Arsenal travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday to face Leicester City after having qualified for their 17th straight Champions League, while Leicester would be hoping they could bounce back at home after a 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge last week.
The biggest concern for Arsene Wenger would be that Olivier Giroud has been ruled out for a period upto 4 months. Despite signing Alexis Sanchez earlier this summer, Giroud was Arsene’s key man upfront and his long-term absence will really cause headaches. Sanchez led the line in the midweek Champions League fixture against Besiktas, and maybe would again be given the responsibility upfront. But with Sanchez having started twice in the last week, Wenger might feel it safe to start with his new man on the bench, with Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell all offering options. Podolski and Campbell were rumored to be in talks of move away from Arsenal, but Wenger is likely to hold their sales unless he signs another striker.
In midfield, Aaron Ramsey is fresh and certain to start after missing out the midweek fixture due to suspension. Jack Wilshere partnered him against Everton last time and also featured against Besiktas, but is likely to make way for Santi Cazorla. Mesut Ozil and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain are likely to take the wide roles, and in the absence of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini is set to retain his role as the holding midfielder. If Wenger decides to rest any of the midfield players who featured on Wednesday, then Tomas Rosicky offers a strong option.
At the back, an injury to Kieran Gibbs would mean Nacho Monreal will continue at left-back. Mathieu Debuchy, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertasacker were the right back and centre backs Didier against Besiktas, and may retain their starting berths, with Callum Chambers offering an alternative if Wenger decides to rotate.
David Ospina has returned to full training after injury and would now challenge Wojciech Szczesny for the gloves. Serge Gnabry, Ryo Miyachi and Theo Walcott all continue to miss out with injuries.
Leicester would be hoping their new signing Esteban Cambiasso gets his clearance before the match against Arsenal.The experienced central midfielder, if available, will go directly into one of the two central midfield spots. Danny Drinkwater missed last week’s trip to Chelsea but has now returned and would likely take the other central midfield role. In their absence, Andy King or Dean Hammond could step in. Antony Knockaert, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton would battle it out for the 2 wide roles, with Jeffrey Schupp also an option on the left, after an impressive outing against Chelsea.
Jamie Vardy has returned from a long term injury, but is unlikely to replace David Nugent or summer signing Leandro Ulloa upfront. At the back, Nigel Pearson is set to continue with the same backline of Wes Morgan, Liam Moore, Ritchie De Laet and Paul Konchesky and Kasper Schmeichel below the bar, with new signing Danny Simpson from QPR unlikely to feature.
Leicester City vs Arsenal Style of Play Expected:
Arsenal are yet to display that fluidic gameplay they executed to perfection last season, and would hope to find their rhythm against Leicester. With Ramsey back after missing the midweek game against Besiktas, the Arsenal midfield is likely to control majority of the game.
Meanwhile, Leicester has shown great character at the back in both their games so far. Even though they conceded twice against both Everton and Chelsea, they did reasonably well to restrict them to two. They have opened up chances upfront as well, but have been found lacking in finishing and would hope to improve their finishing skills and snatch a point from Arsenal.
Leicester City vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups:
ARSENAL (4-1-4-1): SZCZESNY;DEBUCHY-MERTASACKER-KOSCIELNY-MONREAL;FLAMINI; CHAMBERLAIN-RAMSEY- CAZORLA- OZIL; PODOLSKI.
LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): SCHMEICHEL; DE LAET-MORGAN-MOORE-KONCHESKY; HAMMOND-DRINGWATER-KNOCKAERT-MAHREZ; NUGENT-ULLOA.
ARSENAL: Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla
LEICESTER CITY: Kasper Schmeichel, Riyad Mahrez, David Nugent
Leicester City vs Arsenal Match Facts:
- Leicester won their first Premier League home game against Arsenal (2-1 in November 1994) but none of the subsequent seven games saw them claim three points.
- The last time Arsenal played Leicester was the 38th and final game of the unbeaten 2003-04 Premier League campaign.
- Leicester’s players to have featured so far have a combined total of 550 Premier League appearances, fewer than any other team this season.
- Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez has conceded more fouls (7) without getting booked than any other Premier League player this season.
- Mesut Ozil has assisted only one goal in his last nine Premier League games.
- David Nugent has not scored a Premier League goal since playing for Burnley in 2009-10. His last effort came in March 2010.
- Leicester have scored at least once in each of their last 16 league games at home.
- Arsenal have scored at least two goals in their last three Premier League away games.
Facts compiled from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com
Leicester City vs Arsenal Prediction:
ARSENAL 2-0 LEICESTER