Happiness in the Gunners’ camp as Arsenal top the table once again with 2 points lead. But a bad trip to the East Midlands might turn into a mood-slayer, as Leicester City hosts Arsenal for a weekend clash.
Arsenal with their heads held high after a great comeback against the Villans, ending it 4-2 from an upsetting 1-2 score. Whereas, Leicester returns from a forgetful defeat at Old Trafford. Both teams, having acquired a well one-week rest, will be ready for matchday 25. Arsenal would be looking to expand the lead to 5 points just to be on the safer side.
With Europa League fixtures ahead, they will surely try to have as much as cushion needed for the top position sleep. Leicester, lately, has started to pick up a good run of form, only for it to be disturbed by Man Utd. Rodgers will try to keep the players motivated ahead of the clash. Leicester direly needs points on the table as they are just 4 ahead of the 18th position West Ham.
Leicester’s PL form: L W W D L
Arsenal’s PL form: W L D L W
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: King Power Stadium, Leicester.
When: Saturday, 25th February 2023.
Time: 8:30 IST / 3:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistants: Marc Perry, Scott Ledger.
Fourth official: Robert Jones.
VAR: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant VAR: Lee Betts.
Leicester might register a major absentee, James Maddison. The star player is still not fully fit due to knee injury issue and will be assessed prior to the game. Alongside him, defenders Ryan Bertrand and Jonny Evans are out due to knee and thigh injuries, respectively.
Arsenal too, would be looking out for Thomas Partey as he is still in doubt for the fixture. Arteta will be optimistic till the dying hours. Emile Smith Rowe will be available for the fixture providing a much-needed depth to the mid, still the chances of him getting featured might be slim. Tomiyasu will be assessed at the last hour as well. Gabriel Jesus and Elneny being the long-term absentee, taking time to recover.
Brendon Rodgers starts the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation with James Maddison in the crucial #10 role. During the game, the team maintains a 4-2-4 sort of shape with Maddison joining the attack with Iheanacho. Rodgers has made this team very adaptive, lately. They started the season poorly but have been seen gaining control. Still 14th on the table is not expected from Leicester. This match would be an important one, but James on the verge of missing it, paves the way for Tielemans to start in the mid after being fully recovered.
Meanwhile, Arteta will try to keep it simple with minimal to no changes. A solid 4-3-3 formation. Partey might be available, but Jorginho has fit into the system just like that. No doubt if he starts the match. Arsenal will easily dominate the mid, with the likes of Ode, Xhaka, Jorginho, where the game will be decisive. Saka in good shape will surely cause trouble down the right flank. Tomiyasu in doubt, so White might get the start, solidifying the back 3, when Zinchenko inverts into the mid. With the Gunners dominating, the Foxes will have to play a reactionary game.
Leicester has only managed to win 11 points in their 12 home games this season. On the other hand, Arsenal is the team with most away wins. Statistically, things are not looking good for the hosts.
Surely, Maddison has a lion’s share in this team’s performance. But him being on the verge of not playing in the fixture, our player to watch out for would be Tielemans. Arsenal’s urge of adding him to their arsenal, in this summer transfer window, must be enough to prove the quality of the Belgian mid-fielder. Hoping that he brings the calmness to the Leicester game and make things hard for Arsenal. Are we in for a Youri masterclass? Let the time decide.
Of course, Saka! The hottest thing in London right now. The generational player has shown how decisive his play is. Like the Panic! at the Disco, “had to have high, high hopes”. The London Boy, did not fail to get on the scoresheet last week, tallying his goals to 9 this season. Starting 23/23 games states how important he is for Arteta. Look out for this guy.
Leicester City predicted lineups vs Arsenal: Ward; Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen; Mendy, Tielemans; Tete, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Iheanacho.
Arsenal predicted lineups vs Leicester City: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Jorginho, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.