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Leicester v Arsenal – Preview

Arsenal face a trip to in-form Leicester City on Sunday afternoon, the visitors having lost three of their last four Premier League games.

Here’s everything you need to know about that meeting at the King Power Stadium:

Form

Leicester: WWDWL

There may still be a third of the season still left to go, but it would seem that the Foxes are almost nailed on to finish in the top three this term, after what’s been another impressive campaign.

Currently in third and six points ahead of Chelsea in fifth, Brendan Rodgers’ side are well placed to secure Champions League football come the end of the season, after the disappointment after last year in which they essentially threw away a top-four spot in the second half of the season.

In a campaign in which so many sides have been erratic, Leicester have remained fairly consistent, while they have also managed to overcome a succession of injuries with little or no fuss.

Their latest league game saw them see off Aston Villa with a ruthless first-half performance, winger Harvey Barnes arguably the star of the show and doing no harm to his England hopes with the international break coming up soon.

One worry from that win at Villa Park, however, is a potential injury to influential midfielder James Maddison, the 24-year-old limping off with a hip injury midway through the second-half.

Rodgers and co will be hoping that he can be available for the visit of the Gunners, although they’ll have to wait and see if it is a re-occurrence of the hip issue that kept him out of the team towards the end of last season.

The England international was absent from the Foxes’ disappointing Europa League defeat to Slavia Prague on Thursday, a result that cost them a place in the last-16 of the competition.

Arsenal: LWDLW

While the Gunners have looked much brighter over the last few months, their lack of consistency still appears to be holding them back, with them having won one, drawn one and lost three of their last five Premier League games.

Such form has left them languishing in 11th-place in the table and with an 11 point gap between themselves and surprise package West Ham United in fourth.

The lack of Champions League football for another season would likely impact their potential recruitment this summer, manager Mikel Arteta in real need of some quality additions as he looks to reshape his squad.

The Gunners most recent league encounter saw them beaten 1-0 by league leaders Manchester City at the Emirates, a second minute Raheem Sterling header enough to continue his side’s staggering winning run in all competitions.

Embed from Getty Images

In truth, the scoreline probably flattered the hosts, with Arsenal lucky not to have been a few goals down in what was a dominant first-half showing from Pep Guardiola’s side.

As for this weekend, the North London club will possibly be without Rob Holding after he was forced off with a head injury at the weekend, although summer signing Thomas Partey could make his return to the starting XI after making a substitute appearance in the win over Benfica on Thursday evening.

That game saw the Gunners produce a thrilling late comeback to make their way into the Europa League last-16, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting an 87th minute header to clinch a vital 3-2 win on the night and a 4-3 aggregate victory overall.

Last Meeting

Arsenal 0-1 Leicester, 25 October 2020.

While Arsenal claimed the win in the Carabao Cup meeting back in September, it was Leicester who took all three points in the league a few weeks later.

Brendan Rodgers’ side went into the game having not won away against the Gunners since 1973, with the hosts early dominance suggesting that it might well be another tricky afternoon for the Foxes.

Gunners striker Alexandre Lacazette had a header ruled out for offside inside the first-half, while both he and fellow forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a catalogue of chances to go ahead.

Mikel Arteta was ultimately left ruing his team’s wastefulness, as the visitors produced the ultimate smash and grab, former Arsenal target Jamie Vardy heading home ten minutes from time to snatch victory.

Predicted Lineups

Leicester: Schmeichel; Castagne, Soyuncu, Evans, Thomas; Ndidi, Tielemans, Mendy; Barnes, Vardy, Pereira.

Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Elneny; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.

Who is the referee?

Paul Tierney

What channel is it on?

UK and Irish readers can watch the match on BT Sport.

What time is kick off?

Sunday 28 February, 12:00 GMT

Odds

Leicester – 6/4

Arsenal – 9/5

Draw – 12/5

Five of the worst Premier League title defences after 25 games

See also – Scholes suggests Man Utd are favourites to win Europa League, with his old side ‘much better’ than Arsenal and Spurs

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