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Arsenal vs. Leicester City: home cooking

The Gunners kick off their home slate.

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Arsenal face Leicester City today at the Emirates in the Gunners’ Premier League home opener. I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but on paper, Arsenal should win this one. That feels so weird to say about an Arsenal-Leicester match. It feels like the Foxes have been a bogey team for the Gunners for ages.

But in reality, that may no longer be the case. Arsenal have won four of the last five meetings between the clubs, including the last three in the Premier League. All three of the wins have come by two goal margins. Leicester have kept just one clean sheet in their last 26 away games, per Orbinho and have managed only one win away to Arsenal in their last 25 attempts.

Of course, Jamie Vardy still exists. He’s scored the third most Premier League goals against Arsenal of any player, behind Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney. He missed out against the Gunners last spring due to injury and hasn’t scored in his last two appearances against Mikel Arteta’s side. He hasn’t ever gone three matches against Arsenal without scoring. Leicester also have a red-hot James Maddison, who has four goals and four assists in his last five Premier League matches. You’ll recall that last season in the first meeting between the sides, Aaron Ramsdale made one of the Premier League saves of the season on a Maddison free kick.

The first 30 minutes of the match will be key for both sides. Arsenal will have that first home game of the season support behind them and should come out strong. The Gunners have won every match in their last 15 when they’ve scored in the first half and haven’t won any where they failed to score in the opening 45 minutes. In a similar vein, last season, Arsenal rescued the joint-fewest points from losing positions in the Premier League. The Gunners need to score first and maintain whatever early dominance they are able to establish.

Another key: attacking corners for the Gunners. Arsenal scored the third-most goals from corners in the Premier League last season, including in both matches against Leicester City last season. They scored from a corner against Crystal Palace in the opener.

Brendan Rodgers will be without the services of Ricardo, who recently had surgery to repair an Achilles problem, and Harvey Barnes, who will be out another few weeks with a knee injury. Mikel Arteta will be without Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson. Vieira has recovered from the foot injury that kept him out of preseason and is back in training but isn’t ready for matchday duties. Reiss Nelson is awaiting the results of a scan on a muscle injury, but it doesn’t look good. He has a suspected muscle tear and looks set to miss three months. Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith Rowe, and Takehiro Tomiyasu should all be available for the Gunners.

One more note: familiar Leicester City face Kasper Schmeichel will not be in net for the Foxes. The Danish international recently completed a move to Nice in Ligue Un.

Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Ødegaard, Martinelli, Jesus

Leicester City - Ward, Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Amartey, Justin, Tielemans, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison, Vardy

WHAT: Arsenal vs. Leicester City
WHERE: Emirates Stadium
WHEN: Saturday, August 13th 7 am PT | 10 am ET | 3 pm BST
US TV: Streaming on Peacock.

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