Arsenal will be hoping to end their four-game winless streak when they lock horns against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
An under-pressure Arsenal side will be aiming to get back to winning ways and reduce the gap to the top four, when they lock horns with Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City in matchweek 12 of the Premier League this weekend.
Leicester City have been brilliant this season and currently sit third in the table, just two points shy of second-placed Manchester City. With the champions facing leaders Liverpool in a top-of-the-table clash this weekend, the Foxes have a great chance of moving into the second spot should they beat their opponents on Saturday and the result at Anfield goes their way.
Rodgers’ men are on a four-game winning streak across all competitions, with their most recent fixture ending in a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace. In contrast, Arsenal, who sit fifth in the Premier League, are without a win in their last four matches in all competitions, most recently playing out a 1-1 draw against Vitoria SC in the UEFA Europa League earlier this week.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery is under serious pressure to turn things around at the earliest possible. And a win against Leicester at the King Power would go a long way in alleviating some pressure off from the Spaniard heading into the final international break of 2019.
Ahead of this enticing match-up coming our way on Saturday evening, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Leicester City pretty much have a clean bill of health heading into the game against Arsenal, with midfielder Matty James being the only player absent with injury. Rodgers is unlikely to tinker with the team that dispatched Crystal Palace with ease last time out.
Kasper Schmeichel has been an ever-present figure in goal for Leicester and that will not change against the Gunners. Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu have struck up a solid partnership at the heart of the defence, helping them to the best defensive record in the league. Both are certain starters here, with Ricardo Pereira and the highly influential Ben Chilwell starting as the full-backs.
Wilfred Ndidi is an important cog in the wheel for Rodgers’ side as he shields the backline and recycles possession effectively, allowing those in front of him to play freely. He is a guaranteed starter as the deepest central midfielder on Saturday, with James Maddison and Youri Tielemans occupying the attacking midfield slots.
The only change possible here could be that Rodgers opts for Hamza Choudhury for more security in the middle, moving Maddison to the left flank. However, that seems unlikely seeing the form that Harvey Barnes has been in. He ought to start on the left, with new signing Ayoze Perez getting the nod on the right.
There is no looking past Jamie Vardy, who has hit a new level under the tutelage of Rodgers, in the lone striker role for Leicester.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi; Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
Arsenal have been dealt with a fresh injury blow ahead of the Leicester encounter as Dani Ceballos is set to miss out after picking up a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw against Vitoria. There are no other injury-related issues for manager Emery, but former captain Granit Xhaka is unlikely to be reinstated to the squad this weekend as well.
There will be plenty of changes to the side that started the midweek clash, while a return to a 4-2-3-1 setup is also on the cards after the manager opted for a three-man backline in the European encounter. Bernd Leno ought to return between the sticks, replacing Emiliano Martinez, who started on Wednesday evening.
Hector Bellerin was left out of the starting XI in the Europa League clash, which could see him start against Leicester, marking his first league appearance of the season. Kieran Tierney, who was Arsenal’s only positive in Portugal, should continue on the opposite side. Sokratis and David Luiz ought to pair up at the heart of the Gunners’ defence.
Lucas Torreira featured for only a few minutes in the midweek game and should start at the King Power, to provide protection to the Arsenal backline. Partnering him in the two-man midfield pivot should be Matteo Guendouzi, who will provide the legs and the energy in the middle.
Mesut Ozil has impressed in his last two matches, having forced his way back into the manager’s plans. After being rested for the midweek game, he is in contention to return in the No. 10 role, although Joe Willock is also an option should Emery choose to be more conservative. Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ought to slot in on the flanks with Alexandre Lacazette leading the line.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Torreira, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
- Arsenal have lost two of their last three league games against Leicester City (W1) – more than they had in their previous 30 against the Foxes (W20 D9 L1).
- Leicester have won their last two Premier League home games against Arsenal – they have never beaten the Gunners in three consecutive home top-flight matches.
- Since beating Manchester City at the Etihad in January 2015, Arsenal have failed to win any of their 11 away Premier League matches against teams starting the day in the top-three of the league (W0 D3 L8).
- Leicester have won eight of their last 11 home Premier League games (W8 D2 L1), including their last four in a row. The Foxes have won five in a row only once previously, doing so in May 2017 under Craig Shakespeare.
- Arsenal have kept just two clean sheets in their last 24 away league games, with both of those games finishing as 1-0 victories (against Watford and Newcastle).
Player to Watch
Fresh after being named the Premier League Player of the Month for October, the Leicester City marksman will be raring to go when Arsenal come visiting. Currently the leading scorer in the league, Vardy became the first player to reach 10 goals in the 2019-20 campaign, after scoring against Crystal Palace last weekend. The last time he did that, in 2015-16, the Foxes went on to win the title.
The 32-year-old former England international relishes playing against the Gunners, scoring eight goals in his eight matches against the North Londoners, including three braces. Expect him to cause all sorts of problems to a leaky Arsenal backline at the King Power on Saturday.
Leicester City 2-1 Arsenal
Leicester have won four in a row in all competitions and are unbeaten at home this season, winning four in five at the King Power. Arsenal, on the other hand, are struggling to string together a decent run of results, and head into the game without a win in four. Their away record also makes for a poor reading with Emery’s men winless in their last four games on the road in the league.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have form and confidence on their side and given the Gunners’ recent record at the King Power, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting a straightforward win for The Foxes, heaping more pressure on Arsenal boss Unai Emery.