By Bulldog Drummond
Arsenal still have the third-best defence in the league – just one goal more than Chelsea conceded this season. We have conceded one fewer goal than Leicester.
However, in terms of attack, we are 11th in the League, having scored 13 fewer goals than Leicester.
Leicester have scored 19 and conceded 16 at home while Arsenal have scored 12 and conceded 15 away – which all makes it look like a Leicester win is on the cards. It all looks like Arsenal will have to rise up to heights not seen for a while.
So what makes me think they might?
Leicester’s defeat in the Europa League might just have an effect on their confidence. The media have been talking them up endlessly, and that will be giving them confidence, especially as they see the way some Arsenal commentators have been knocking their team. But the media felt they would be ok in Europe too…
Since winning the Premier League for their one and only time, Leicester have come 12th, ninth (twice) and fifth, and have just gone out in the round of 32 in the Europa League. So they are very anxious to live up to the new status bestowed on them previously by the media. They haven’t quite got to the stage of “Fourth is not a trophy” but the knock out in the round of 32 would not have been expected having got to the quarter finals of the Champions League after their one title win.
They are the fourth-best attacking team and fifth-best defending team in the league, and the only thing that stands against them could be PGMO who might be minded to deal with Leicester’s unique tactics. This relates to their tackling and the getting of penalties, which we have looked at before. If the PGMO step in, Leicester will have a problem. If not, they will make the top four certainly.
However five of Leicester’s six Premier League defeats this season have come at home, so maybe, just maybe…. But we have to recognise that Arsenal have failed to score in ten league matches this season. Only once previously, in 2005-06, have they failed to score more often in a Premier League 38 season.
But if Aubameyang plays we will all be hoping that only one of Aubameyang’s last 18 Premier League goals was scored outside of London. That was last November, so it is time for him to brighten up away from home.
So, to the teams.
We know that Leicester City will be without James Maddison for this game along with Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet, Wes Morgan, and James Justin
The Short Fuse have the headline that it is Arsenal v Leicester, so I think we’ll hold on that.
The Standard predict a draw and say that Holding will be fit to play, but that seems unlikely if he had concussion.
Sports Mole offer us
Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney;
Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe;
BT Sport tell us that “The team lineups will be available an hour before kick-off. Check back then to see who’s playing,” which is appallingly feeble given that they are showing the game on TV, yet can’t even be arsed to make a team prediction.
On Twitter, Orbinho tells us that “If Bukayo Saka plays against Leicester on Sunday, he will be the second youngest Arsenal player to reach 50 Premier League appearances for the club: Fàbregas 18y 236d, Saka19y 176d, Walcott 19y 224d, Anelka 19y 301d, Oxlade-Chamberlain 20y 213d, Guendouzi 20y 259d
The Sun has got an article on the subject of the teams on page 2 of a Google search, but it includes Maitland Niles so I suspect they are just re-promoting an old article so it’s all getting a bit difficult to find line ups.
Extratime go down the same route as the line up above but with added first names. The Guardian came in very late with their line up and didn’t even bother to mention the match on their main football headline page, but here it is…
Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney,
Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe,
Enough the teams: the match is up next.
Footnote: You may have heard that there is considerable dismay among Arsenal Silver Members, and members of at least one of the major supporters’ groups over the way Arsenal is claiming to have consulted over the way Silver Members are being treated. Untold is fully aware of this, and once the game is over we’ll be publishing our forthright views on the club’s treatment of its fans.
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