Arsenal welcome Liverpool this Sunday with a view to a first Premier League victory against the Reds since July 2020. So where are those who kicked off the shock of Project Restart like Emiliano Martinez?
Five of the players Mikel Arteta named in his line-up to face Jurgen Klopp’s side two years ago are not at Arsenal for this weekend’s game. The Spaniard has been ringing the changes at the Emirates Stadium over the past 27 months to build what is currently a top-flight squad.
Arsenal will start the weekend leading the top flight by one point against defending champions Manchester City. They will also finish the ninth round of fixtures in the top two regardless of the outcome of Liverpool’s visit to north London. The Reds enter the weekend in ninth place.
Liverpool have won their last four Premier League meetings with Arsenal
Liverpool will be looking to maintain their dominant form against Arsenal to climb the ranks this weekend. Klopp has overseen wins over Arteta in the two teams’ last four Premier League meetings. The Reds have also scored 12 goals against just one allowed in 2020.
The Anfield natives also broke the deadlock when they visited the Emirates in the July 2020 Project Restart. Sadio Mane found the back of the net after just 20 minutes in the postponed game. The match took place three weeks after Liverpool won the title.
Still, Klopp told BBC Sport after Arsenal’s return that Liverpool “deserved” to lose for only the third time this term. Errors from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker had allowed Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson to overturn the score before half-time.
Lacazette took full advantage of a bad back pass from Van Dijk to eliminate Mane’s arrival on a cross from Andrew Robertson. As Nelson later struck what is currently Arsenal’s latest winner over Liverpool after Alisson’s sloppy clearance gave the winger his first league goal.
Arteta cannot count on Lacazette to lead his attack against Liverpool on Sunday as the striker left Arsenal in June. So with that in mind, where are the 11 players the Spaniard started last time the Gunners beat the Reds in a Premier League clash with six still at the club?
Emiliano Martinez (GK): Aston Villa star opened up on Arsenal’s latest win over Liverpool
Martinez was lucky enough to be Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper after the Premier League mandate resumed in June 2020. Yet Arteta would sell the 30-year-old Argentine to Aston Villa for £17million in September on the back of him starting their FA Cup final defeating Chelsea.
Rob Holding (CB): The centre-half made a rare appearance in 2019/20 against the Reds
Rob Holding made a rare appearance during the 2019/20 Premier League tenure as Arsenal picked up their latest victory against Liverpool. The centre-back has played just eight top-flight games this season after suffering other injuries following cruciate ligament surgery.
David Luiz (CB): the Brazilian proved decisive in his first season with Arsenal
David Luiz has proven to be a central part of Arsenal’s backline during the Brazilian’s first spell in north London. Unai Emery paid Chelsea £8m in August 2019 for the 35-year-old centre-half who would make 33 Premier League outings this season and another 20 in 2020/21.
Arteta let Luiz leave the Emirates at the end of his contract in June 2021 before the 57-cap international joined Flamengo. He is still with the Rubro-Negro today, but his terms in Rio de Janeiro are due to end in December once Brazil’s Serie A tenure ends.
Kieran Tierney (CB): The left-back played a pivotal role against Liverpool in 2020
Arteta had Kieran Tierney as a left centre-half in his back three the last time Arsenal beat Liverpool. The Scottish left-back had rarely held the position before meeting the Anfield natives. He hasn’t started in the role with the Gunners since December 2020.
Cedric Soares (RM): Starter in Arsenal’s latest win over Liverpool yet to feature this term
Cedric Soares returned to the Arsenal bench for their Europa League win over Bodo/Glimt on Thursday. The Portuguese defender had been out for a month after suffering a knock in training. Arteta hasn’t given the 31-year-old a second so far this season in any competition.
Lucas Torreira (CM): Arsenal sold the Uruguayan midfielder to Galatasaray in August
Arsenal sold Lucas Torreira to Galatasaray in August for £5.5m after the 26-year-old returned to the club from season-long loans to Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina. Emery signed the Uruguayan from Sampdoria in 2018 for £26million and he has amassed just 89 games.
Granit Xhaka (CM): The Swiss star will play a key role in Sunday’s game
Granit Xhaka will be instrumental in Arsenal’s bid to beat Liverpool on Sunday. The Swiss star enjoyed a resurgence at the Emirates to become a fan favorite with a box-to-box role in Arteta’s system. He was also man of the match against Tottenham.
Bukayo Saka (LM): Arteta used the England left winger for his 2020 win
Arteta used Saka as a wide option on the left last time Arsenal beat Liverpool in July 2020. The 21-year-old has established himself as a Premier League talent after breaking through this season. He has also featured occasionally as a left-back, but is now a talisman on the right.
Reiss Nelson (RW): The Arsenal winger scored his club’s last winner against Liverpool
Nelson’s goal secured Arsenal’s last Premier League victory over Liverpool after capitalizing on Alisson’s mistake. It was also the Gunners’ first top-flight goal aged 22. Yet he failed to add to his tally for the North Londoners in four further appearances.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST): The Lyon star scored the last time Arsenal beat Liverpool
Lacazette equalized Arsenal in their last win over Liverpool after a sloppy pass to Alisson by Van Dijk. The forward joined the Gunners from Lyon in 2017 for a club record £46.5m. He joined the Ligue 1 side in June as a free agent after 71 goals in 206 games.
Nicolas Pepe (AG): Arsenal have loaned their signature to OGC Nice
Arsenal broke their club record again in July 2019 to sign Nicolas Pepe for £72million from LOSC Lille. But the move didn’t work out with the winger now back in France at OGC Nice on loan. The 27-year-old has just 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 outings for the Gunners so far.
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