Arsenal face Liverpool in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
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SCORES ON THE DOORS
KEY BATTLE - KOSCIELNY v SUAREZ
The Arsenal backline face a major challenge against two of the Premier League's form players on Saturday - Liverpool's so-called SAS - and will have to keep a particularly close eye on Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan was linked with a move to Emirates Stadium all summer, and has been in inspired form for Brendan Rodgers' side since his return from suspension, with six goals and one assist in just four top-flight games. Suarez is often at his best when picking the ball up from deep and running at opposing defences - and this is where Laurent Koscielny will have to dominate.
The France international assumes the 'stopper' role in the Arsenal back four, often stepping forward to deny the opposition space or to make key interceptions, while Per Mertesacker covers in behind him. It will be his job to make life difficult for Suarez - but his superb form this season suggests it is a task he will relish.
Koscielny has made 10 tackles, winning eight of them, and boasts an impressive 38 clearances to his name - more than any other Arsenal player. The centre back has also won 53.8 per cent of his duels, made 37 recoveries and stepped in to make 23 interceptions. However, he has conceded two penalties - and will have to be on his guard against the tricky Suarez and his quick feet. Keeping the Uruguayan quiet would go a long way to helping the Gunners get back to winning ways.
ARSENAL v LIVERPOOL - MATCH FACTS
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 12 clashes with Liverpool, winning four and drawing seven
- Luis Suarez has six goals and one assist in four Premier League games since returning from suspension
- Arsenal won each of their last three league games at Highbury against Liverpool but have won only two of seven since they moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006
- Aaron Ramsey has five goals and three assists in his last six Premier League appearances.
- Daniel Sturridge has scored a single goal in eight of his (and Liverpool’s) nine league fixtures this season, with Southampton the only team to shut him out
- November is Arsenal’s least productive month in Premier League history with the Gunners gaining only 1.55 points per game. October is their second most productive month (behind March)
- Liverpool and Arsenal players have both scored 34 Premier League hat-tricks, more than any other club in the competition
- Liverpool have hit the woodwork eight times this season and have done so 60 times since August 2011, both Premier League-high figures
The Matchday Programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 31 Oct 2013