By the end of this week, Arsenal will have played Liverpool four times since mid-July.
While the Gunners have come out on top in the last two matches – a 2-1 win at the Emirates in July and a shootout victory in August’s Community Shield – it feels like tonight’s trip to Anfield, with both side keen to maintain their 100% records in the league, is the first ‘real’ head-to-head between Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp.
For Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it certainly represents another chance to demonstrate how far the squad have come in the last few months.
In an interview with Arsenal Digital ahead of the game, he said: “Yes, I think [it is a potential marker of progress] even if it is maybe early in the season but it is still a big game, so we are going to see if we are ready to compete.
“We have started well so we just have to play hard.”
Having repeatedly cited Mikel Arteta as a key factor in his decision to stay at the club, our captain continues to lavish praise on the boss.
Asked what the Spaniard has done in and around the squad since December, he said:
“Since he came in he has brought an atmosphere that everyone feels like they are at home – so everyone has to do the homework as well!
“The mentality around the club is going very, very well and everyone is going in the same way, which is very important.
“Everyone has the same objective, the goal is to bring the club back where it belongs.”
In a separate interview with French TV station Canal +, Auba also touched on whether Arsenal can sustain a season-long title challenge.
“It would be impressive,” he said. “Our aim is to be a nuisance for Liverpool (tonight) and all season. We believe we can [win the title].”