EPL

Arsenal aim to avoid Anfield ‘washing machine’ for Christmas lead – Mikel Arteta

By Sports Desk December 22, 2023

Mikel Arteta is hoping his Arsenal side can avoid the Anfield “washing machine” to secure a long-awaited victory at Liverpool and top the Premier League table on Christmas Day.

The Gunners boss will be aiming for a clean sheet after likening the challenge of playing away to Liverpool as being stuck on a spin cycle.

Arsenal have not won at Anfield since Arteta was part of the side that secured a 2-0 victory in September 2012.

The Spaniard knows first-hand the challenge of getting a result at Liverpool, having also gone there with neighbours Everton before his stint at Arsenal.

Victory, though, would be enough to keep the north London side top of the tree over the Christmas period but Arteta – who once piped ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ around the training ground in a forlorn attempt to prepare his side for the atmosphere of Anfield – knows it will not be easy.

“It is different, different like Old Trafford,” he said.

“Old Trafford has a beautiful atmosphere as well and something that historically is an unbelievable place to go. There are a few in this country. The Emirates is one of them as well.

“I think I explained that sometimes when you don’t feel at your best and you feel that they are on top of you and you cannot get out of that washing machine.

“You try to overcome those situations but that’s a learning — it happened once and it didn’t happen again.”

Asked how to counter such a problem, Arteta said he wants his own team to put the hosts in a spin by “putting on our washing machine that is very powerful”.

Not someone who is afraid to air his dirty linen in public, two years ago Arteta was involved in a touchline spat with Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp that seemed to galvanise the home supporters as Liverpool once again ran out victors.

Speaking ahead of Saturday evening’s clash, Klopp has called on Liverpool’s fans to bring the noise and said it should not take him clashing with an opposing manager to find a spark.

But Arteta said “there won’t be any” trouble on the touchline after he picked up his fourth booking of the season in last weekend’s win over Brighton.

Instead, Arteta has now challenged his Arsenal side to end another hoodoo and win at Anfield for the first time in 11 years.

Having toasted four years as Arsenal manager earlier in the week, Arteta has already overseen wins at Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham, while this season they beat Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium.

Next up is to leave Anfield with three points and Arteta added: “We have done it at Old Trafford, we have done it at Stamford Bridge and many other places where we haven’t done it for years.

“This is the next challenge. Go there and win. If you want to be at the top you have to go to those places and be dominant. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

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    Spurs return to St James’ Park on Saturday for the first time since their 6-1 thrashing last April, which features in a recent docuseries about the north-east club.

    Episode three of the four-part series focuses on a match which proved the nadir of a sorry season for Tottenham and subsequently resulted in the appointment of Postecoglou in June.

    This documentary about Newcastle is the latest in a collection of sports series by Amazon Prime, which includes Spurs’ 2019-20 campaign where then-manager Jose Mourinho predictably proved a TV star, but the current coach in the hotseat has no such burning desire.

    “Nah, unless you want a cure for insomnia, mate. Put it on late at night and dream yourself away,” Postecoglou replied when asked if he would feature in a behind-the-lens documentary.

    “I’ve probably watched… I watched Sunderland ‘Til I Die, it was good.

    “(Not Tottenham) because I just think it becomes a bit manufactured. I’d be very surprised if you get a real sort of glance.

    “Look, who am I to say? I’m no movie critic. Maybe people like them, but not for me. I love documentaries, but nah.”

    The Newcastle documentary is not the only footage Postecoglou has no interest in viewing.

    He has also declined to watch back Tottenham’s five-goal humbling away to Eddie Howe’s team last season, which resulted in Spurs dismissing Cristian Stellini after he had stepped up on an interim basis to replace Antonio Conte, who left a month earlier.

    Postecoglou added: “I might have watched individual players in that game but I wouldn’t have watched the game as a reference point because it’s totally different.

    “It’s a different set of circumstances, different manager. I’m really reticent to judge and try to figure out what someone else thinks because I’m not in their shoes on a daily basis.

    “I have never used those kind of things and also, irrespective of what has happened in the past, I have more than likely been brought in to do something differently.

    “I watched all the players individually through the whole season to do my research on the players I was inheriting, but there wasn’t a lot for me to be gained from watching matches and trying to get some reference points as to how that’s going to affect what I am going to do.”

    Spurs travel to Newcastle in pole position to claim Champions League football after they leapfrogged Aston Villa last weekend to take control of the battle for fourth.

    Postecoglou has often cited the Magpies as an example of why qualifying for Europe’s elite competition is not a guarantee of long-term success, but was happy to talk up the potential of the Tottenham squad on Friday.

    “That’s the exciting thing for me with this group – we’ve got a real core and there’s still so much growth in them,” he explained.

    “Invariably, it’s their first season in the Premier League or they’re young in age and they’ve adapted so well at a big club where there are expectations.

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    City can go top of the Premier League for 24 hours at least if they beat Luton on Saturday, and face an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea next weekend.

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    Bidding to win the Premier League for a fourth straight season, City remain locked in a tight race at the top. They start the weekend a point behind both Arsenal and Liverpool, with their rivals not in action until Sunday.

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    “We know what we have to do,” Guardiola said. “We’ve done it. The people say, ‘you’ve done it, so you’re going to win’. No, it’s not about that. But we have done it and know exactly what we have to do.

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    After Tuesday’s match in Madrid, Rodri had said he was in need of a rest after his 41st appearance of the season. Guardiola indicated any player who wanted a breather need only ask, but that he expects the 27-year-old Spain midfielder to be available to face Luton.

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