Successive defeats have stalled Premier League title charge but Martin Ødegaard is keeping faith in team’s cutting edge

When Liverpool visited the Emirates in October 2022, Arsenal needed to prove a point. The home side had won seven of their first eight games but, beyond the successful negotiation of a derby with Spurs, all of those victories conformed to expectation. They required a real inflection point to underline what everyone sensed: that this was a side capable of taking the next step and mounting a genuine challenge at the top. It was duly delivered during an absorbing, stylish five-goal thriller in which Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli ran riot.

How Arsenal could do with making a similar statement now. Liverpool return to north London on Sunday and while the FA Cup may not be top of Arteta’s priorities it provides an opportunity to breathe life into a tottering season. It is also a chance to land a blow before, in a month’s time, this meeting of title contenders is reprised in a Premier League context.

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