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Preview: Leicester City vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Leicester City vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:ID:357343: from db_amp
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of the Premier League meeting between Leicester City and top-four chasing Arsenal.
By , Senior Reporter | 1mo

Arsenal head to Leicester City on Sunday afternoon with their top-four fate no longer in their own hands following back-to-back Premier League defeats.

The Gunners sit fifth in the table, one point adrift of London rivals Chelsea with only three more matches left to play, while opponents Leicester are just inside the top half.


Leicester City

Like Arsenal, Leicester also have something tangible to aim for in the remaining two weeks of the season as they are locked in a four-team race for seventh place, which could be enough to secure a Europa League qualifying spot.

The Foxes have stuttered of late, however, by losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle United on April 12 and following that up with a 2-2 draw at West Ham United.

That point at the London Stadium will be considered a positive one by Brendan Rodgers, though, as his side twice trailed against the Irons and required a 92nd-minute goal from Harvey Barnes to snatch a share of the spoils.

One point from a possible six leaves Leicester exactly midway in the Premier League, nicely summing up their mixed campaign. There have been plenty of positives and negatives for the 2016 title winners - mainly the former in Rodgers's short time in charge since replacing Claude Puel.

City have climbed two places since Rodgers left Celtic to take on his third Premier League job, seeing his side win five, lose two and draw one of his eight matches at the King Power Stadium helm.

Finishing seventh will be the ex-Liverpool and Swansea City manager's aim with three games to go. The fixture list is not kind to the East Midlands outfit, though, as they face Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea to see out their season.

Leicester's home form picked up at the end of February with three wins in a row at the King Power, against Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham and Bournemouth, but that run ended with defeat to Newcastle two weeks ago.

That was the eighth home defeat City have suffered in the Premier League this term. They have only lost more in a single campaign in the competition in 1994-95 (10) and 2001-02 (nine).

With Arsenal and Chelsea the last two visitors there this season, that is an unwelcome record that could be matched.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWLD


Arsenal

Two calamitous defeats in the space of three days have turned Arsenal's league campaign on its head. The Gunners just had to win their final four matches to bring Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium - now they require a helping hand from others.

The good news for the Gunners is that the two sides either side of them, Chelsea and Manchester United, face off at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Something has to give in that one and, from Arsenal's perspective, dropped points for the Blues would be ideal.

Unai Emery will therefore want to put some pressure on Chelsea by returning to winning ways at Leicester, a few hours before Maurizio Sarri's side kick off against United, which would temporarily lift them into a top-four position.

Going further back it is three league defeats in four for Arsenal, having also gone down 1-0 to Everton on April 7. Of more concern to Emery will be the defensive display produced by his side in the losses against Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers over the last week.

From one goal conceded in seven games to six shipped in two matches, Arsenal have slipped back into their old ways and will now likely require three wins from three against Leicester, Brighton and Burnley to have any chance of finishing fourth.

There is another route still open for Champions League football next season, of course, as the Gunners are still in with a shot of winning the Europa League.

The first leg of their semi-final against Valencia takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, and Emery will no doubt have one eye on that match when naming his starting lineup on Sunday.

Incidentally, the Gunners have never lost a Premier League game that has kicked off at 12 noon, winning 15 and drawing four. Their last such match was a 5-1 win at Fulham earlier this season.

Only three points will do for Arsenal this weekend if they are to remain firmly in the hunt for fourth. Having earned plenty of praise just a few weeks ago, Emery will not want his first season in English football to unravel at the business end of proceedings.

Recent form in Premier League: WWLWLL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWLL


Team News

Aaron Ramsey is still out of contention for Arsenal because of a thigh injury, and may have played his final game for the club ahead of his summer switch to Juventus.

Emery is also definitely without three other players as Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are all long-term absentees, while Denis Suarez is carrying a groin problem and is out of the picture.

The Gunners may have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back in their squad this weekend after the Gabonese striker underwent a sinus procedure that ruled him out of the trip to Wolves. Aubameyang's expected return could coincide with Alexandre Lacazette being given a rest.

Alternatively, Emery could use both strikers, as he has done more often in the second half of the campaign, if he recalls out-of-form defender Shkodran Mustafi and alters formation.

Daniel Amartey is Leicester's only absentee for Sunday's clash in the East Midlands, meanwhile, having suffered a horrific ankle injury six months ago.

Rodgers was without Wes Morgan for the draw at West Ham because of personal reasons, but he is now back in contention and could replace Jonny Evans alongside Harry Maguire.

Barnes's late goal against the Irons may be enough to see him return to the starting lineup, with Marc Albrighton most at risk of dropping out.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League games against Arsenal - only against Liverpool (seven) has he scored more in the competition than he has against the Gunners (six).

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison; Gray, Vardy, Barnes

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal; Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac; Iwobi; Lacazette, Aubameyang


Head To Head



Leicester have won just one of their last 24 Premier League meetings with Arsenal, though it was in this corresponding fixture last season when prevailing 3-1.

The Gunners have not lost consecutive away league games against City since November 1983.

Foxes boss Rodgers has won two of his nine Premier League meetings with Arsenal, meanwhile, beating them with Swansea in January 2012 and Liverpool in March 2014.

Just two managers have won as many as three Premier League games against the Gunners with each victory coming while in charge of a different club - Chris Hughton and Roy Hodgson being the others.


We say: Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal



Arsenal have lost seven league games on the road this season, including a two-goal defeat at Wolves in midweek. That has ultimately been the Gunners' Achilles' heel this term, and we are expecting them to slip up once again this weekend.






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