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Arsenal v. Leicester: Preview

Well, this whole Mahrez thing just got a little more awkward.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League
Maybe less than four goals let in this week, fellas?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal’s first road trip of the season is, like last week’s home opener, a test with potential to be a goalfest.

Arsenal v. Leicester City

When: Saturday, August 20, 5:30 pm GMT/12:30pm ET/11:30 am CT/10:30 am MT/9:30 am PT

Where: King Power Stadium, Leicester

Importance: Both teams are totally melting down. Just kidding, but a draw would leave both teams with one out of a possible six, and a loss would put one of the teams two wins behind the top of the table. While the effect would primarily be felt in banter rather than the overall standings, these are still Champions League placeholders with aspirations to stay there, and an Arsenal loss in particular would further toxify an already toxic fan base.

Key players: For Leicester, the two obvious ones are the two that Arsenal coveted (reportedly) over the summer, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Leicester still needs to fill the Kante-shaped hole in its midfield, but having two of last year’s most profilic scorers is one way to offset a defense made less sturdy by that loss. For Arsenal, look for two of last week’s subs to make their presence felt: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored within minutes of coming on (on a sweet solo play), and Granit Xhaka, who committed four fouls and looked disturbingly new-to-the-Prem in 24 minutes of action.

Key injuries/omissions: As we noted in our most recent team news article, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, and Laurent Koscielny are available but likely not selected to start for various recovery reasons (but due to the Great Ongoing Centerback Crisis of August 2016, Koscielny may have to play despite not quite being ready, because life, man).

Our guess at the Starting XI: Cech; Bellerin, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Xhaka; Walcott, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Alexis.

How to watch: For US viewers, it’s CNBC (not NBCSN; shakes fist in general direction of Olympics) or NBC Sports Live Extra online; for the rest of the globe, consult