Reds hope to hal t slump

Liver­pool and Arse­nal need to get back to win­ning ways in the League

Weekend Witness - - Spor T -

LONDON — Arse­nal and Liver­pool will each at tempt t o arr est dam­ag­ing se­quences of re­sults when they re­turn to Premier League ac­tion this week­end fol­low­ing mid­w eek e xer­tions in the Cham­pi­ons League.

The two teams have fallen out of ti­tle con­tention over re­cent weeks, with Arse­nal no w 15 point s be­hind leader s Chelsea f ol­low­ing c on­sec­u­tive los ses and Liver­pool three points fur­ther back after thr ee s traight def eats.

Arse­nal’s poor form has seen man­ager Arsene Wenger’s 18­year stew­ard­ship called int o que stion as r arely bef ore, amid con­cerns that a cli­mate of tol­er­ated un­der ­achieve­ment has in­filtr ated the club . H ow­ever, W ed­nes­day’s 2­0 vic­tory over Borus­sia Dort­mund in the Cham­pi­ons League sa w Arse­nal reach the last 16 for the 15th con­sec­u­tive sea­son, boost­ing morale ahead of t oday’s trip t o West B romwich Al­bion.

“We have to show character and that is what makes me r eally happy for the next f ew g ames, be­cause w e ha ve t o sharpen up in the P remier League as well,” said Ar senal’s Ger­man c en­tre­back Per Merte­sacker.

“Satur­day is a good chance to show to ev­ery­one that we are still alive. We have t o c ome b ack in the P remier League and that is the ne xt t ar­get.”

Vic­tory o ver Dort­mund came at a cost, with Span­ish mid­fielder Mikel Arteta join­ing a host of play­ers on the side­lines aft er in­jur­ing his calf .

Jack Wil­shere has been ruled out for three months aft er un­der go­ing an­kle surgery, but g oal­keeper W oj­ciech Szczesny should re­turn from the hip in­jury he sus­tained in last Satur­day’s 2­1 loss at home t o Manch­ester United.

Liver­pool host Stoke City on Satur­day hav­ing slumped t o 12th plac e in the t able aft er su cces­sive def eats b y New­cas­tle United, Chelsea and Crys­tal Palace. They also re­ceived a set­back in the Cham­pi­ons League, con­ced­ing an 88th­minute equaliser to draw 2­2 at Lu­do­gorets Raz­grad, but can still se­cure a place in the knock­out phase by beat­ing B asel at home ne xt month.

Welsh mid­fielder J oe Allen be­lieves B ren­dan R odgers’s side should dr aw enc ourage­ment from their dis­play in Bul­garia:

“It’s up t o us t o turn it around and it is now back to Premier League ac­tion at the week­end,” he said.

Sec­ond­place Southamp­ton’s 1­1 draw at As­ton Villa las t M onday means that Chelsea’s ad­van­tage at the sum­mit has s welled to six point s ahead of their visit to 14th­place Sun­der­land t oday. — S apa­AFP. Burn­ley v A ston Villa Liver­pool v S toke Cit y Manch­ester Unit ed v Hull Cit y Queens P ark R angers v L eices­ter Cit y Sun­der­land v Chels ea (7 .30 pm) Swansea Cit y v Cry stal P alace West Ham Unit ed v N ew­cas­tle Unit ed West Br omwich Al­bion v Ar senal ( 2.45 pm) Southamp­ton v Manche ster Cit y (3. 30 pm) Tot­ten­ham Ho tspur v E verton ( 6 pm) Chelsea So­ton Man Cit y Man Ut d New­cas­tle 12 West Ham Swansea 12 Arse­nal Ever­ton Spurs Stoke 12 Liver­pool WBA S'land Palace Villa Hull 12 Le­ices­ter 12 Burn­ley QPR 12 10 12 8 12 7 12 5 5 5 5 4 4 5 4 4 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 2

12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 2 0 30 11 19 32 2 2 24 6 18 26 3 2 24 13 11 24 4 3 19 15 4 19 4 3 14 15 ­1 19 3 4 20 16 4 18 3 4 16 13 3 18 5 3 20 15 5 17 5 3 22 19 3 17 2 5 16 17 ­1 17 3 5 13 15 ­2 15 2 6 15 18 ­3 14 4 5 13 17 ­4 13 7 3 12 19 ­7 13 3 6 17 21 ­4 12 3 6 6 17 ­11 12 5 5 14 17 ­3 11 4 6 11 18 ­7 10 4 6 8 20 ­12 10 2 8 11 23 ­12 8

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