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MATCH PREVIEW: Arsenal Face Leicester in Home Opener

Arsenal kicked off the 30th Premier League season with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. While it was not the most convincing of performances, especially in the second half, the Gunners showed that they won’t be an easy mark against sides that wish to ‘out-muscle’ their opponents. It must be said that Selhurst Park is arguably the most difficult away fixture outside the Top 6, so it was a tricky fixture to start the season, but the first 45 minutes were electric and showed just what this team is capable of.

William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, and Oleksandr Zinchenko each made their competitive debut’s for Arsenal with Saliba putting in a standout defensive performance and deservedly winning Man of the Match. If what we saw in the first match of the season is any indication, we have a world class defender on our hands.

The pressing and relentlessness of the Arsenal front three was extremely evident in this match, and a welcome change to what we saw near the tail end of last season. Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have clearly developed a quick chemistry and their pressing was causing plenty of headaches for the Palace defense. Lets hope that is a sign of what is to come against Leicester.

Arsenal have been linked to Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans for months, and his desire to join Arsenal this window has been well documented. It will be interesting to see how Brenden Rodgers handles this situation and whether he chooses to still play the Tielemans. This is a very Alex Oxlade-Chamberlein-esque situation, so lets hope that Arsenal will be on the other side of the transfer saga this time around.

About the Visitors

The foxes had a difficult night at home, hosting Brentford in their opening match. While they did go to half time with a goals after a well worked corner routine, they didn’t cover themselves in glory, banking on Brentford’s forwards not being up to the task.

Setting up in a spring loaded 3511, Leicester looks to keep their own goal on lock before handling it in the other end. Unfortunately for them, they look much more dangerous on the ball than without it, having a hard time keeping tabs on the bees front line runs. What did work for them, though, was when they managed to set Brentford deep enough to create space for their midfield to distribute wide. These were the situations they were the most dangerous.

When attacking, Brendan Rodgers has tried to keep the buildup simple, looking for either of the three advancing midfielders to receive and find runners wide. With both Castagne and Justin being dangerous in crossing opportunities, Leicester can afford to only throw a couple of men into the box to hit. Should the opposition flatten their backline to deny space out wide, the foxes will gladly take pot shots outside the area. It does also look like Brendan Rodgers has been drilling the team into some new set piece gimmicks, which I’d enjoy Arsenal not test out.

When defending, Leicester would much rather have the starting position be as close to the opposite goal as possible. With Ndidi, the three central defenders switch between a more compact 3-1, when dealing with a possible second ball snatch and a directly flat 4 for wide runners. In both situations, the emphasis is on retaining possession as fast as possible and setting the tempo. Should they be pushed back, Leicester looks to drop far into a low block, trying to funnel play into wide areas and keep it beyond the 18 yard box with a flat 5/6 line. There’s some slight issues with the space given in between the defensive and the midfield block, which gave the foxes a slight scare on multiple occasions, as a defender lost their marker when stepping up to block and oncoming player.

When defending against Leicester, Arsenal should keep their foot planted solidly in Leicester’s soil, forcing Leicester to bypass their midfield. While there’s a mismatch between the 433 Arsenal play and the 3511 Leicester play, Arsenal do have players able to simulate a wingback formation, and take away Leicester’s wide advantage. Should the gunners find themselves in a low block, there should be focus on keeping tabs on runners into the box. There’s plenty of playmaking talent available inside the foxes first 11 so rather than zonally defend an area, keep the hand inside the pocket of the forward runners.

When attacking Leicester, Arteta should instruct his players to use the space in between the flat backline and the central midfield line to cover diagonal passes behind the defense. In particular, Arsenal could very well use their newly found left sided triangle to abuse Fofanas lack of scanning to slip in Martinelli on goal.

What the Manager Says (courtesy

Arsenal Record vs Opponent (League only)

19 W 8 D 5 L

Goals Scored (Season Average)

Arsenal: 2

Leicester City: 2

Goals Conceded (Season Average)

Arsenal: 0

Leicester City: 2

xG per Match (via

Arsenal: 1.00

Leicester City: 0.6

Match Officials

Referee: Darren England

Assistants: James Mainwaring, Wade Smith

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR: Mike Dean

Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton

Match Facts (courtesy

  • Arsenal have won their past three Premier League matches against Leicester City, scoring seven goals and conceding just one. The Gunners last had four consecutive league victories over the Foxes between February 1999 and December 2000.

  • Leicester have won just one of their previous 25 away league matches against Arsenal (D4 L20), a 1-0 win in October 2020. The Foxes have lost more away top-flight matches against the Gunners than against any other side (35).

  • Arsenal have lost six of their past 12 Premier League home games in August (W4 D2); before this run, the Gunners had won 15 of their previous 16 home August matches.

  • Leicester have kept one clean sheet in their previous 26 away Premier League matches, doing so in a 2-0 win at Burnley last March. They haven’t kept a clean sheet on the road against a current top-flight side since February 2021, a goalless draw at Wolves.

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