Leicester City v Arsenal: Premier League Match Preview
Arsenal visit the King Power Stadium today to take on Leicester City in the Premier League.
The Gunners go into the match in 5th place in the table, with 10 points after 6 matches.
Their hosts are one place and two points ahead of the Gunners.
It’s been an impressive start to the season for the Foxes, who were widely tipped for relegation when they sacked Nigel Pearson and appointed Claudio Ranieri in the summer.
Arsenal will want to build on their 2-1 League Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday and put last week’s defeat at the hands of Chelsea behind them.
The Gunners are currently trailing leaders Manchester City by five points and can ill afford to drop further points against Leicester if they are to a Premier League title challenge.
Leicester have not beaten Arsenal since their debut Premier League season in 1994/95 (W1 D6 L11).
“We are only thinking about Arsenal. We are ready, but they are a smart and fast team. They will fight for the title,” Ranieri said. “To beat Arsenal we must play the perfect match. They don’t have weaknesses, but even if they did, I wouldn’t tell you.”
You never forget the big defeats,” he said. “It is a scar somewhere that remains forever. It is nothing to do with Claudio. I like him. He has served football in a very positive way.
“I think he deserves a lot of respect and I don’t see him as a ‘tinkerman’. Look at the Chelsea team when he left: they all survived after. They were on the way up when he left. He did a great job. He bought Frank Lampard… they had Terry, Desailly, Gallas. They already had a very strong team.
“He is a competent guy. Look when he started in football and he is still in it today. If he was not competent it would be surprising for him to survive for such a long time at the top-level.
“Everybody rotates now because the intensity of the games is very high. It is difficult to repeat exactly the same after the intensity of the game we had on Wednesday night, for example.
“I never saw him change so much his teams. Somebody finds a name and everyone thinks he is only that. But he is a very respectful guy, and has a wonderful sense of humour.”
Riyad Mahrez has had a hand in eight goals (five goals, three assists) for Leicester in the Premier League this season; more than any other player.
Santi Cazorla has created the most goalscoring chances (23) and completed the most passes (471) in the Premier League this season.
Leicester rested 10 players against West Ham in the Capital One Cup in midweek but Kasper Schmeichel, Ritchie De Laet, Wes Morgan, Danny Drinkwater, Ngolo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy are all expected to return to the starting line up.
On-loan winger Nathan Dyer (knee) remains out injured.
Provisional squad: Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Morgan, De Laet, Huth, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Schlupp, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Inler, Kante, Hammond, Albrighton, Mahrez, Vardy, Kramaric, Ulloa, Okazaki, Dodoo, Panayiotou, Olukanmi, Maddison, Simpson, Chilwell.
Francis Coquelin misses the match because of a knee problem picked up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last Saturday.
Santi Cazorla returns from a one-match suspension after his red card at Chelsea.
Gabriel serves a one match suspension after losing his appeal against his Football Association charge of improper conduct at Stamford Bridge. He has also been fined £10,000.
Provisional squad: Cech, Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Flamini, Cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez, Walcott, Ospina, Giroud, Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta.
Key match stats (supplied by Opta)
· Only once in the 18 Premier League meetings have Arsenal failed to score against Leicester.
· The Foxes haven’t beaten Arsenal since their debut season in the Premier League in 1994/95 (W1 D6 L11).
· Leicester have come from behind to salvage at least a point in four successive Premier League games – only one team has managed a longer run than this in PL history; Everton’s six game run between Sept-Nov 2012.
· Arsenal have converted just 6.1% of their shots in the Premier League this season; a lower ratio than any other team.
· Jamie Vardy has scored in three successive Premier League games for the first time.
· The Foxes have won as many points in their last 15 Premier League games (34 – W10 D4 L1) as they had in their previous 48 matches in the competition before this run (34 – W6 D16 L26).
· Including blocked shots, Alexis Sanchez has had more attempts at goal than any other player in the Premier League this season (31) but is yet to score.
· This game pits the team with the highest proportion of long passes in 2015-16 – Leicester (21.3%) against the team with the lowest proportion – Arsenal (7.4%).
Another hard-fought contest for the Gunners who should have enough attacking ammunition to win 2-1.