Arsenal return from Portugal to travel to high-flying Leicester City in an important Premier League game this weekend.
The Foxes are third in the table, six points ahead of us, making this a game we cannot afford to lose, and quite frankly, one we need to win.
We have thrown away leads in each of our past four games in all competitions to end up draw. Our latest was in stoppage time to Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on Wednesday.
Dani Ceballos has been ruled out of Saturday’s game with a left hamstring injury sustained early in the second half at Vitoria SC midweek. Unai Emery otherwise has a fully fit squad to pick from.
Unai Emery rotated the squad midweek, keeping our key players fresh for this weekend’s important fixture. Bernd Leno will be back between the sticks and David Luiz will come back into the starting lineup to partner Sokratis in the middle of our defence. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney will get forward from their full-back roles.
Granit Xhaka hasn’t featured in our last three games and was stripped of his captaincy during the week. We should continue to see Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira partner in the centre of our midfield this weekend, particularly as both were rested for our European tie. However, Dani Ceballos picked up a knock at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, so Mesut Ozil could come into the starting lineup. Either the German or Joe Willock, but I would expect the manager to go with a bit of creativity in the middle.
Alexandre Lacazette is still building up his match fitness levels but will continue in the striker’s role this weekend, forcing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out on the left wing. Nicolas Pepe should continue on the right despite failing to live up to his expectations so far. Aubameyang continues to score, whether he’s playing up front or out on the wing. He formed an excellent partnership with Lacazette last season and hopefully the pair will be on form at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as we’re doing to need them to be.
It’s Leicester’s Jamie Vardy who heads into the weekend as the Premier League’s leading goalscorer with 10 goals. The former England international has netted an impressive 19 goals in 21 Premier League games under Brendan Rodgers too. Aubameyang is only two goals behind though, and remains as a favourite in the race for the Golden Boot.
Leicester City are playing so well right now, whilst we’ve drawn our last two games against Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both at home. I hate to say it, but I am expecting a home win this weekend.
I can see Jamie Vardy getting in behind Sokratis and David Luiz, probably winning a penalty too. With Lucas Torreira playing a more advanced role under Emery, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans should both find time and space to create chances for the forwards too. Brendan Rodgers’ side have kept clean sheets in their last two games too, so there defence isn’t going to be the easiest to breech.
Pressure continues to grow on Unai Emery on Saturday evening as it ends Leicester City 2-1 Arsenal.