Leicester vs Arsenal preview as Mikel Arteta's Gunners travel to the King Power

Ben Browning's Leicester vs Arsenal preview as Mikel Arteta's Gunners make the trip to the the King Power to take on the Foxes

Leicester vs Arsenal preview as Mikel Arteta's Gunners travel to the King Power

Read Ben Browning's Leicester vs Arsenal preview at the Gooner

With the dust still settling on a memorable, if not great, night in Athens, Arsenal's attention now turns back to the Premier League as they travel to the King Power stadium to take on high flying Leicester City.

Both sides will be recovering from their Europa League ties, with Leicester bowing out to Slavia Prague in the hours that followed Arsenal's last ditch qualification at Benfica's expense.

Form Guide:

Currently sitting in 11th place, six points adrift of the top six, the Gunners are looking likely to miss out on European football altogether barring a significant upturn in form.

On the other hand, Leicester find themselves sitting joint second with Manchester United following a highly impressive season to date, and are on a run of form that has seen them lose just once in the Premier League since the Christmas, a sequence spanning 12 games.

Brendan Rodger's men will be well aware of the importance of continuing to pick up points however, with a poor end to the 2019/20 season seeing them miss out on Champions League football when seemingly well placed to qualify.

On league position and form alone, therefore, this game appears a straightforward one for the hosts, who will be looking to do the league double over Arteta's side for the first time since 1973, when they won both fixtures 2-0.

Team News:

Arsenal will monitor the match-fitness of defender Rob Holding, who is still recovering from a concussion suffered in the latter stages of the defeat against Manchester City.

Beyond that, however, there are no new injury concerns for Mikel Arteta's side, with Thomas Partey in line for his first start since the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the beginning of February.

Unlike Arsenal, Leicester City have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks. Full-back James Justin remains out for the season after rupturing his Anterior Cruciate Ligament against Brighton in the FA Cup.

Attacking pair Ayoze Perez and James Maddison will also be unavailable for selection, joining Wesley Fofana, Wes Morgan and Denis Praet on the sidelines.

The loss of Maddison in particular will be keenly felt by the home side, with his thirteen goal (eight goals and five assists) contributions only bettered by the evergreen Jamie Vardy in the Foxes squad.

Moreover, he is the only player in Rodger's squad to provide over two key passes per game, and he also takes the most shots per 90 minutes, as per understat.

With no like for like replacement available to the midlands outfit, it will be much more difficult for Leicester to get Vardy and Harvey Barnes the service on which they thrive.

A Chance to Impress:

For some in Arsenal colours, this fixture could offer a welcome opportunity to re-assert their claims to places in the starting lineup.

Arteta appears to have settled on a side which crams in Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka behind club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with this quartet operating together for both legs against Benfica as well as in the 4-2 victory over Leeds United.

However, purely for fitness reasons, it is unlikely that all four start against Leicester. This could offer opportunities to those left in the cold, such as Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette, to turn the managers head once again, whilst the likes of Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli may see game-time following their returns from injury.

When asked about rotation, Arteta refused to be drawn into a conclusive answer, saying:

"Let’s see how we are feeling tomorrow. Today the players are still in Greece, we have to travel back on a four-hour flight but we won’t use that as an excuse.

"We have to deal with that, we know that when you play in European competition you have to be able to perform every three days and we will prepare to play Leicester with the same intensity like we always do."

However, given the hectic nature of the schedule this season, it is likely that there will be a fair amount of rotation for this fixture on both sides, which makes predicting the result an even tougher ask than it usually is.

In particular, Bukayo Saka could miss the occasion, with Arteta describing the 19 year-old as "really fatigued" following his starring role in the side in recent weeks which has seen him not miss a minute of football in February, across Arsenal's six fixtures. Fatigue could be a wider theme for the Arsenal side, with the Gunners not due back to the UK until Friday night, before travelling down to Leicester the following evening.

A True Test of Credentials:

This fixture has traditionally not held fond memories for Arsenal, having not won at the King Power in the Premier League since 2015, when an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick propelled them to a 5-2 victory.

In fact, the Gunners have lost three of the last four encounters, with an aggregate score of 8-1, although they did knock Leicester out of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win earlier this season.

Despite some poor league omens, there may not be a better time to play the Foxes, who have lost key men to injury and will be reeling from the surprising 2-0 home defeat that sent them out of the Europa League. Arsenal, on the other hand, may be able to ride the wave of euphoria following their victory in the same competition, and will go into the game with renewed confidence.

Every game between now and the end of the season is a must-win for Arteta's side to have any hope of qualifying for the European competitions through the Premier League this season, and while the frenetic nature of football this season makes this difficult, taking all three points against a wounded Leicester side would be a fantastic springboard.

Follow Ben on Twitter

..................

In other news former Gunner Jack Wilshere also showed his class by sending a video message to a brave girl battling cancer and her Hitchin Belles FC teammates who have been busy fundraising for her - ready the story at Hitchin Nub News

 


NEW! Subscribe to our weekly Gooner Fanzine newsletter for all the latest news, views, and videos from the intelligent voice of Arsenal supporters since 1987.

Please note that we will not share your email address with any 3rd parties.


Article Rating

Leave a comment

Sign-in with your Online Gooner forum login to add your comment. If you do not have a login register here.