There is quite the positive buzz around Arsenal at the moment. Solid summer additions and a strong Premier League opener. A young and exciting squad that the fanbase appears to be behind. Plus, an enjoyable look behind the scenes in the All or Nothing docuseries. Personally, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Mikel Arteta a bit deeper than the typical press conferences. Reports from training indicate that key players are returning from fitness issues and things seem smooth at the moment as Arsenal gets set for their home opener against Leicester City.
Arsenal had a difficult run of fixtures against Leicester City, and in particular Jamie Vardy, from 2018 to 2020. Over that period the two sides played seven times resulting in four losses, one draw, and two wins for the Gunners. However, Mikel Arteta has found success against the Foxes since then, winning the last three by a combined score of 7 to 1. The one goal against Arsenal during that time — Youri Tielemans — the player who may very well be in the red and white by the end of the month.
- Eddie Nketiah
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Mohamed Elneny
- Kieran Tierney
- Rob Holding
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Alex Rúnarsson (expected sale or loan), Pablo Mari (expected loan to Monza), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (expected sale or loan), Fabio Vieira (injury), Cedric, Marquinhos (expected loan), Hector Bellerin & Reiss Nelson.
- After that performance to open the season on the road with a clean sheet and all three points Mikel Arteta isn’t changing that starting XI. Barring any late injuries, it’s the same lineup for the home opener and a side who should be able to put together longer stretches of controlling the play and creating attack opportunities.
- The bench however should see an improvement. After Kieran Tierney came in as a sub last Friday, it looks promising that both Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe will be back in the matchday squad. With the current starting XI, there is no need to rush either back, which is a lovely place to be, thanks to Edu and Arteta’s squad building over the past few windows. Fabio Vieira may need a bit more time before his debut, but that’s quite a strong bench as it stands.
- The summer transfer window closes in less than three weeks with plenty of outgoing decisions to make. Can the club find exit strategies for Hector Bellerin and Alex Runarrson or will they end up terminating their contracts to let them pursue a free move? Is the plan for Marquinhos to spend time with the U23s in the first half of the season and then look for a post-World Cup half-season loan? And does Mikel Arteta plan on using Reiss Nelson or Ainsley Maitland-Niles this season? Both could provide transfer funds unless he thinks Nelson can develop into the right-wing #2 once Pepe leaves next summer.
- And finally, a quick shoutout for having five subs this season. While the flow of the second half may be disrupted at times, having the option to bring in Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Tierney, Tomiyasu & Pepe to attack tiring defenders will hopefully be as advantageous as it appears on paper.
How to watch
Saturday (8/13) at 10:00 am ET / 7:00 am PT on Peacock Premium.
Arsenal - 2
Leicester City - 0