Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to overpower Liverpool as the Premier League’s pace-setters prepare to do battle at Emirates Stadium.
Few would have predicted Saturday’s tussle to be between first and third, but Arsenal have responded in style since their opening-day defeat to Aston Villa.
Brendan Rodgers’ Reds, meanwhile, have been propelled into the upper echelons thanks to the lethal strike pairing of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. The ‘new SAS’ have already scored 17 goals between them in all competitions, with the Uruguayan hitting a hat-trick in last weekend’s 4-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.
They will undoubtedly give the Gunners’ defence a stern examination, and Arteta – speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo – intends to starve them of possession.
“First of all, without the ball they can't score and that's our logic,” he said. “We will try to dominate and contain the game, but we've also got to be careful without the ball because we know they have players who can cause damage on the break.
“We're only nine games in, though, and we'll see whether Liverpool can keep it up. If you keep feeling confident then you never know. Liverpool have got the league's two most in-form strikers, so we know how good they can be.”
The Spaniard scored and was sent off in last weekend’s win at Crystal Palace, but was able to serve the ban on Tuesday as Arsenal met Chelsea in the League Cup.
Although Arsenal currently sit two points above the Blues at the top of the table, the 31-year-old believes this season’s title race will be more open than ever.
“You just can't compare this league with any other in the world this season,” he said. “Everywhere you look people are dropping points, but at the end only one or two are going to make the difference. This season it's the most difficult league to win in Europe.
“[Tottenham] aren't far from us at all. They are really consistent and they're a good side. Manchester United will turn a corner, too. You just have to look at the quality and players they have. I'll be very surprised if they're not right in the mix.”
We spoke to Mikel Arteta at the Mountain Dew Xbox One Game Zone. Win exclusive Microsoft Xbox One prizes on packs of Mountain Dew now. Click here
ALSO ONLINE Arteta keeping cool as Arsenal midfield battle heats up