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Arsenal vs. Leicester preview: fox hunting

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Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal host Leicester City on Sunday with both sides on 9 points early on in the season. Tomorrow’s tilt is one of those proverbial six-point matches — the Gunners and the Foxes will be battling all season long for a spot in the Top 4.

Since Leicester returned to the Premier League in 2014, this fixture has been dominated by the home side. The Gunners are 5-1-0 against the Foxes at the Emirates, but that draw came in the most recent meeting in July. And with this topsy-turvy goal-fest of a season so far, anything can happen. For what it’s worth, Arsenal beat Leicester last month in the League Cup, but both sides were using mostly reserve players.

Arsenal may catch a massive injury break on Sunday — Jamie Vardy is doubtful to play unless he makes a surprising recovery from a calf injury. Vardy has tormented the Gunners, scoring 10 goals in 11 Premier League matches against them. Leicester will also be without standout centerback Çağlar Söyüncü, who is out for an indeterminate period with a hip injury. Brendan Rodgers will also be without Ricardo Pereira, Daniel Amartey, and Wilfred Ndidi.

Dani Ceballos, who missed the match against Rapid Wien with an ankle knock, will be available for selection. Willian, however, is still questionable with a calf problem. Shokdran Mustafi and Emile Smith Rowe have both been back in full training for a while and are in contention for a spot on the bnech. Rob Holding is out 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, and Gabriel Martinelli are still out long-term.

The big question for Arsenal for the foreseeable future is how much offense will they muster — can they generate enough chances to be competitive against the better clubs. Mikel Arteta seems to have the defensive side of things under control; the Gunners play well-structured and disciplined without the ball. But counting on converting the one or two chances they get a game or having one of the attackers play “hero-ball” isn’t a viable strategy. Arteta needs to shift his focus to creating an attacking plan that consistently gives opponents problems and generates shots.

Perhaps that new attacking plan starts with the introduction of Thomas Partey to the Premier League starting lineup. Arsenal’s new signing played well against Rapid Wien on Thursday and could be the missing piece that completes the offensive puzzle. Playing against a Leicester side missing a starting centerback and holding midfielder seems like a good time to “turn on the attack” if you will.

WHAT: Arsenal vs. Leicester
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Sunday, October 25th 12:15 PM PT | 3:15 PM ET | 7:15 PM BT (note: the clocks go back in Britain overnight)
US TV: Peacock

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