Big Match Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City
Leicester City beat Manchester City to go five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League table. On Sunday, Arsenal plays host to the league leaders in an attempt to close down the gap.
In the early kick-off on Saturday, Riyad Mahrez scored a stunning goal while Robert Huth took care of business at both ends of the pitch. Sergio Aguero scored the consolation goal in the dying minutes for Manchester City. The Foxes dominated and won 3 – 1 at the Etihad.
Leicester’s opponents next weekend picked up three points at Bournemouth. Mesut Ozil opened the scoring for the Gunners while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added the second without much delay. The North Londoners have leapfrogged the Citizens and climbed up to the third spot.
All the pressure would be on Arsene Wenger as they face off against Leicester at the Emirates. The hosts can’t afford another slip-up if they want to catch Spurs and Leicester. Their victory over Bournemouth on Sunday was their first positive result in the league since January 2nd.
Out of their last six matches in all competitions, Arsenal has lost once and drawn thrice. Leicester, on the other hand, has won four, drawn one and lost one of their last six fixtures.
Arsenal won 2 – 5 when these two sides met at the King Power Stadium in September last year. Alexis Sanchez scored a hat-trick while Jamie Vardy’s brace failed to help his side.
Arsene Wenger is wary of the threat that the Leicester duo Vardy and Mahrez offer. According to the Frenchman, Mahrez is one of the most dominating players in the English top flight.
“Maybe Vardy is a bigger goalscoring threat, whereas Mahrez is the bigger threat creating chances,” he told reporters. “That’s why they are playing so well together.
“The amazing thing about Mahrez is that he not only creates a lot of chances but also scores plenty of goals. I didn’t know him when he was playing in Ligue 2, but now he is one of the dominating players in the Premier League, so they have done very well to scout him.”
“There is still a long way to go in the title race, but they are in a very strong position. They have silenced their doubters,” he remarked.
Wenger feels that the Foxes can certainly reach the promised land and prove their doubters wrong for umpteenth time this season.
“Many people said they would no longer be among the top teams by Christmas, but they are still there. They are very solid and got a great result against Manchester City.
“They still feel they have nothing to lose, but they are top of the league and nerves can start playing a role. There is pressure on Arsenal as well, but we see that as an opportunity to show what we can do.
“We have to focus on our own performances and find the momentum back. We cannot count on the results of Leicester. We beat them 5-2 in the reverse fixture, but they then returned to winning ways the following game.
“It is not about Leicester for us. We had not won for a while, so the win over Bournemouth was a big relief. We have to win a few games in a row again.”