Arsene Wenger’s troops play host to Leicester City on Sunday in a Premier League highlight match that will offer some additional answers to this year’s fascinating title race. Gunners need to win in order to reaffirm their title credentials, but Foxes are tough to beat and we are in for an exciting duel.
Gunners are the only Premier League team that could do the double league win against Leicester City this season and there is no doubt that Arsene Wenger will have it on his mind as he prepares to lead his team against the in-form Foxes. Buoyed by their 2-0 triumph over Bournemouth last time out, Arsenal will be keen on notching back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since the end of December. Gunners have suffered a dip in form in 2016, having won only two of their six league matches and London-based club are desperate to get back to winning ways in order to reaffirm their title bid. Sitting five points adrift of their Sunday opposition, Gunners are looking in the back of their bitter city rivals Tottenham, who have been installed in the second place with only the goal difference separating them from Arsenal. Should they beat Leicester on Sunday, Wenger’s men will cut the gap behind Foxes to only two points which would leave the Premier League title race wide open once again. Given the form of Ranieri’s team it would not be an easy job, more so because of Arsenal’s most recent inconsistency. Arsenal failed to score a single goal in as many as three of their last five matches in all competitions and that is something they will need to improve as they prepare to welcome Leicester.
Arsene Wenger is likely to leave Per Mertesacker out of the first team and deploy Gabriel in centre-back once again in order to try and neutralize Vardy and Mahrez’s pace.
Francis Coquelin is returning from his knee injury, while Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky remain the only two absentees for this highly-anticipated clash.
Having just survived relegation thanks to their incredible finish last season, when they won seven of their last nine Premier League games, Foxes have pulled off a major feat in the current campaign. Claudio Ranieri replaced Nigel Pearson on the helm and the Italian proved to be a perfect choice for the Foxes, who have lost only twice in the Premier League so far. It has been a match made in heaven for both Ranieri and Leicester City as the former Greece manager did a wonderful job in forging a team worthy of the Premier League title. Limited resources haven’t prevented Ranieri from getting the best out of every single player, from embedding the winning mentality in his players’ heads and from creating the fantastic team spirit. Lead by the incredible duo of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, who have shared 32 goals between them, Leicester City are enjoying their time in the Premier League. Playing for fun has perhaps been the most important ingredient in their fascinating route as the Foxes have been a joy to watch. Their most recent win at the Etihad, where they crushed Manchester City 3-1 has been particularly impressive as it displayed the real strength of Ranieri’s side. Quick in the counters, organized and disciplined in defence, Foxes will use every chance they get to punish their rivals and put a smile on their fans’ faces.
Mahrez and Vardy will lead the way once again at the Emirates as Claudio Ranieri is unlikely to make any changes to his squad.
The Italian tactician will be happy with the fact that he has full crop of players healthy and available for selection.
Key Factors to Consider
- Leicester City have lost only one away Premier League game this season
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 18 top flight home matches against the Foxes
- Mahrez and Vardy scored 32 of Leicester’s 47 goals this term
- Arsenal kept the clean sheet in 4 of their last 5 games
- Gunners have won only one of their last 5 Premier League matches
Arsenal have no time to waste and Arsene Wenger will order full charge from the off. It could open some space for the quick counters from Leicester City, who are lethal in such situations. It is hard to predict the winner in this duel, but there should be goals at both ends of the pitch.
Verdict: Both teams to score – Yes