April 02, 2015

The biggest game of the Premier League's opening weekend takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Arsenal host Liverpool.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal will be targeting their first Premier League title in 13 years this season after a summer of stability that is in stark contrast to many of the Gunners' likely title rivals.

"We finished second last season and we have all the desire to improve as a team, so we know that we have to jump forward and continue to improve," Wenger said. "There is anxiety because you want to do well and you know how important it is."

Wenger likes the attitude his side has shown entering what is expected to be another demanding campaign.

"Maybe this season more than ever it looks like every club has new ambition so it promises to be a very exciting one and a very difficult one as well," he said. "But I think we are focused, we have a huge desire in the squad, we are very ambitious and we are humble enough as well to know that it is difficult in every single game to win in the Premier League."

Sunday's visitors to north London, Liverpool, will also have aspirations of competing for the league title this season as the club continues to build under manager Jurgen Klopp. The German coach had moderate success in his first season at Anfield, steering Liverpool to an eighth-place finish, and emerged as one of the stand-out managers in the division.

However, Klopp still has some way to go before achieving the legend status of the legendary Wenger, and spoke with admiration about the Frenchman in his pre-match media conference.

"He's a legend," Klopp said of Wenger. "That's how it is. Becoming an Arsenal legend is not the most easy job in the world.

"I read today in the newspaper that Arsene said he will work as long as he is physically able to. That's one plan for life! It shows how big his love is for the game and for the work he is doing. He is very experienced and a very good manager, so if we win it will not be because of him."

It was a scoreless draw when these teams met at the Emirates last season, but the Gunners will be hard-pushed to keep a clean sheet this time around due to a string of injuries on defence.

"I believe Per Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel for six to eight weeks," Wenger revealed. "That's a bit better than expected because he doesn't need surgery. He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months but he should be all right."

Laurent Koscielny has also been ruled out, meaning that Wenger will be forced to pick an inexperienced central defencive pairing from the trio of Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and new signing Rob Holding.

The Gunners are also missing Carl Jenkinson and Danny Welbeck with long-term injuries, while Jack Wilshere is a doubt with an ongoing knee problem.

Liverpool have a number of absentees, with Lucas Leiva, Joe Gomez, Mamadou Sakho and Loris Karius out, and Dejan Lovren, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge facing late fitness tests.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)