Arsenal

Liverpool's Luis Suarez to Show Arsenal Exactly What They Missed out on

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on October 26, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Arsenal’s pursuit of Luis Suarez this summer was protracted, painful and ultimately fruitless. Saturday, they will come face to face with the one that got away.

Arsenal bid one pound over £40 million during the summer in an attempt to activate an escape clause in Suarez’s contract. However, the clause turned out to be ineffective, merely forcing Liverpool to notify Suarez of Arsenal’s interest. Despite the player’s protestations, the bid was not accepted.

Defeated, Arsenal walked away from the deal. Suarez won’t be wearing red at the Emirates but the white of Liverpool’s away kit.

Many Arsenal fans will say they’re glad that the transfer didn’t go ahead. Had Arsenal signed Suarez, they might not have chosen to splash out on the gifted playmaker Mesut Ozil, who has lit up the Premier League in his early appearances for the club.

Furthermore, the transfer speculation seemed to bring the best out of Olivier Giroud. With his place in the first team under threat, Giroud has responded with some outstanding performances. He’s made the central striking spot his own, and it’s hard to imagine another player who could produce such excellent link play with his back to goal.

There were also large numbers of Arsenal fans who objected to the mooted signing of the controversial Suarez on ethical grounds. Many supporters did not want a player with such a checkered past representing Arsenal football club.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates as Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (not pictured) score their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on Oc
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Whatever your opinion about Suarez as a man, there’s no doubt he’s a fantastic footballer. He’s proven that since returning from his suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

In four Premier League appearances this season, Suarez already has six goals. He is the third top goalscorer in the league and yet has played in less than half the available fixtures. It is an extraordinary record.

Suarez will be particularly keen to continue his good form against Arsenal, whether to show them just what they’re missing or encourage them to bid again for his services next summer.

Arsenal’s defenders will have to be on their toes, literally, to cope with Suarez’s writhing movement. He is the sort of centre-forward Per Mertesacker dreads facing: lightning-quick with a low centre of gravity. Mertesacker will require plenty of support from the fleet-footed Laurent Koscielny to get through his game unscathed.

Arsenal will miss Mathieu Flamini, who is set to be absent with a groin injury. Flamini is an expert at eliminating the space between the midfield and the defence—space where Suarez typically thrives.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool high fives Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on October 19, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Eng
Julian Finney/Getty Images

They will also have to cope with the added threat of Daniel Sturridge. A front two is increasingly rare in English football, but Liverpool have a pair of extremely dangerous strikers. Each draws defenders away from the other, maintaining a persistent threat on the opposition goal.

However, it’s Suarez that Arsenal fear most. The Gunners will hope that their failure to sign the Uruguayan doesn’t come back to bite them.

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