Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Arsenal
Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, August 20 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)
Match Odds: Leicester 19/10 – Draw 13/5 – Arsenal 13/10
The champions come into this one off the back of their 2-1 defeat to Hull, a result that not many would have predicted.
Claudio Ranieri’s side looked stuck for ideas on how to break down their resilient opponents. They may well be better suited to this tie as it will be more open, meaning they will have more chances to express their counter-attacking play.
Leicester will be looking to exact some revenge on Arsenal as they were thumped 5-2 by the North London side at home last season.
Arsenal’s 4-3 loss in their opener against Liverpool has heaped more pressure on Arsene Wenger. It’s clear they have what it takes to break opponents down as they scored three, but the biggest concern for fans is their lacklustre defence.
Wenger’s injury list just seems to keep on expanding and another week has passed without any transfer activity at the club.
Arsenal come into this one under the spotlight. They cannot afford to lose their opening two games for the risk of already being six points behind their title rivals.
Worryingly for Arsenal they face a Leicester side who had impeccable home form in their title campaign. The Gunners drew their final three away games in the Premier League last season so it will be interesting to see if they can break that trend and take all three points here.
Leicester City have no injury concerns. Ranieri will more than likely opt for a similar starting lineup as he did against Hull. The Foxes have had a huge boost this week as Riyad Mahrez penned a contract extension, ending any uncertainty over his future.
Arsenal’s squad is still taking shape. As we know Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud returned to training late after Euro 2016. On top of Arsenal’s current injury list of Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson, both Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi were forced off in the game against Liverpool. The two latest setbacks increased their injury list to seven players and Arsenal could have up to ten players out here, including the trio who returned late from the Euros.
Leicester City’s last five: L
Arsenal’s last five: L
Key Stat: Fortress – Leicester City are unbeaten in their last 15 home outings in the Premier League.
Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – There will be added pressure on Arsenal after their opening day defeat and they need their key players to work even harder considering how many regulars are absent. Sanchez has the ability to cut apart any defence and he will be expected to provide in this one.
Leicester City 1-2 Arsenal – Arsenal to get off the mark and narrowly beat a Leicester side who would not have been expecting to lose their first two games of the 2016/17 Premier League season.