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Rupert Wyman 20th Apr 2009 - 14:35

Gunners to shoot down Liverpool's title hopes

Arsenal travel to Anfield on Tuesday night to face Liverpool without many first-choice players, but the Gunners are a side in form, putting aside Saturday's FA Cup semi-final loss.

While Liverpool need the three points if they are to keep pace with Man Utd at the top of the Premier League - a win against Arsenal would see Liverpool go two points clear at the top, at least until Man Utd play Portsmouth on Wednesday.

The Reds should be fresh as they were without a game at the weekend while Arsenal disappointingly lost to Chelsea at Wembley. Rafa Benitez's side have been imperious at Anfield this season with a record of 10 wins and six draws in their 16 league matches at home.

Liverpool are the only side in the Premier League yet to lose a match at home but they could well lose this record on Tuesday. Arsenal are unbeaten in 18 matches in the Premier League, including winning their last five matches and look good value at 16/5 to leave with the three points.

An 11th home success for Liverpool is priced at 8/11, but given the opponents this looks too short. The draw is a 9/4 shot. The sides drew 1-1 at The Emirates in the reverse fixture back in December and a repeat of that scoreline can be backed at 11/2.

However a 2-1 win for Arsenal looks the pick at 14/1. The Gunners will once again be missing first-choice keeper Manuel Almunia as well as defenders Gael Clichy, William Gallas and Johan Djourou. They are also further depleted by the absence of the strike-pairing of Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie after the pair picked up injuries at the weekend.

On a more positive note for the visitors Liverpool will yet again be without inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, who still has not recovered from his groin injury. This gives further reason to back an away win given the effect Gerrard has on Liverpool.

Plus right-back Bacary Sagna and forward Eduardo are both available again for The Gunners. Sagna will probably come straight back into the starting XI while Eduardo will probably have to settle for a place on the bench.

In this instance Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner would lead the attack and be ably supported by Theo Walcott, Andrei Arshavin and Samir Nasri from deeper. Bendtner often goes from the sublime to the ridiculous but can still trouble the best defences on his day.

Walcott's return from injury has coincided with an upturn in Arsenal's fortunes and the speed merchant has been in stunning form. In the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Villarreal he tormented Spanish left-back Joan Capdevila and then on Saturday he continued his good form at Wembley including opening the scoring.

He is 12/1 to open the scoring at Anfield and 5/1 to strike at any point during the match. The 5/1 looks too big considering Walcott's recent form.

The other one to consider for Arsenal would be Andrei Arshavin at 7/2 to score anytime but Walcott looks the better value.

In Gerrard's absence there is only one person you can consider to score the goals for the home side, Spanish striker Fernando Torres. El Niño is unsurprisingly the favourite at 4/1 to open the scoring and even money to score on Tuesday night.

An early goal for Arsenal could spell trouble for Liverpool as the crowd could become restless as they know how important it is to keep the pressure up on Man Utd. After Sir Alex Ferguson reignited his war of words with Rafa Benitez on Friday the Spaniard will hope his side do the talking for him on the pitch. However this doesn't look that likely especially without Gerrard and there can only be one result to back at the prices.

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