Mo Salah v Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: The key battle in Liverpool v Arsenal
By Will Rickson
Last Updated: 26/08/17 6:29pm
Why Mohamed Salah versus Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be the key battle when Liverpool face Arsenal.
Liverpool supplemented their attacking options during the summer with the club record signing of £36.9m Salah from Roma. The Egyptian will be hopeful that his first Premier League goal at Anfield arrives against Arsenal on Super Sunday.
The Gunners have deployed their versatile midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain at both right and left wing-back so far this season, and he may be part of the plan to keep Salah quiet when they travel north, but could also form a key part of their own attacking armoury.
Salah got off the mark on his Liverpool debut against Watford on the opening weekend. He became the 12th player to score on his Premier League debut for the Reds, joining some illustrious names on the list, including Michael Owen, Luis Suarez and Sadio Mane.
Goalscorers on Premier League debut for Liverpool
|14/08/1993||Nigel Clough||Sheff Wed|
|19/08/1995||Stan Collymore||Sheff Wed|
|07/08/1999||Titi Camara||Sheff Wed|
|13/01/2013||Daniel Sturridge||Man Utd|
Salah's previous spell in England with Chelsea lasted only 12 months and 13 Premier League appearances, but he has since proved his worth with successful spells in Serie A with Fiorentina and Roma. Last season was his best yet, with 15 goals and 11 assists for Roma as they finished runners-up to Juventus. Only six players in Serie A contributed more goals and assists combined than Salah last season.
And when you compare his figures to Liverpool's other attacking options last season, it becomes clear why Jurgen Klopp was happy to break the club record £35m paid to Newcastle for Andy Carroll in 2011 to secure Salah's services. He scored more goals and also assisted more goals than any Liverpool player last season. In fact, no Liverpool player has scored 15 or more goals in a season since Suarez (31) and Daniel Sturridge (21) in 2013/14.
Liverpool's attacking options
|2016/17 League stats||Goals||Assists||Combined|
Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain has played every minute of Arsenal's three games so far this season, including the Community Shield when he successfully converted his penalty in the shoot-out win over Chelsea. He played the opening night Premier League victory over Leicester at left wing-back but switched to the right against Stoke last weekend, so could either be Salah's direct opponent, or offer Arsenal's attacking thrust from the opposite side of the pitch.
Oxlade-Chamberlain leads the way for most dribbles in the Premier League after two rounds of games, ahead of three fellow English players, plus Riyad Mahrez. The Ox is way ahead on 15 successful dribbles, only being dispossessed twice from his total of 17 attempted take-ons.
Most dribbles in the Premier League this season
With his future undecided, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be keen to build on his start to this season and make this campaign his best yet. His combined contributions for goals and assists has yet to hit double figures in any of the seven seasons he has played in the Premier League, but what better place to start than Anfield in beginning to build his tally for 2017/18.