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Arsenal’s final game before Christmas Day presents Mikel Arteta’s men with a six-pointer against Premier League title rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

The Gunners are currently one point clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side and will be full of confidence that they can be top at Christmas for the second consecutive year. Last week’s 2-0 win over Brighton in north London saw Mikel Arteta’s men return to the top of the tree.

Saturday’s nail-biter on Merseyside is set to play a big role in the race for the title, with many backing the Gunners to go the distance if they win. However, Arsenal faces a couple of injury headaches.

Italian midfielder Jorginho was absent from the win against the Seagulls with a foot injury. However, he told football.london he was getting “better” and there is hope he will be OK for this weekend.

Mohamed Elneny is another doubt for the trip to Anfield after suffering another setback against PSV Eindhoven. It’s suspected that the Egyptian international suffered a suspect hamstring issue, although it appears he could be OK for the upcoming African Cup of Nations.

The midfield duo join the list of absentees already out at London Colney. Thomas Partey, who was named in Ghana’s provisional squad for AFCON, is continuing his comeback in north London after sustaining a thigh problem.

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has now warned the Anfield natives why Arsenal are ‘very good’ ahead of the top-of-the-table Premier League game on Saturday evening.

The Reds play host to the Gunners with the top spot up for grabs for the victor. Arsenal head to Merseyside atop the Premier League table over 17 matches. But Mikel Arteta’s team only have a one-point margin over third-place Liverpool, with Aston Villa second after 18 fixtures.

Arsenal and Liverpool have firmly emerged as two of the best squads in England this season. They both possess the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded just 15 goals so far. They also ranked fifth (35) and third (36) for goals scored in the first 17 games.

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk believes Arsenal are ‘very good’ in ‘every aspect’
Arteta’s side avoiding a defeat at Anfield would also see the Emirates Stadium outfit top the Premier League table at Christmas in back-to-back seasons. Arsenal sat five points clear of Manchester City last Christmas. But they ultimately lost the 22/23 title to City by five points.

So, Van Dijk firmly expects a ‘very tough’ time when Liverpool host Arsenal. The centre-back has also outlined why he thinks the Gunners are ‘very good’, noting how Arteta has strength throughout their team. But Van Dijk also believes the Reds can give the Gunners a challenge.

“A very tough game ahead of us,” Van Dijk has told the Liverpool club website. “Arsenal are in very good shape. Obviously, it’s going to be a big one and one that I’m definitely looking forward to. They are very good, they are a very good team in every aspect.

“I think they are very good and we have to be very good, as well, at the weekend to win the game. But I love to look at my own team and I love to look at what we can bring to the table, and we have a lot to do, as well, and we can make it very difficult for them, too.

“I’ve got massive respect for them. But I want to win the game and we’ll do everything in our power and my power to do so.”

Saturday will put the Gunners and Reds’ Premier League records to the test
Saturday’s encounter will put Arsenal and Liverpool’s form to the test as they fight to top the Premier League table. Per WhoScored, only Manchester City (17.7) averaged more shots per game when playing on the road during the opening 17 top-flight fixtures than Arsenal (14.9).

But Liverpool ranked fifth in the top-flight for the fewest shots allowed per game (9.9) when at home. Van Dijk was also a key reason for their record through his 15 appearances. He has their second-most tackles (22) to Alexis Mac Allister (31), plus their most interceptions (23).

So, while Van Dijk believes Arsenal are ‘very good’ in ‘every aspect’, Arteta will mark the 32-year-old as one of the Liverpool stars the Gunners must find a way to beat if they are to win this Saturday. It would also be the north Londoners’ first Anfield win since September 2012.

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