Leicester City away with Jamie Vardy on duty is always an unpalatable fixture.
The striker who turned down a move to North London has seemingly made it his personal goal to intimidate and savage Arsenal at every opportunity, somewhat successfully I might add.
City may still rely on the strikers strong appetite for competition but they are far from a one man band, they are in fact a slick, cohesive side that will give anyone a game.
They can hit hard on the break, enjoy long periods of possession and they certainly aren’t shy to pass it around.
They’ll chase lost causes, press high and pressurise which is all part of their success against Arsenal, but they have also spent wisely and on quality players. Dennis Praet, Ayoze Pérez, Youri Tielemans, Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne have just added to what already existed and they’ve now grown collectively into a considerable competitive force.
Let’s not forget that while Rodgers was at Celtic he bought Odsonne Edouard and he proved to be a great success even though it looks as if he’ll be off in the summer. Leicester perhaps ?
So Arsenal have quite the task ahead with Maddison feeding Vardy over the top or through the middle but even if they manage to contain these two, the threat isn’t over.
Arsenal will not be able to start the game at a friendly trot or indeed repeat their odd performance against Benfica. If they are going to win this they need to dominant in the middle and I’m not even adverse to going 4-4-2 or 4-1-1 with a lone striker slightly ahead of a roaming Saka.
Defeat here isn’t an option, Arsenal need to start gathering points with some testing games ahead, yet the odds favour the in form Leicester City and that’s exactly why I’m going to suggest it’s winnable.
It’s no secret that Leicester go through phases in a season, at times resembling challengers and on others also rans. It’s high time they resembled the latter.
However, this won’t happen unless every single player in the Arsenal side is on same page and are prepared to scrap it out for a full 90 minutes.
It’s not the time to rest important players and the side needs to be a mixture of cautious and adventurous.
They can’t over commit and will have to be prepared to reverse hard if they lose the ball.
In this encounter possession could well take the day and if Arsenal revert to their occasional slack, short or overcooked passing game Leicester will win handsomely.
Also Read : Narrow Win For Arsenal Against Benfica But That’s Only Half The Story
Arsenal need to advance and fall back in numbers, they need to press in twos or threes, with the same numbers behind them doing similarly.
The passing element of Arsenal’s game is key and if they can break fast and provide service from the flanks or through the middle, Leicester might well have their hands full with the combination of Aubameyang and Saka with perhaps Smith Rowe of Odegaard threading the play as they head up field.
Aubameyang is back on form even though some are convinced his abilities are fading. I don’t subscribe to these mindless conclusions after back to back seasons in extreme circumstances with little time to breath. In between.
Lack of service has been Aubameyang and Lacazette’s main problem but Tierney and Saka are in the process of resolving that issue.
If Arteta can pick the right combinations at the back and the middle, I’ll stick my neck out for a 0-2 victory to Arsenal but it depends which one turns up, the dominant one against Leeds or insipid 11 that managed to keep the score down against City.
Arsenal are frustratingly inconsistent for no apparent reason and until Arteta solves that particular riddle fans are due for either a series of uplifting and deflating performances.
Preferred side: Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Mari, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang.
Courtesy of the BBC
* Leicester have won three of the past four League meetings, including a 1-0 victory at the Emirates last October.
* The Foxes could do the league double over Arsenal for the first time since 1973-74.
* Arsenal have lost their last three Premier League away matches against Leicester, getting more red cards (two) than goals (one).
* Leicester have won three of their past four league matches and have lost just one of the last 12.
* Their record of W15, D4, L6 is exactly the same as they had at this stage last season.
* Five of Leicester’s six Premier League defeats this season have come at King Power Stadium.
* Leicester have won six of their seven Premier League fixtures directly following a Europa League match this season.
* Brendan Rodgers’ side have won 12 of the 13 league matches in which they scored the opening goal in 2020-21.
* The Foxes have been awarded 10 penalties (scoring eight of them) in this season’s Premier League, two more than any other team going into this weekend. They have conceded just one, the fewest in the top flight.
* Jamie Vardy has scored 11 goals in 12 Premier League appearances against Arsenal.
* Arsenal have lost three of their last four Premier League matches.
* They have failed to score in 10 league matches this season. Only once previously, in 2005-06, have they failed to score more often in a 38-match campaign.
* The Gunners have conceded just five goals from set-pieces, including penalties, in this season’s Premier League.
* Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 38 goals in 50 Premier League games played on Sundays, 14 more than he has on all other days of the week combined (24 goals in 56 matches).
* Only one of Aubameyang’s last 18 Premier League goals was scored outside of London, a penalty in a 1-0 win at Manchester United in November.
* Bukayo Saka, who is 19 years old, can become the second-youngest player to reach 50 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, after Cesc Fabregas.
The post ESR & Aubameyang in, Pepe Out : Predicted Lineups, Team News as Arsenal Look to Finally Break The Leicester Hoodoo appeared first on Arsedevils.