In midweek, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will host Leicester City following a demoralizing derby day setback at White Hart Lane. A tense North London affair saw Arsenal open the scoring inside the opening ten minutes via a well-placed Mesut Ozil volley. But they quickly found themselves pinned back in their own half by a resurgent home side that launched attack after attack and eventually netted a well-deserved equalizer through that man Harry Kane who’s already having his best season so far. Harry Kane would also rise above Arsenal’s back four to head his second and the clincher with less than five minutes on the clock pushing Arsenal down to sixth on the table. Arsenal though, usually strong at the Emirates should be aiming to put the defeat aside and focus on getting maximum points from this clash against rock-bottom Leicester to reinstate themselves in the push for a place in the coveted top four.
Leicester City will travel south to London after a string of unimpressive results that has kept them at the foot of the table for weeks. Pearson led the Foxes to the Championship title last season, but his team picked up just 17 points from their opening 24 matches of the current campaign, leading to speculation about his future as manager. With all the rumours rife, Leicester have made it harder for themselves to get a positive result on Tuesday.
When the two sides met earlier at the King Power stadium, the Foxes were more resilient and ground out an impressive 1-1 draw with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Leonardo Ulloa who could have a decisive impact on Tuesday, if involved.
Arsenal are suffering from a good number of injuries in their squad with the likes of Oxlade Chamberlain (groin), Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Mikel Arteta (ankle/foot) and Debuchy certain to miss the midweek fixture while talisman Alexis Sanchez could make a much needed return to the match-day squad after the midfielder missed out on the North London derby owing to a hamstring problem.
Leicester City are thought to have no fresh injury concerns meaning Leicester could name an unchanged squad for their trip to the Emirates. Wood (ankle) and Kasper Schmeichel (metatarsal) are the only absentees with the former set to return after the international break.
- The last time the two sides met in London, Arsenal had to come back from a goal down to beat Leicester City 2-1 with goals from Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera at the much revered Highbury stadium.
- Out of the 11 games played at the Emirates, Arsenal have managed to get 24 points (24/33) losing only once in the process to Manchester United.
- Leicester City have been struggling on the road with 9 losses from 12 games conceding at the rate of 1.75 goals/match.
- The foxes have scored just 4 goals in their last 5 games in all competitions.
Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
After a record transfer from Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil walked into Arsenal football club with a lot of expectations surrounding his name, with him being a genuine world class play-maker any side would want to have in their ranks. A mixed first season was plagued by inconsistencies and injuries unfortunately, however, the German was tipped to set the league alight with his performances this season but that has not been the case for the Gunners after another injury (which saw him tweeting from his home while his side was craving for a piece of magic in the final third). Now that he’s back, the side looks a lot better from an attacking perspective, as the midfielder has already scored 3 goals and set up 2 more in 9 appearances with a fantastic passing accuracy of 87%, testament to his quality. He’s been clinical in front of goal as well with 3 of his 5 shots on target finding the net, making him the main man that could get his side that much needed 3 points come Tuesday before the next round of FA Cup fixtures.
Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City
The Algerian midfielder has been one of the mainstays in the current Leicester City side with his consistent displays on the pitch that has seen him get 2 goals to his name in 17 appearances. He has also managed to create 26 chances from open play including 3 assists. Mahrez’s work at the back often goes unnoticed with his diligent work ethic playing a vital role in breaking down the opposition attacks to launch one of their own against the run of play. The 24-year old has already made 21 interceptions and 10 clearances making him an invaluable asset at both ends of the pitch. His pace down the flanks and the ability to cut inside and open up spaces in the attacking third could prove vital to the away side’s chances of getting something out of this fixture.
Arsenal to do what they do best: comprehensively beat lesser sides at home.