This week the boys have been preparing to play our first home game of the season after kicking off the campaign successfully away to Crystal Palace. This game promises to be an interesting one as we can expect Leicester to feature our current target Youri Tielemans, made even more important with the fact that Leicester announced on Thursday that “they are aware Tielemans has no plans to sign an extension” and as a result, they are willing to let him go for around £25 million.
On Sunday, Leicester drew 2-2 with Brentford, so this game will be important for us to continue our trajectory before Leicester have really been given a chance to get going this season. In Friday’s game, we had three key players missing; Tomiyasu, Emile Smith-Rowe and Vieira. We may see these three feature on the weekend, although this game may come too early for Vieira. We also saw Kieran Tierney make a return in the 83rd minute, replacing our new signing Zinchenko who seemed to be struggling towards the end of the match. The toss up as to who will start between White and Tomiyasu will be interesting. It would be interesting to get a first glance at a potential pairing between Saliba and Tomiyasu, but, again, I don’t think he will see out the whole match in the eventuality that he does start.
I think we will play a 4-2-3-1 formation like the game against Palace. So, here we have it, my predicted starting lineup.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – following quite the uncharacteristically chaotic performance last week, we can hope to see Ramsdale returning today with some much-deserved confidence after he successfully kept the clean sheet.
RB: Ben White – White put in an amazing defensive performance last week, keeping Zaha in his back pocket for the majority of the match, although I think this was overlooked due to Saliba’s sensational start. I think he will start ahead of Tomiyasu but will be subbed off in the closing stages of the match to allow Tomiyasu to run up some minutes and ease back in to the first team.
CB: William Saliba – put in an amazing performance on his debut and sending the fans wild, his partner Gabriel even hailed him as ‘the best’ following his performance.
CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – another solid player from the Palace game who really stepped up at the end of last season following Tierney and Tomiyasu’s injuries.
LB: Kieran Tierney – After his return last match, I think Arteta will be desperate to get Tierney back onto the pitch, especially as we saw Zinchenko struggling at the end. I am doubtful he will play the whole 90 mins and expect to see a substitution between 45 – 60 minutes. Tierney will be vital to building up the game play and starting runs which ultimately result in the ball in Leicester’s box.
CM: Thomas Partey
CM: Granit Xhaka – the former captain declared this week that “Arteta is the reason why I’m still at this football club.” He has been vital to Arsenal over the last few years, despite his tendency to pick up red cards, he is very progressive on the ball and only scores worldies.
AM: Martin Ødegaard – the recently-appointed club captain had a shaky start to the season, but I fully expect him to come out and prove that that was just a blip and he will be back on his usual incredible form, putting our minds at ease about the dreaded Captain’s Curse.
RW: Bukayo Saka – having to settle for forcing an own goal from Marc Guéhi, this game may see Saka open his scoring for the season, particularly if his England partner Emile Smith-Rowe features during this game
ST: Gabriel Jesus – during his time at City, Jesus can boast a 100% success rate against Leicester, encouraging us that he too may score his first Premier League goal for Arsenal in this fixture.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – Martinelli scored his first goal of the 22/23 season against Palace, but it will be interesting to see if he can continue his success into this next game. I think we may see a late substitution of Martinelli for Smith-Rowe to get him some game time.
Leicester’s activity in this transfer window has been practically non-existent, with largely the same team that ended the 21/22 season starting the 22/23 season. However, it is worth noting that Leicester only picked up 4 victories away from home last season, including a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates in March. Their defence will certainly be a weakness as it hasn’t developed, and we saw their frailty at the back when they conceded a 2-0 lead against Brentford last week. It appears that their inability to retain a lead, a problem which they faced massively last season, has come again to rear its ugly head. Leicester also don’t have the best record in coming from behind to win all three points. With this in mind, it will be important to take an early lead and keep putting pressure on Tielemans, Vardy, and Maddison. If our back four have even half the game they did last week, I think this will be largely successful, and we now have the squad depth to make changes if this isn’t the case. Fofana will have his work cut out for him up against Bukayo Saka, as well as having Ødegaard largely down that left hand side, additionally having Jesus to think about as him and Saka have formed a solid partnership.
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson