Arsenal head north to Leicester City to take on an inconsistent Foxes team that is lower in the table than most expected of them. Brendan Rodgers’ side can’t seem to string together consistent performances. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a tricky opponent. Before being eviscerated by Manchester United 4-0, Leicester beat Tottenham 4-1 and Aston Villa 4-2. If Arsenal aren’t at their best, Leicester have more than enough quality to send them back to London with dropped points.
The Gunners have won their last four against the Foxes, including 4-2 earlier this season and their two most recent trips to the King Power. Leicester have given up the second-most goals in the Premier League this season (41) but their expected goals against (~37) puts them closer to the middle of the pack. If you watched them against Manchester United last weekend, it’s easy to see why they’ve conceded so many goals. There are massive chasms between defenders, their midfield offered little resistance, and they were susceptible to the press because players didn’t provide teammates with passing outlets. You never want to face a team coming off the back of a spanking — they usually bounce back next time out.
And Jamie Vardy, the man who has scored more goals against Arsenal save for Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney, still plays for Leicester. He’s been coming off the bench this season, but I’m sure he’d love to torment the Gunners once again. Arsenal’s defense has been generous of late, too. The Gunners have gone five straight matches without a clean sheet in the Premier League. The last four matches, Arsenal are allowing opponents an average of 1.5 xG compared to 0.81 average xG over the nine matches prior.
James Maddison has been Leicester’s star man this season. His 14 goals involvements are tied second in the Premier League with Martin Ødegaard, trailing only Kevin De Bruyne’s 16 involvements from midfielders. Maddison status for today’s match is up in the air. He’s been dealing with a knee injury that has required injections and a significantly curtailed training load. My bet is that he plays, but not for the full 90. UPDATE: Maddison is not in the Leicester City side to face the Gunners.
Leicester will need Harvey Barnes to step up in a big way. The 25-year old has 8 goals and an assist in the Premier League this season and leads the Foxes in non-penalty xG + xA. Interesting anecdote: he’s really good at one-two passing combinations to beat defenders and one of the worst in the PL at beating them individually on the dribble.
Defenders Ryan Bertrand and Jonny Evans will miss out for Leicester. Mohamed Elneny and Gabriel Jesus are both out for Arsenal, although the Brazilian is progressing towards his return. Thomas Partey traveled with the squad, and Mikel Arteta said he might be available for selection despite not training much this week. If he plays, it won’t be for the entire match, especially given how well Jorginho has done the last two times out.
Arsenal - Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Jorginho, Xhaka, Ødegaard, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard
⚪️— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 25, 2023
Saliba at the back
Xhaka in midfield
✊ Let’s do this, Gunners! pic.twitter.com/NN3MlxnbB3
Leicester City - Ward, Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen, Dewsbury-Hall, Ndidi, Praet, Tete, Barnes, Iheanacho
WHAT: Arsenal at Leicester City
WHERE: The King Power Stadium, Leicester
WHEN: Saturday, February 25th, 7 am PT | 10 am ET | 3 pm BST
HOW TO WATCH: Streaming on Peacock.
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