The Premier League finally returns to be the cynosure of the footballing world, and what better way than to begin the proceedings with a mouth-watering tie: Arsenal Vs Leicester City.
Fresh from a Community Shield win against Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium, the Gunners are flying high even before the Premier League has begun.
After a pre-season laden with ups and downs, speculations and contract talks, Arsenal have a sense of stability around them once again.
Therefore, to have Leicester City as their opponents in the season-opener – and that too at home – is a bonus, one that they’d like to accept with both hands.
However, the slow, nervy starters that Arsenal are, they could easily wilt under the pressure of a raucuous crowd at The Emirates Stadium too, as they have done in a few of their previous season openers. Unlikely but still possible.
Man to watch
Alexandre Lacazette has to be the man to watch out for. Arsenal have paid a hefty amount for him, and that’s for one and only one reason: Goals. The kind of defensive problems that Leicester City have recently had, Lacazette could have a grand start to life in the Premier League.
"“We are well prepared and ready for a fight, and of course ambitious as well,” Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com.“I think we have a good level of physical preparation. All our players got a decent number of minutes of good competition, so overall the preparation of the squad looks good.“Then we need to transform the quality of the preparation into points and that is of course a pragmatic view, but what matters is we win the next game and start in a strong way, which we didn’t do last year. That’s what we want to achieve this season.”"
Predicted XI: Cech; Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Elneny, Kolasinac; Welbeck, Iwobi, Lacazette.
Leicester City’s summer has been as excellent as you’d like it to be off the field, but on field, they have been an absolute and utter shambles – and that’s saying something considering some of the sides they’ve faced over the course of the pre-season.
One might argue if the Foxes ever put the effort in, for it was more about getting playing time than results, but even so, there’s always a chance to be caught napping on the first day of the season.
Craig Shakespeare’s side can take a lot of confidence from the fact that Arsenal themselves won’t be fielding a full-strength XI, even if their B team is equally as capable.
If Leicester City can get their defence to tire a firing Arsenal down, there always are points to be taken. Remember, the best way to beat Arsenal is to not match them, but to take the sting out.
Man to Watch
Jamie Vardy is Leicester City’s go to man. It’s no secret that Arsenal are extremely vulnerable to a lightning quick counter-attack, and Vardy is the man to finish that break off with a goal. With three goals in his last four apperances against the Gunners, he can hurt them again.
"“The quality of their players, their fan base and the money that they can spend, they’ve always been dangerous,” Craig Shakespeare told lcfc.com.“They’re the FA Cup winners and Community Shield winners and they’ve got tremendous strength in depth so they’ll always be up there.“[They have made] good additions to the quality they already have there.”"
Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Maguire, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, Amartey, Gray; Iheanacho, Vardy.