Glenn Hoddle has praised Mikel Arteta for ‘tightening up’ Arsenal’s defence and bringing ‘balance’ to the side but believes Premier League champions Liverpool will come out on top when the two teams meet on Monday night.
Victories over London rivals Fulham and West Ham mean third-placed Arsenal sit above Liverpool on goal difference two games into the campaign but Jurgen Klopp’s men are overwhelming favourites to secure all three points at Anfield.
The Merseyside giants beat Chelsea 2-0 last weekend and confidence levels will be sky high after a thumping 7-2 win over Lincoln to reach the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Thursday evening.
Asked whether Monday’s match is Arsenal’s ‘first real test’ of the season on The Weekend Preview, ex-England and Tottenham star Hoddle said: ‘Without a shadow of a doubt, no disrespect to the teams they’ve already played.
‘But they do look better, they’ve got a nice balance to the team now.
‘Defensively they were poor, let’s be honest. They had some fire power going forward over the last few seasons but you just felt they were going to concede and give goals away.
‘Sometimes you get teams create against you, that’s one thing, they’ve earned the right to score but Arsenal were giving goals away left, right and centre.
‘He’s tightened that up and I think that’s more of a unit.
‘They’ve worked as a unit better rather than just bringing in individuals and that’s happened very quickly as a team.
‘They’ve looked a lot better and I think this is going to be one hell of a game.
‘They do struggle against Liverpool up there, though.’
Hoddle added: ‘I’m going 2-1 to Liverpool.
‘I think they will break that high line that Liverpool play so I’m going for Arsenal to score one.’
‘It’s very difficult to win the Premier League back-to-back and, with this player coming in, I think they’ve given themselves every chance,’ he continued.
‘Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for the weekend but he, for me, is another one that gives them another dimension.
‘He needs to stay fit and there goals and creation in him, in a different way from any of the others in that midfield area.
‘If they keep him fit, he’s almost like a new player coming in as well and I think Liverpool can go on and win it again this year.’