Mikel Arteta

Arsenal - Leicester City preview
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal – Leicester City preview: How to watch, start time, stream, odds, prediction

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Arsenal – Leicester City presents a litmus test for two big names seeking to put a stamp on young tenures at Premier League clubs.

Mikel Arteta and Brendan Rodgers match wits at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday with pivotal table positioning on the line (Watch live at 3:15pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Leicester’s 58 points are good enough for third place but a tepid run-of-form saw the side slip from a virtual guaranteed spot in the Champions League to a possible Europa League competitor.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Arsenal meanwhile has driven itself into eighth place after a very poor start to the season, its 49 points six points behind fifth-place Manchester United and nine behind the visiting Foxes.

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers signed a new deal with Leicester despite being linked with the Arsenal job before Arteta took the reins in North London.

Team news

Leicester is waiting on two key pieces. James Maddison has been out and there’s guarantee he’ll return, while Ben Chilwell joined the walking wounded in the Foxes’ 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace.

Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi remain on the outside-looking-in for Arsenal.

What they’re saying

Leicester forward Ayoze Perez on chasing the UCL“We need to make sure we protect what we’ve done so far and we can celebrate something important for us. (Manchester United on the last day) could be like a final you know. We’ll see. Football is not predictable at all. We’ve still got a couple of tough games to play. Hopefully by then we are already qualified. It would mean a lot (to qualify). I’ve not made my debut in the Champions League and It’s something you dream for always. The way we’ve done it, and for Leicester, it could mean a lot. It’s not done yet.”

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal’s Champions League hopes“I think we have to win every game and then wait and pray. It’s not about a game, we need to go game-by-game. A few weeks ago we were really far from thinking about Europe and we are a little bit closer at the moment so lets go game by game and see where that takes us.”

Odds and ends (full matchweek odds)

Arsenal is favored to win at +125 compared to Leicester’s +220, via DraftKings. A draw goes for +245.

Jamie Vardy and James Maddison scored in a 2-0 Leicester win over the Gunners at the King Power Stadium earlier this season.

Arsenal – Leicester City Prediction

Leicester could handle the loss of Chilwell but the absence of Maddison has been notable even in the win over Palace. Both teams have tremendous creators and Youri Tielemans has been wonderful for Leicester, but Arsenal have a bit more and the Foxes do have the injury issues even if both of their ailing stars can go. Arsenal 2-0.

How to watch Arsenal – Leicester City stream, start time

Kickoff: 3:15 pm ET Tuesday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Arteta: Arsenal success relies on defensive solidity, togetherness

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Gritty, boring Arsenal? Gritty, boring Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta has Arsenal grinding in the right direction as they recorded their most important win of the season so far, securing a 2-0 victory at Champions League chasing Wolves.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal kept a third-straight clean sheet as a third-straight win propelled them into the Champions League race in the Premier League. This run marks the first time since November 2017 they’ve won three-straight Premier League games without conceding a goal.

Speaking to reporters via Zoom from Molineux after the win — their first on the road against a team above them since September 2015 — ProSoccerTalk asked Arteta how important these improved defensive displays are to what he’s trying to achieve.

“You can see all of the teams that are in the title race and wins championships, the amount of clean sheets needed in order to do that,” Arteta said. “The more we improve here, the more solid we are, the more chances we have to win football games. It is simple. Obviously we have a lot of things to improve in our attacking patterns, the way we used the spaces, the overloads, but that we will come. But it comes down to 11 players defending the ball every time the ball is at the opponents feet.”

Arsenal have Leicester, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Watford left to play and the Gunners know they probably have to win four of those five to have any chance of sneaking into fifth place in the table and secure a possible Champions League berth.

With players returning from injury all the time, Arteta now has a host of options and has rotated players across just about every position. It is clear that under Arteta, any Arsenal player not willing to put in a shift and do the defensive work first will not be in his team.

That should keep this Arsenal side fresh and even though the future’s of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette remain unclear, teenage sensations Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have signed long-term contracts and we can see the direction Arsenal are heading in.

Saka, 18, finished his dream work in dream fashion as he scored his first Premier League goal despite having a tough time defensively. Arteta praised him for working hard and battling through some tactical problems, while after the game Saka said the Arsenal players now feel ‘more together’ than before.

Does Arteta agree with that?

“To be fair, since I’ve joined I have seen some really good things,” Arteta told ProSoccerTalk. “About how they treat each other and how much they enjoyed being together. I think they understand more what we are looking for from them, what we expect from them. This brings the team together. When you suffer together and you see your teammate giving absolutely everything for you, if someone makes a mistake, the other one puts it right, it makes you feel proud of where you are. That is slowly what we have to try to evolve and get better and then do it in a very consistent way.”

Even if they don’t qualify for the Champions League this season, they are heading in the right direction. They have a plan and Arteta is putting the building blocks in place.

That plan starts with defense and Arteta is addressing the key problem which has held the Gunners back for at least the last five seasons. Finally. Gritty, boring Arsenal, indeed.

Arteta praises Xhaka; Manager, Aubameyang talk contract

Aubameyang contract
Photo by Mike Egerton/Pool via Getty Images
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There was a time not too long ago that Granit Xhaka looked set for any club but Arsenal.

The Swiss midfielder had to turn in his captain’s armband after reacting poorly to fan jeers, and the 27-year-old missed three-straight matches.

Mikel Arteta saw something in the midfielder, who had been pivotal to Unai Emery’s plans before the coaching change and incident versus Palace, and implored him to reject Hertha Berlin and Newcastle United interest during the January transfer window.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Xhaka did just that and has become pivotal to Arsenal’s season resurgence. Arteta explained what he loves about the midfielder, who received the captain’s armband from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the striker subbed out of Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat of Norwich City.

From Football.London:

“His commitment goes beyond anything normal. He’s a great example the way he lives this possession. I’m really happy we convinced him to stay and learn from the mistake he made.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

So it would appear Xhaka’s future is secure and Bukayo Saka has signed a new deal.

Now what about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

“I’m really happy that Bukayo signed,” Aubameyang said after his two-goal game moved him into a tie for the Golden Boot race lead. “We’ll see. We’ll talk with the club and see what happens. I’m really focused on the games. Since Mikel is in we’re doing well. We’re working well. We have signs we’re improving.”

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Arteta says he’s leaving Aubameyang’s fate to the board of directors, though the Spaniard has long underlined the striker’s importance.

“The way he works every day he decided to get better,” Arteta said. “Hopefully he’s here for longer. He can see what we are trying to do and hopefully he can evolve.”

He later added, “Auba knows really well my thoughts towards him, the project I want to create and that I want him in that. I am positive and I will remain positive but things have to progress.”

Arteta has message for Bukayo Saka

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Mikel Arteta has a message for Bukayo Saka, as the Arsenal teenager dazzled in the 2-0 win at Southampton.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Saka, 18, is out of contract next summer and has been in negotiations with the north London club for many months over a new deal.

ProSoccerTalk asked Arteta via Zoom after the game what he made of Saka’s display and his contract situation.

“It is in his hands. He has a manager that has total belief in him. He has a club that really supports him,” Arteta said. “He has teammates who adore him for who he is. He is such a nice boy. He is so intelligent and he is so willing to learn. We know he is eager to be the best and he trains to be the best every day.

“You can put him in different positions and he picks it up really quickly. The decisions he makes, if he takes risks I think he produces three goals today easily. The maturity he shows on the pitch is really good.”

Saka was sublime on the ball and in defense as the young winger is now back in his natural position after playing at left back for most of his debut season in the Premier League due to a host of Arsenal injuries.

His calmness on the ball, work rate, quality in possession and positioning is just sublime and he covers so much ground down the left flank.

Arsenal and Arteta clearly want Saka to stay but does the Arsenal academy product want to remain at the Emirates Stadium? He has some of the biggest clubs in the world trying to sign him and his previous message was that he will just let his agent get on with things and he will play as best as he can week in, week out.

Each week Saka plays like this, he and his agent are in an even stronger position to ask for a bumper contract.

Arsenal’s Arteta on David Luiz red card, contract

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Mikel Arteta did not hold back when it came to the disastrous day of substitute David Luiz in Arsenal’s 3-0 loss at Man City.

[ RECAP: Man City 3-0 Arsenal ]

Luiz failed to clear a cross on City’s opening goal and conceded a penalty and took a red card to present the hosts with their second.

Arteta did not expect to use Luiz given the player’s fitness. Now he won’t have to for some time as Arsenal figures out whether the 33-year-old will be back in a Gunners shirt.

[ MORE: Sterling on goal, Black Lives Matter tributes ]

Luiz signed a one-year deal with the Gunners last summer and his contract expires on June 30.

From Football.London:

“I don’t know what will happen with his contract. I know what happened today, I know the way David reacted, as a player and as a person as well he can handle the situation. There was a reason why I didn’t select him from the start and he had to play because Pablo got injured. He’s always going to try to give you his best for the condition that he’s at and he’s tried again. It didn’t work out for him or the team but that’s it.”

Arteta also said Mesut Ozil’s absence from the 20-man roster was “tactical.”

Luiz took all the blame for the loss, and also said he should’ve made a move regarding his contract status before now.

There are just 13 days left on his deal.

“It’s my fault and that’s it,” he said. “It’s not the team’s fault. It’s my fault. I took the decision to play. I should take another decision the last two months and I didn’t. The team did well, especially with the 10 men. The coach is amazing. The players did amazing. It’s just my fault.”

He said he’d like to stay at Arsenal beyond June 30, something Arteta said he wanted before the match. Who knows if Wednesday changed anything?

“I love to be here. That’s why I continue to train hard… I want to stay. The coach knows and the coach wants me to say and we are waiting for the disease.”