Match Preview – Leicester City vs Arsenal (044)

Arsenal will look to extend their lead over Manchester City at the top of the table with a win on the road at Leicester. Arteta’s men found their feet again after a string of frustrating results with a convincing 4 – 2 victory over Aston Villa, featuring a goal from Saka, Zinchenko’s first goal in the Premier League, former Gunner Emi Martínez scoring an own goal and Martinelli putting the ball in the back off the net in the 98th minute to secure the three points. 

Arsenal have enjoyed several successes at the King Power Stadium, with three successive wins over the last few seasons, and Leicester have only won three of their eleven games at home this season; and only one since October. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, we won 4 – 2 with Jesus scoring a brace, and Xhaka and Martinelli scoring one each too.

In regards to injuries, Arteta has announced that Partey may be available, probably from the bench, as the Ghanaian has missed the last two games with a thigh injury. Gabriel Jesus will be unavailable although he is managing outdoor training now following a knee injury he picked up playing for Brazil at the World Cup. Emile Smith Rowe will probably find a place on the bench, hopefully we will see a cameo from him as he returns from injury.

My predicted lineup:

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – No goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets on the road this season that Ramsdale (7). He has been putting in some shifts for us recently, although some errors have resulted in us conceding. That said, he has made some show stopping saves and we would not be as threatening without his ball distribution from the back.

RB: Ben White – Despite a bit of a messy first half, White linked up beautifully with Saka in the second half of the Aston Villa game to keep the momentum going and has put in shift after shift at the back for us this season. Tomi is a good backup but would never displace White at his best.

CB: William Saliba – Saliba’s form is starting to pick up again after a bit of a dip following the World Cup. He consistently defends well and often makes the last man tackle to save Ramsdale from having to make a save.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – Mr Reliable. Rarely has a bad game despite some mistakes, he always manages to redeem himself and is vital to our back four. He times challenges to perfection and is an amazing team player.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – After scoring against Aston Villa, Zinny is undroppable. No, he isn’t the best defensively and in those kind of games where we need to sit back and defend Tierney is the man for the job. His unique position sees him play as both a defensive and attacking midfielder, in the defensive position. He is vital to our build up.

CM: Jorginho – Jorginho’s signing for Chelsea received mixed responses. He has definitely stepped up to the play with Partey’s injury and proved any doubters wrong. He is a fantastic back up and a great option to have off the bench to spice things up when the pace drops. Hopefully we will see a lot of him even after Partey returns from injury.

CM: Granit Xhaka – Xhaka is another essential player to this season’s success. Ødegaard’s deputy, he rattles the rivals and his new style of play this season has really elevated the quality of football that we play. 

AM: Martin Ødegaard – Ødegaard is undeniably having the best season of his career; scoring game changing goals and setting up beautiful assists, he has really stepped into the captain’s role and is proving anyone wrong who doubted that he was the right person for the captaincy. Last game he had 7 key passes which shows just how important he is.

RW: Bukayo Saka – Starboy Saka scored our first goal against Aston Villa last week and it wouldn’t be a Premier League game without him on the right. His form is incredible and with a new contract in the works, it looks like Arsenal’s future is in safe hands. 

ST: Eddie Nketiah – Eddie has done well to come and replace Jesus through injury, however his form is starting to dip. He failed to score against Aston Villa despite having opportunities handed to him on a plate, but he is an amazing player and will hopefully find some form again in this fixture. 

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – Martinelli found himself displaced from the starting XI by star signing Trossard. He came off the bench to score a beautiful goal where he went alone and he works tirelessly every game to make an impact. 

Written by: Abby Goodson (@_abbygoodson)

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