Arsenal – Liverpool preview: Arsenal’s European desperation is high as it prepares to welcome history-chasing Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live at 3:15pm ET for FREE on Peacock).
The Gunners now know that eighth place will not be good enough for the Europa League, making it imperative that Arsenal wins its last three Premier League outings or wins the FA Cup to avoid missing out on European football for the first time since 1996.
Liverpool would love to take its next steps toward the best single-season in Premier League history by denying their rivals a shot at Europe.
Jordan Henderson and Joel Gomez remain out for Liverpool, and James Milner seems likely to miss out as well.
Arsenal will not have suspended Eddie Nketiah or injured Calum Chambers, Bernd Leno, and Gabriel Martinelli.
What they’re saying
Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez on post-derby reaction: “Every season we try to finish above them,” said Martinez. “We need to make sure we finish above them. Our target is Europe, that is the reality. We are going to try and give our best against Liverpool and reach the FA Cup Final. We didn’t start like the manager wanted, we were giving the ball away for no reason. As time was going on we started playing well, we controlled the midfield and we outplayed them. I feel sorry for the supporters because we know what it means for them.”
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s draw with Burnley: “If you find a way in the game which causes the opponents massive problems, come on, stick to it, do it, and we did it to a specific extent. But then we were not clear enough anymore, so that’s how it is. How I said, we left the door open for them and they used the situation, which is a special skill of that team.”
Our studio host Rebecca Lowe explains exactly how it will all work and how you can sign up in the video above, with more details about Peacock on the link above.
The new streaming service will give you access to all of NBC’s properties, show and live events with the Premier League action one of the key parts of the new streaming platform. Peacock is available three ways: Free (to anyone who downloads the app and watches ads), and two versions of Premium (one for Comcast Xfinity TV and broadband customers and Cox Communications’ video customers for free with ads, or ad free for $5/month — the other version for those non-customers is $10/month. Premium has 15,000 hours of content; free has about 7,500 hours. All versions of Peacock will stream in 4K/HDR.
Here are the Premier League Peacock games this week as we give you a taste of what is to come.
Premier League on Peacock schedule
Wednesday, July 15: Burnley v. Wolves, 1 p.m. ET, Peacock
Wednesday, July 15: Man City v. Bournemouth, 1 p.m. ET, Peacock
Wednesday, July 15: Newcastle v. Tottenham, 1 p.m. ET, Peacock
Wednesday, July 15: Arsenal v. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m. ET, Peacock
Thursday, July 16: Southampton vs. Brighton, 3:15 pm ET
This means two of the Premier League’s guaranteed four UEFA Champions League bids are sewn up with Liverpool and Man City guaranteed to finish first and second.
Want to know how this alters perspectives for the final three match days of the Premier League season (and the FA Cup)? Read on…
The field “shrinks” and Man City wins. Who loses?
This is especially bad news for Leicester City and Wolves. Both Leicester’s form and Champions League hopes have dropped significantly and the Foxes and their 59 points could sit fifth by the close of business Monday if Manchester United stays hot and beats Southampton (United is a heavy favorite).
Wolves had an outside shot of catching one of Chelsea, Leicester, or Manchester United for fifth but now are likely to need to win the Europa League to qualify for the UCL.
Obviously the lifting of the ban is not great news for the margins of error for Chelsea or Man United, but it hurts fellow traditional powers Tottenham and Arsenal a whole lot more.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners dipped to ninth place on Sunday when they lost the North London Derby to Spurs, and now are four points back of the final UEL spot held by Sheffield United (54 points). Spurs have 52. Burnley’s dreams of a second UEL berth are also stung, their 50 points level with Arsenal.
Arsenal’s new reality as wild card
The Gunners can no longer affect the fates of any team around them in the table via the league route, with matches left against confirmed champions Liverpool and relegation candidates Aston Villa and Watford.
They can also affect all of the teams around them by winning the FA Cup and eliminating seventh place as a UEL place.
Arsenal maxes out at 59 points. That would probably be enough for a Europa League place, but so would winning two FA Cup matches, easier said than done against Man City and then either Chelsea or Manchester United.
They’ll know a lot more about whether that could be their only route by about 5:15 pm ET Wednesday when they finish a league tilt against Liverpool. A loss to the champions would arguably make Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal versus Man City their last chance to avoid a first Europe-free season since 1996.
The biggest “swing” matches
As mentioned, the margins of errors have shrunk in a big way, and the final day of the season could be a blockbuster with the table’s current third through sixth place teams matching up on Decision Day.
Imagine if the table holds form and Wolves visit to Chelsea and Manchester United’s trip to Leicester City kick off at 11 am ET on July 26 with the Champions League on the line. Hashtag drama.
That assumes that Leicester City dodges a Thursday effort from Sheffield United, the Blades bidding to keep themselves in the discussion for a stunning berth in the UEL during their promotion year in the Premier League.
In fact, you might as well have a look at Leicester’s fixture list as the one that will determine European slotting. The Foxes control their destiny with a visit to Spurs sandwiched between home matches versus the seventh-place Blades and fifth-place (at the moment) Red Devils.
Remaining fixture lists of European candidates
Chelsea (60 points)
Monday v. Norwich City — 3:15 pm ET
July 22 at Liverpool — 3:15 pm ET
July 26 v. Wolves — 11 am ET
Leicester City (59 points)
Thursday v. Sheffield United — 1 pm ET
Sunday at Spurs — 11 am ET
July 26 v. Manchester United — 11 am ET
Manchester United (58 points)
Monday v. Southampton — 3 pm ET
Thursday at Crystal Palace — 3:15 pm ET
July 22 v. West Ham — 1 pm ET
July 26 at Leicester City — 11 am ET
Wolves (55 points)
Wednesday at Burnley — 1 pm ET
July 20 v. Crystal Palace — 3:15pm ET
July 26 at Chelsea — 11am ET
Sheffield United (54 points)
Thursday at Leicester City — 1 pm ET
July 20 v. Everton — 1 pm ET
July 26 at Southampton — 11 am ET
Tottenham Hotspur (52 points)
Wednesday at Newcastle — 1 pm ET
Sunday v. Leicester City — 11 am ET
July 26 at Crystal Palace — 11 am ET
Arsenal (50 points)
Wednesday v. Liverpool — 3:15 pm ET
July 21 at Aston Villa — 3:15 pm ET
July 26 v. Watford — 11 am ET
Burnley (50 points)
Wednesday v. Wolves — 1 pm ET
Saturday at Norwich City — 12:30 pm ET
July 26 v. Brighton — 11 am ET
Oh, why not? Predictions!
3. Manchester United — 68 points
4. Chelsea — 65 points
5. Leicester City — 63 points
6. Wolves — 60 points
7. Spurs — 59 points
8. Sheffield United — 58 points
9. Arsenal — 56 points
10. Burnley — 56 points
The north London derby was an open, entertaining encoutner as Spurs battled back from Alexandre Lacazette’s superb opener to win as Heung-min Son equalized and Toby Alderweireld won it late on.
ProSoccerTalk spoke to both managers after the game and although Mourinho admitted he doesn’t ‘love the Europa League’ he is desperate to finish sixth and get in it.
Mourinho also reminded everyone that he’s only played in the Europa League twice in his career but he’s won it twice and said “it wouldn’t be bad to play in it a third time and win it a third time.”
Why does he think the Europa League would be beneficial to Tottenham next season?
“Europa League isn’t the biggest competition in Europe, but it is the second biggest. When a club wins Champions Leagues, or a player wins Champions Leagues, or a manager wins Champions Leagues, then the Europa League feeling… if you ask Lewis Hamilton if he wants to win Formula 3000, or whatever you call it, I don’t think it would be a great deal for him,” Mourinho smiled.
“But, it is a competition. I prefer to play Europa League than not to play. I think it is a title that Tottenham would obviously like to get. For example, at Manchester United, of course United is a club with a dimension that thinks about Champions League but when I was there we had to play Europa League and we won Europa League. So, I think we have to do everything possible to play in the Europa League next season and we have to fight for that.”
Tottenham are three points off sixth with three games to go and have an easier schedule than most of the teams around them, as they play Newcastle, Leicester and Crystal Palace. The battle for sixth, and seventh, will be intense as teams scramble to qualify for the Europa League.
As for Arsenal, who are in a straight fight with Tottenham for sixth place and the Europa League places, we asked Mikel Arteta if he was still positive they are on the right track despite the defeat at Spurs.
“Yes, if we minimize the mistakes that we do and keep playing like that we are going to win many, many, many football games because we are going to make it really, really difficult for the opponent. I am sure of that,” a positive Arteta said. “But these two aspects, one has to be maintained and the other one has to be avoided. It’s on us. They believe in what they are doing. You can see how they are trying, how they are going. It is a shame because if you are able to win that well in such a big ground and such a big stage like today, it gives you a big belief. I am gutted for the players because they really tried.”
The north London derby was a tight clash between Mourinho and Arteta and it underlined that both teams have a long, long way to go to become top four contenders.
Defensively Tottenham were slightly better and that is why they won the north London derby. But this was more about Arsenal giving Tottenham the win due to their defensive mistakes rather that Spurs totally earning it.
Europe without Arsenal? Eighth-place looks set to deliver the Europa League to the Premier League thanks to Man City’s European ban and Arsenal and Spurs are locked in a four-team battle for seventh and eighth. Sheffield United’s 54 points lead the pack by 2 over Spurs and the Blades don’t have a soft out on the schedule with Leicester, Everton, and Southampton. Spurs have Newcastle, Leicester, and Palace and a 2-point lead on Arsenal. The Gunners have Liverpool, Villa, and Watford, while Burnley has 50 points and faces Wolves, Norwich, and Brighton.
A very Mou second half wins it: Arsenal was the better team on the day but Mourinho got goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris whenever Spurs opened the door in the second half. Mourinho let Arsenal have the ball with the hopes of conjuring danger in different parts of the field. Spurs registered seven shots on target and, like Arsenal, could’ve had more goals had the keepers not played quite well. But Spurs were credited with the only “big chances created” of the game as Arsenal’s best opportunities were supreme individual efforts from Aubameyang and Lacazette.
Man of the Match
You’d say Son by default given his goal and assist, and he could’ve had a hat trick had Martinez and David Luiz each denied him from close range, but advanced stats site SofaScore makes a brilliant case for the notes industrious day of Lucas Moura, who had two key passes, 10 tackles, and charged in 26 duels to win 16.
Tottenham – Arsenal recap
Emiliano Martinez leapt high to snare an in-tight Harry Kane chance.
Hector Bellerin then roasted Ben Davies on the right flank to play an invitation through the 18 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t pick up.
That’s when the fireworks started, Lacazette having some time with the ball outside the 18 and lashing an absolute piledriver past a flying Hugo Lloris.
But Spurs had an answer when Heung-min Son beat David Luiz to a wayward Sead Kolasinac pass and popped the ball over a desperate Martinez for 1-1 in the 19th minute.
Davies hammered a shot that Martinez pushed off the bar in thrilling fashion as the game passed the half-hour mark.
Nicolas Pepe answered that shot with a curled shot wide at the other end.
Aubameyang tore into a 26-yard free kick that just missed the far post in the 40th. Pepe then pumped another shot to Lloris as Arsenal crept closer to a second goal.