Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City

Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City

Arsenal will aim to consolidate their hold on fourth spot in the Premier League table when Leicester City visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Mikel Arteta’s side survived a scare to overcome Watford 3-2 last time out, while the Foxes arrive having claimed a 2-0 advantage in the first leg of their Europa Conference League last-16 tie with Rennes.

The goal of the day award may have been deservedly claimed by Watford’s Cucho Hernandez, but Arsenal’s young prospects came up with three eye-catching strikes of their own to propel themselves into fourth place after a five-goal thriller at Vicarage Road.

Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli all came up with the goods for the Gunners – who held on after a nervy few moments following Moussa Sissoko’s finish – and a spot in the Champions League is now Arsenal’s to lose.

The Gunners remain in fourth place at the time of writing but will likely have dropped down a place before kickoff with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur facing off on Saturday, but knowing that at least one of their top-four rivals will drop points can only be a good thing.

Written off by many in the top-four race before the season began, Arsenal have now strung together a four-game winning streak in the Premier League – averaging two goals per game in that stretch – but Arteta was less than happy after the Watford win as his side once again won by just a one-goal margin.

Not since the Boxing Day thumping of Norwich City have Arsenal won by more, but a tally of 25 points from their last 10 games is the joint-highest in the league behind Manchester City, and only the champions and Liverpool have performed better at home than the optimistic Gunners this term.

Things may finally be looking up for this patchy Leicester City side, who followed up their 1-0 victory over Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United with a professional showing in the Conference League against Rennes at the King Power.

Marc Albrighton struck first for the Foxes on the 30-minute mark before substitute Kelechi Iheanacho made sure of the result in the last knockings of the encounter, with Brendan Rodgers’s side now boasting a healthy advantage before their journey to Roazhon Park.

Also stringing together a four-game winning run ahead of this game – in all competitions rather than the Premier League – Leicester have a top-half finish firmly in their sights and currently occupy 12th spot, just two points behind 10th-placed Southampton with three games in hand.

Failure to collect silverware or qualify for Europe will no doubt go down as a disappointing season for an injury-hit Leicester, who have won just one of their last seven top-flight matches away from home and may seek to prioritise European success amid their dismal domestic fortunes.

Rodgers did steer his side to a 1-0 win at the Emirates last term, but Arsenal prevailed 2-0 at the King Power back in October – thanks in no small part to the heroics of Aaron Ramsdale – and the absence of Arsenal’s nemesis Jamie Vardy will play right into the hosts’ hands.

Arsenal Premier League form:
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Arsenal form (all competitions):
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Leicester City Premier League form:
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Leicester City form (all competitions):
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We say: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester City
Leicester could very well have conceded at least one or two to Leeds on another day, and a fatigued Foxes without Vardy facing his favourite opponent cannot expect much at the fortress that is the Emirates.

Smith Rowe’s expected return will only add to Arsenal’s cutting edge – not that they needed it against Watford – and Arteta’s in-form crop should prevail with minimal difficulty.

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