2015/16 EPL Champions Leicester City and runners-up Arsenal will hope to get their new campaign back on track at the King Power stadium on Saturday after slumping to opening day defeats to Hull City and Liverpool respectively.
The Gunners who were the only team to beat Leicester home and away last season are on a 19-match undefeated run against the Foxes in the Premier League (W13, D6). Leicester’s only victory in the last 31 league and cup meetings came at home in the first Premier League fixture between both sides in November 1994.
After going down 2-1 to EPL new comers Hull City last weekend, Claudio Ranieri’s men became the first reigning top-flight champions to lose their opening game since Arsenal in 1989. Arsenal who haven’t lost their opening two league games since the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93 were hammered 4-3 at the Emirates by Liverpool to mark a second straight season with a opening day defeat.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he may have to “gamble” on the fitness of Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, who all started pre-season late after Euro 2016. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi both face three weeks out because of respective hamstring and thigh injuries.
Robert Huth returns to the Leicester squad to face Arsenal on Saturday after completing his three-match ban. Jeff Schlupp remains available despite interest from West Brom.
Arsenal: W W W W L
Leicester City: D L L L L
Head to head – Last 5 clashes
Arsenal: W5 D0 L0
Liverpool: W0 D0 L0
An intense game of pace and skills is expected at the King Power stadium on Saturday with Musa and Riyad Mahrez running at the Arsenal defence to set things up for Jamie Vardy who will be up against a non cohesive pair of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding. The Foxes will also have to contend with the pace of Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain so I’m expecting both sides to get on the score sheet on this occassion.
Leicester City: ““We lost twice [to Arsenal last season] and we know it is a very good team with a good manager, but we are ready and we will try to do our best. We have to try and find the right solution to beat them.
“The big teams never lack in confidence. When you win you are more confident, but also we lost the first match.
“I watched Arsenal’s match. They played so well the first half. In the second half they have something strange and Liverpool scored three times, but after they came back it was a very good match. For this reason, when you play against big teams like Arsenal, you have to be very, very confident.” – Claudio Ranieri told the Foxes website.
Arsenal: ““Leicester did very well last year, but they lost their first game. There’s already a big a tension, and that is what you want. That is what the Premier League will be about this season. We know the way that we respond to disappointment will decide our season.
“We have gone through it (Liverpool defeat) [this week]. We watched the game, analysed it and then we go through it with the players. It is about always facing inconvenient facts and making sure the confidence is not damaged too much while still retaining the desire to do well in the next game. It is a process in three steps.” – Arsène Wenger on the Gunners’ official website.