Leicester City vs Arsenal: Match preview and predicted line-ups
This weekend sees 1st and 2nd from last season face off at the KP Stadium. This fixture isn’t being built up in this way, with neither side expected to match their exploits from last season. However, they have contrasting styles and this should produce an excellent match of football to watch. The fixtures between Leicester and Arsenal last season were two of the best matches of the season. There was drama and ten goals were shared, with both proving to be notable moments in Leicester’s title-winning campaign. The Gunners were the one of only two sides to beat Leicester and they managed to do so on two occasions. They will be hoping for a similar result this weekend to relieve the pressure on the club.
Leicester started their season with a disappointing loss to Hull City, in what was the biggest surprise of the opening weekend. They are the first defending champions to begin their campaign with a defeat. They didn’t look ready for the return of competitive football and that reflects poorly on their pre-season. Although their first match didn’t go to plan, they should look to last season’s home form for confidence ahead of this game. They only lost once at the KP Stadium last season. However that defeat came against Saturday’s opposition, Arsenal.
The Gunners also suffered a loss on the opening weekend with their lack of conviction in the transfer market costing them. Arsene Wenger’s side have only won once in their last seven opening fixtures, therefore they are used to a slow start. The defensive issues at the club are a concern, especially as they still haven’t brought in a central defender. They looked uncomfortable against the pace and dynamism of the Liverpool attack. That should give Leicester a boost ahead of Saturday.
The home side could make a few changes from the team that started in the opening game. Nampalys Mendy should come in to replace Andy King, as the Welsh international didn’t impress against Hull. Shinji Okazaki had a positive impact in his cameo role and Claudio Ranieri could opt for him over Ahmed Musa, as his work rate will be needed against Arsenal. Robert Huth is back from suspension and likely to start on Saturday.
Arsenal have some big decisions to make ahead of Saturday after their disastrous opening day defeat to Liverpool. Arsene Wenger has said that he may need to risk Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, who sat out of the first match due to their involvement at Euro 2016. Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla are also in contention to start after being used as substitutes against Liverpool. The latter’s impact will probably allow Wenger to slowly re-introduce Ozil as he showed he can be the creator of the side.
Leicester City predicted starting XI Arsenal predicted starting XI
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The big team news for Leicester is that Robert Huth is back from his suspension and likely to come back into the side. They missed his presence in the opening game and his return will be welcome. Leicester are one of only two sides in the Premier League with no current injuries, which means that Ranieri has his entire squad to choose from.
On the other hand, Arsenal wish they had their entire squad available, as they currently have seven players out with injury and several more who aren’t fully fit. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi are doubts after picking up knocks last weekend. Gabriel, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all missing through injury.
This game is a difficult match to call. Both sides lost their opening fixtures and will be desperate to bounce back with a win this weekend. The clash in styles will make for a great game and there should be goals. I expect Jamie Vardy to return to form after a poor first game and find the net this weekend. However, it won’t be enough to give Leicester the win. My prediction is a 2-2 draw, with lots of thrills and spills, but neither side will do enough to take the three points.