A year on and a fresh reminder from Amazon’s All or Nothing series has Arsenal and its supporters with a dramatically different feeling heading out of matchday one. A squad improved, a positive preseason, and a road win to begin the new Premier League campaign. Mikel Arteta and the Gunners now prepare for the home opener at the Emirates as they welcome Leicester City on Saturday.
Despite a lack of incoming transfers (so far) and the sudden departure of their long-time captain and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City got off to a great opening hour going up 2-0 on Brentford. Until two second-half goals saw the Foxes drop two points. And Schmeichel wasn’t just a key player, he had been at the club since 2011 and ranks third in all-time appearances at Leicester City (479). To put that into context that’s about 100 more than Jamie Vardy and 200 past Marc Albrighton. Big shoes to fill for Danny Ward.
Then there is the persistent and building transfer rumor of Youri Tielemens between the two clubs. Plenty to talk about as we chatted with Jack Lee the Manager at The Fosse Posse, SB Nation’s site on all things Leicester City.
TSF: At the time of asking this question (Monday, August 8th), Leicester City’s summer activity looks like... *checks notes*... no signings and no loaned players coming in. Has the club forgotten that they are allowed to bring players in?
TFP: We already have 28 players eligible for the 25-man squad and no money, so there’s no buying without selling. Unfortunately, it seems that every other team is aware of that, so they’re holding out until the deadline in the hope that we’ll get desperate and sell, for example, Youri Tielemans, at a discount price.
TSF: Whenever Leicester does get around to adding to the squad, what are the priority positions they need to address before the transfer window closes?
TFP: That will depend to an extent on who we can sell. We could do with a CB, especially a left-footer, but if Fofana goes it’s a huge need. We could also do with a left-footed fullback and a left-footed winger. Just any lefties, really.
TSF: Lucas Torreira has officially left Arsenal, which will only add to the rumors that Youri Tielemens will be heading to North London. Are you resigned to the fact that he is leaving during this window or do you believe the club may be able to hold onto him for another season? If he does go, who steps into his place?
TFP: At the start of the summer everyone was resigned to it, and the more reactionary fans were even a little bit glad. The longer things have gone on without a hint of replacement, the more it’s going to hurt. There’s not really anyone at the club who can do what he does, but it will mean more falls to Maddison and Dewsbury-Hall. Dennis Praet is back with the team and Soumaré can only improve on last year, but that would be a change of style or a downgrade.
TSF: Up 2-0 at home on opening day, only to concede two second-half goals. First, how did Leicester City perform compared to your preseason expectations? And second, what did you see in the second half that they need to address heading to Arsenal?
TFP: A lot of fans have kept faith in the quality of the squad, and the first 60 minutes was a sign of vindication in that thinking. Still, there’s no denying the summer has been a disaster and the biggest concern is that Rodgers just has no faith in the bottom half of his squad. He admits that they were exhausted, but still refused to bring on any of his subs. If the opposition can make 5 changes, they’re going to run all over us in the last 20 all season long.
TSF: How might Brendan Rodgers change Leicester’s starting XI this weekend and what is your scoreline prediction?
TFP: The big hope is that Daniel Amartey drops out of the starting lineup because he just didn’t look good enough. There is a clear upgrade available in Soyuncu but, as stated above, he isn’t trusted. You could see James Justin drop into the back 3, which obviously limits his use as an attacking threat. The other option would be a back 4, but with no Harvey Barnes and a lack of other wingers, I’d be surprised. Arsenal looks like a strong team, so I’d predict a 2-1 loss for Leicester City.
Thanks to Jack & The Fosse Posse for answering our questions.