Arsenal host Leicester on Tuesday at the Emirates in (yet another) big match for table finish. Arsenal have won four straight, three in the Premier League, and have clawed their way back to seventh in the table. The Gunners need all the points they can manage right now and have very little room for error in their pursuit of a Europa League spot. Because the mid-table is so congested, dropping points almost guarantees falling one to three spots in the table.
The Foxes will prove a tough test. They are a solid side who have been a particularly difficult foe for Arsenal over the last few seasons. They’ve struggled a bit since the restart, drawing Brighton and Watford and losing to Chelsea and Everton, but they may have righted the ship with a 3-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace at the weekend that saw Jamie Vardy score his 100th and 101st Premier League goals. For whatever reason, Leicester consistently “get up” for big games, and I’m sure will not be taking Arsenal lightly. The Foxes are nine points ahead of the Gunners in the table and are in desperate need of results to maintain their Champions League place with Chelsea and Manchester United breathing down their neck.
I think the new-look Arsenal stack up quite well against Leicester. Against Wolves, Mikel Arteta set the side up to sit deeper and not expose itself to counters. A similar strategy should work against Leicester, who get a good number of their goals on the break and through Jamie Vardy’s opportunism in the area. Additionally, Arsenal’s new attacking strategy sets up well to exploit the centerback pairing of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu, who both have Mustafi/Luiz-esque moments from time to time. I think the Gunners will be able to get in behind.
Leicester bested Arsenal 2-0 in early November at the King Power on the strength of goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison. Given everything that has transpired since then, I don’t think you can take much from that result.
James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, and Ayoze Perez are injury concerns for Leicester and would be big misses for the Foxes should they not be fit. Maddison is still dealing with a hip injury, Perez a muscle strain, and Chilwell required an injection for a heel injury picked up against Crystal Palace.
Mesut Özil is the only short-term injury question for Arsenal — he’s still dealing with back soreness. Matteo Guendouzi will also likely miss out. According to reports, the Frenchman has been training by himself and not with the team for the past two weeks.
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