, I think we’ve learnt in the past that a strong start doesn’t equate to a strong end.
Big game, take a damn rain jacket and let’s hope it’s a monsoon of delightful football that drenches Rodgers new team.