The Premier League continues this weekend, as Leicester City travel to face Arsenal. The Gunners had a good opening weekend as they beat Crystal Palace away from home. It was a good marker for the club and shows how far they have come in 12 months. Last season, they opened their campaign with a loss by the same score line against Brentford. For Leicester, they draw in their first match of the season, despite leading Brentford by two goals. On the performances from the opening weekend, a home victory looks the most likely result this weekend.
Arsenal have had another summer of development under Mikel Arteta. The main characteristic added to the squad has been winning mentality. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus both joined from Manchester City. It is hoped that the pair will raise standards at the club and help the team compete at the top of the division. The opening weekend wasn’t perfect, as they did show some defensive vulnerability as the game developed. However, it was a pleasing result and it will give the Gunners confidence ahead of the campaign to come.
It has been a quiet summer for Leicester, as they are yet to make a senior first team signing, despite Brendan Rodgers suggesting that his squad needed a refresh. Kasper Schmeichel has left the club, which is a huge blow. The goalkeeper is a club legend and his departure will be felt around the dressing room. Danny Ward has been given a chance to prove that he is good enough to be number one. Supporters will be hoping that Wesley Fofana and James Maddison aren’t sold this summer with Chelsea and Newcastle being linked respectively. Both would be big losses for the club.
August has been a tricky month for Arsenal in recent seasons. They have lost six of their last 12 home matches in August.
Leicester only managed to keep a clean sheet away from home on one occasion last season. They have only kept one clean sheet in their last 26 away matches in the competition.
It has been an excellent 12 months for Bukayo Saka, as he has emerged as the talisman of the Arsenal attack. This season, his role may change after the addition of Gabriel Jesus. He may not be relied on as much, but it is likely to be beneficial for him. Saka should get more space to operate in and Jesus has proven himself to be an excellent player when linking the play. The pair should be able to link up effectively and Arsenal will benefit from that relationship this season. Last season, he contributed 11 goals and seven assists. It was a very good season, but Saka will have ambition to contribute higher numbers in the current campaign. The England international was unfortunate last weekend, as his strike was deflected in for Arsenal’s second goal. He hasn’t been credited with a goal, but he played the key role in it. Leicester have been poor defensively for a while now. Saka will be confident that he can make a big impact on Saturday.
There will be a time when Jamie Vardy regresses and isn’t able to impact matches like he has been known to. Perhaps, that will be this season. Leicester will be hoping that their talisman can have another strong season and fire them back into European competition. Last season, he contributed 15 goals and two assists in just 1806 minutes, with a goal involvement every 106.2 minutes. This underlines that he is still performing at a high level. Historically, he performs very well against Arsenal with 11 goals in 14 Premier League matches against the Gunners. They are the team that he performs best against and he will take plenty of confidence into the weekend. His pace and directness will cause problems for Arsenal’s defence. Although the Gunners kept a clean sheet during the opening weekend, there was a vulnerability to their back line. Vardy has the tools to cause them problems.
Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe are both doubts for the weekend. Kieran Tierney is pushing for a recall to the starting eleven, but Arteta is likely to keep faith with the defence that started last weekend.
Ricardo Pereira will be missing until February, which is a major blow for Leicester. Harvey Barnes is a couple of weeks away from a return to action.
This should be an exciting watch for the neutral. Although Leicester have had a disappointing summer, they still have a lot of talent to call upon. They will give Arsenal a good game at the weekend and they have the potential to get a positive result. That said, Arsenal looked well drilled last weekend and they will want to start their season at home with a win. They should have enough to get the three points on Saturday.
Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City