Premier League preview: Leicester City vs. Arsenal

Getty Images
0 Comments
  • Leicester has won just once in last 31 meetings with Arsenal
  • Both teams lost on opening day by one-goal margins
  • Arsenal may risk Euro returnees

Last season’s champions look to bounce back as they host Arsenal at King Power Stadium live Saturday at 12:30pm E.T. on CNBC or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Foxes began their season with a disappointing loss on the road at newly promoted Hull City, a game which manager Claudio Ranieri said his side did not play with the same togetherness they showed last campaign.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via NBC Sports  ]

Since that result, Leicester received a pair of boosts, securing Riyad Mahrez on a brand new contract and finding Robert Huth available for a return following his three-match red card ban stemming from the end of last season. Still, with a poor pre-season and the Hull City result hanging over the club, last year’s success seems to be more of a distant memory than ever before.

Arsenal is facing adversity of their own, with a monstrous 4-3 defeat to Liverpool a disappointing start to the year. The Gunners controlled much of the match, but a short spell of lowered concentration bookending halftime saw the Reds take advantage and storm the inexperienced Arsenal defensive line. It’s possible for the trip to Leicester that manager Arsene Wenger will choose to risk French international Laurent Koscielny, who is still returning to fitness following the extended post-Euro break.

Others that could also be brought back ahead of schedule could include Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil. Alexis Sanchez started up top against Liverpool in Giroud’s place, with Alex Iwobi coming into the side on the wing. Iwobi looked dangerous, and Sanchez is always a threat from any position, but the setup still had a feeling of apprehension at times.


What they’re saying

Wenger on spending in the transfer window: “You are absolutely convinced that I do not want to spend the money, but I reassure you we are ready to spend the money. What I fight against is to think that the only way in football is to buy. To buy in itself is not a quality but to buy the good players is a quality, and I think this club has been built on that.”

Ranieri on new Mahrez contract: “We are now in the Champions League and we need something more to play against the big teams. Now he knows very well what I want and my expectations are higher. Not only for Riyad but for all my players.”

Prediction

Leicester City will need more to shake their substandard start. Arsenal looked leaky defensively, but the Gunners for the most part controlled the game against an energetic Liverpool squad, and it’s likely that will remain the case again. Leicester City will need to score against the run of play, something which teams have had success doing against Arsenal. The hosts will be boosted by the home fans, and that should lead them to push towards a 1-1 draw against a possession-heavy Arsenal.