High-flying Leicester City can increase the gap between themselves and fifth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League when the two teams meet at the King Power Stadium.
Group EPL The King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Key Stat: Leicester City have the best defence in the Premier League so far this season (conceded eight), while only Manchester City have scored more than their 27 goals.
Expert Verdict: Leicester City are flying high in third place and it could get even better this weekend given the top two meet on Sunday too. Whatever happens at Anfield, however, victory at home to Arsenal would put Leicester nine points clear of the Gunners and on the Foxes’ current form you would not bet against them.
Leicester’s only injury concern is the unfortunate Matt James, who once again has a long-term problem. The Foxes could be unchanged from the win at Crystal Palace.
Jamie Vardy – Scored twice in this fixture last season, while his prolific form this season has now seen him net ten times in 11 matches, including five in the last three.
Ayoze Perez – Hit a hat-trick in the stunning 9-0 win at Southampton and will be keen to kick on up front now for the Foxes.
Youri Tielemans – His signing was a big moment last season – the Foxes significant improvement since have highlighted the impact he has had, while has three goals this season too.
Leicester have won their last four consecutive matches – three in the Premier League and at Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup. Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez both hit hat-tricks in the record-breaking 9-0 win away to Southampton prior to that game, while Vardy and Caglar Soyuncu were the goalscorers as the Foxes beat Crystal Palace 2-0 last weekend.
Defenders:Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Ben Chilwell
Defensive Midfielders:Wilfried Ndidi, Youri Tielemans
Attacking Midfielders:Ayoze Perez, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes
Dani Ceballos picked up an injury in the Europa League draw with Vitoria in mid-week. After being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, Granit Xhaka could miss out this weekend too. Mesut Ozil returned last weekend and impressed, after much clamour from Gunners fans for him to be back involved.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Scored twice against Leicester last season, while his goal against Wolves last weekend was his eighth in the league this time out.
Alexandre Lacazette – Fit again up front and the Frenchman will be keen to rekindle what was a productive partnership with Aubameyang last season.
Nicholas Pepe – The Ivorian record signing was benched last weekend but Dani Ceballos’ injury could mean he slots back in with a point to prove this week.
Vitoria’s late equaliser in the Europa League clash on Wednesday was Arsenal’s fourth consecutive draw – a run which includes the crazy 5-5 draw in the Carabao Cup with Liverpool, which the Gunners lost on penalties. In the league, they failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead handed to them by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz as they drew with Crystal Palace, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal was cancelled out by Raul Jimenez last weekend.
Defenders:Calum Chambers, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney
Defensive Midfielders:Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi
Attacking Midfielders:Nicholas Pepe, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal actually beat Leicester twice during their title-winning season, as part of Leicester’s 13-game winless streak in this fixture. They have beaten them twice in their last three games, however, including a 3-0 win when they last met at the King Power Stadium. Arsenal had won the first meeting, at the Emirates, 3-1 – coming from behind after Hector Bellerin’s own goal. Mesut Ozil equalised and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice in the second-half. At Leicester, however, Youri Tielemans opened the scoring before Jamie Vardy’s late double fired the Foxes to victory.
Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Apr 28, 2019: Leicester City 3-0 Arsenal
Oct 22, 2018: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City
May 09, 2018: Leicester City 3-1 Arsenal
Aug 11, 2017: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City
Apr 26, 2017: Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City
Leicester have been in stunning form this season – with the joint-best defensive record and the second-best goalscoring stats in the Premier League so far.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have now won their last four in a row in all competitions and can open up a gap between themselves and Arsenal with a win on Saturday.
The Foxes have Jamie Vardy in fine goalscoring form, while the likes of Youri Tielemans, Caglar Soyuncu and James Maddison have provided quality throughout the team too.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have hit the buffers again – failing to hold leads far too regularly, leading to four consecutive draws in all competitions.
Granit Xhaka’s clash with the fans – and subsequent stripping of the Gunners’ captaincy – has summed up their problems.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s remains a key goalscorer, but the Gunners’ defensive woes should be a major concern as they prepare to come up against free-scoring Vardy and co.
The Foxes are favourites to win and with all the momentum they are carrying it is easy to see why.
Leicester City are favourites to beat Arsenal, which reflects the difference in form between the two. Bet365, Betway and 888sport are offering 21/20 on a home win.
With Leicester in good goalscoring form and the Gunners struggling defensively, you can get 4/7 from Bet365 on there being over 2.5 goals.
With ten in 11 appearances in the league this season, Jamie Vardy is the obvious goalscoring threat and he is a best price of 10/11 with 888sport to score at any time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is 7/5 for Arsenal.
Both teams to score has been set at 1/2 with Bet365, Ladbrokes and Betway.
Leicester have built some serious momentum, whereas Arsenal’s recent form has gone the other way. Jamie Vardy should be relishing the opportunity to get at the Gunners’ lacklustre defence.