Arsenal entertain Leicester City at the Emirates as Unai Emery aims to make it ten wins on the bounce and keep pace with the Premier League front runners.
Arsenal are in an impressive run of form, having won nine games in a row in all competitions since losing the opening two fixtures of the season. Six of those have been in the Premier League, a run of results that has taken them up to fifth on the table with. A win on Monday could see them leapfrogging Chelsea to sit third after Gameweek 9 ends.
Arsenal are oozing confidence after dismantling Fulham 5-1 away from home, although they were made to work hard to secure all three points initially. That performance and others so far raise the glaring question on Arsenal’s defence and how they would fare against sides with more quality in attack. Those questions could get answered by Leicester City.
Leicester have had a mixed start to their season. However, they have not performed badly, having amassed 12 points from their opening eight games. And while the results might not always be ideal, the Foxes are starting to find a stable footing under Claude Puel and his ways.
Like their opponents Arsenal, Leicester have lost both their games so far this season against top six opposition. Claude Puel’s side also lost their game against Everton before the international break. However, the Foxes won their last away game of the season, and a win over Arsenal would set them up nicely to challenge for a top ten finish to the season.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal will be grateful that the international break did not leave its lasting effects on most players, barring Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who sustained an injury on Greece duty. In fact, the Gunners are set to welcome back several key players from their respective problems to add a more competitive edge to the side.
The most high profile of the returns will be in the form of Mesut Ozil, who is available for selection after missing the last game against Fulham due to a back spasm. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the other player who is back to full fitness, having returned to training during the international break.
Petr Cech is also back in training after overcoming a hamstring problem that has kept him out for four weeks. Cech and Sokratis will have a late fitness test to determine their availability for the squad that will lock horns with Leicester.
Danny Welbeck, who pulled out of the England squad is also back after fully recovering from a hamstring problem. Overall, it looks like Unai Emery could make a few changes to his side, especially upfront in attack.
Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sat on the bench at Craven Cottage, should start on Monday, as should Ozil. It will also be interesting to see who Emery picks in between the posts, with Bern Leno doing a marvellous job in the absence of Cech.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Torreira, Xhaka; Ozil, Ramsey, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Claude Puel has few injury concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to the capital to take on Arsenal. Although most of his key players are available, the Leicester boss will be without Demarai Gray (ankle) and Matty James (Achilles) on Monday due to their respective injuries.
To add to his woes, Puel will also be missing the services of club captain Wes Morgan, who begins his suspension following his dismissal against Everton in Gameweek 8, the second time this season that the Leicester skipper has seen red.
Up against a vulnerable Arsenal defence, Puel will be banking on the form of Jamie Vardy against the big six sides, with the striker having a hand in 34 goals in 46 games since his debut for Leicester in 2014.
The manager will also bank on Nampalys Mendy and Wilfred Ndidi in midfield roles with Ricardo Pereira, Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison set to support Vardy upfront. At the back, Jonny Evans could come in for the suspended Morgan, partnering Harry Maguire at the heart of the Leicester defence, with Daniel Amartey and Ben Chilwell being the full-backs.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Amartey, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Mendy, Ndidi; Pereira, Iheanacho, Maddison; Vardy
- Arsenal have never lost a home game against Leicester City in the Premier League.
- Arsenal’s 11-game winning streak at home against Leicester is the second best in their history, being only their run against Stoke City (13).
- Leicester are winless away at Arsenal since September 1973.
- Arsenal have won more games (59) and points (200) in October than any other side in the Premier League.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been involved in 19 goals in his last 21 Premier League appearances.
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.57
2. Alexandre Lacazette to score anytime @ 2.10
1. Correct Scoreline: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester @ 8.50
Player to Watch
Lacazette has quickly become Arsenal’s main striker after a period on the bench initially under Unai Emery. Part of his game are the traits he shows of a complete striker, and his two well taken, sharp goals against Fulham will have boosted his confidence further. His overall gameplay has added another dimension to Arsenal’s attack and thus far he is ahead of Aubameyang for the central striker’s role.
All he needs to do is keep scoring those goals he was so known for in France. Against Leicester, he has the perfect chance to continue building on his form and help Arsenal extend their winning run to ten games.
Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City
Going by Arsenal’s current winning run, one cannot doubt the confidence of the side. The Gunners should fancy their chances of scoring goals aplenty against a Leicester side that did not quite show the required solidity at the back. But, their own vulnerabilities in defence means the hosts might not keep a clean sheet.
Then there is the factor of playing at home, with the Emirates becoming a true fortress for Arsenal, who have only been beaten by the two Manchester sides here since the beginning of last season. Overall, it looks like Arsenal will score, but also concede against Leicester, the Gunners are expected to take all three points.