Arsenal vs Leicester City: Talking Tactics

Arsenal secured a 2-0 victory the last time the sides met, in a third round Carabao Cup fixture in September, The Gunners’ secured a 2-0 victory.

Both sides come into this fixture in relatively strong form, The Gunners having only lost twice this season, with The Foxes tasting defeat three times in total, one of which was to their next opponents.

Arsenal haven’t lost a home game to Leicester City since 1973 and were on a 12-match home game winning run against the Foxes until a 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium last season. 

Both teams will be hoping for a top-four finish this season, after Leicester narrowly missed out last year.

They teams will both have some tired legs following the start of their UEFA Europa League campaigns on Thursday [22 October], both sides getting victories.

Big game players

Leicester may be at a slight disadvantage with some key players definitely ruled out; Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi and Caglar Soyuncu are all definitely missing.

Jamie Vardy could feature depending on the result of a fitness test. James Maddison will be imperative to the side, and all hopes could rest on his shoulders.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to scoring form in Vienna on Thursday night, only his second goal of the season, and The Gunners could have to rely on his goals to help guide them past this Leicester side.

Thomas Partey won the ‘Man of the Match’ award in his first Arsenal start on Thursday night, his defensive solidarity and passing ranges impressed The Gunners faithful and fans will be looking forward to seeing him make his first Premier League start on Sunday.

Leicester winger Harvey Barnes has also been in strong form, and after his standout performance in the Europa League on Thursday.

His side will be hoping he can carry that from into Sundays’ league meeting, similarly to Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored once and assisted the other two as The Foxes romped to a convincing 3-0 victory at home to Zorya Lugansk.

The midfield battle

The arrival of Partey has strengthened up The Gunners’ midfield, and allows Arsenal to attack and create more, by moving into a central midfield three.

Dani Ceballos is likely to return to first team action after missing out on the trip to Austria on Thursday night.

A midfield trio for Arsenal would allow them to match Leicester’s similar style.

The Foxes play with a five-man midfield, but Maddison and Barnes play wide, moving into more of a central three.

It will be a tough call for Mikel Arteta as to who he selects in his midfield, Mohammad Elneny plays in a similar position to new arrival Partey and could be the one to drop out if Ceballos, Xhaka and Parety all play. 

Leicester missing their best defensive midfielder in Ndidi could struggle, but their ready-made replacement in Nampalys Mendy will allow them to play in the same style.

Arsenal know all about the threats posed by Youri Tielmans and Denis Praet, who have shown their quality against the Gunners, not just for Leicester, but for their former teams too.

Goal scorers

Jamie Vardy’s injury has left Leicester without a prolific goal-scorer and is a void that Iheanacho hasn’t necessarily always filled.  

The Nigerian has scored once in five games this season, and 21 goals in 94 Leicester appearances.

His excellent performances on Thursday could be exactly what he needed to kickstart his season and could threaten the Arsenal defence. 

Aubameyang hasn’t hit his usual heights this season, only registering two goals in competitive matches this season, on the opening day at Fulham and on his most recent outing in Vienna. 

The Arsenal striker would be the better bet, considering his return of 73 goals in 116 appearances, and Arsenal fans will be hoping he can add to his tally this season when he faces Leicester.

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