Arsenal V Leicester City, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, London, Friday 11th August
The Premier League returns to great fanfare this Friday (unusually) with a big game down in London at the Emirates Stadium between Arsenal and Leicester City, who alas were not able to repeat the fairy-tale of 2015/16 last season. Indeed it was a bit more of a sobering campaign for The Foxes, with title-winning coach Claudio Ranieri shown the door, and assistant Craig Shakespeare being announced as his successor on a permanent basis. With Arsenal having claimed the FA Cup once again last time out, this is still a game between two teams with a lot of recent domestic success.
Looking at the recruitment of the two teams over the summer, Arsenal have done some canny business. Sead Kolašinac has arrived to bolster the defence, whereas the more exciting signing for many supporters has been the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. Could he be the 20 goal plus striker The Gunners have been searching for to complement the likes of Alexis Sánchez? Well, we wait with baited breath, but at the very least he’s a strong addition to the Arsenal squad. Sánchez himself has been heavily linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City among others, but he remains an Arsenal player as we speak, and with Lacazette and Mesut Özil too, the attacking options open to Arsene Wenger look tantalising to say the least as things stand. The big question mark over The Gunners is whether they can strengthen defensively – the signs have so far been good in pre-season and in their trumping of Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley.
Leicester City haven’t been quite as impressive in pre-season – a couple of mixed results were at least followed up by a 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in their last game. Jamie Vardy, one of the side’s heroes from two years ag, scored twice, and with 37 goals in the last two seasons alone, similar goalscoring exploits should not come as a surprise to anyone this time round. The Foxes’ recruitment has been shrewd too – Harry Maguire has arrived from Hull City to bolster a defence that looked shaky at times last season, Vicente Iborra brings a bit of creativity to midfield from Sevilla, whereas the most exciting arrival for many has been the addition of Kelechi Iheanacho, the young Nigerian striker, who’s been picked up from Manchester City. He didn’t play very often for City but when he did he seemed to score – he could be a real gem for The Foxes, especially if he is able to develop some sort of partnership with Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. The latter remains a bit of a Sánchez character for The Foxes in that we are not really sure if he is going to stay with the club. He’s being continually linked with a move to Roma, who have made several bids for his signature. Yet he too remains at the club as we speak and we expect him to play on Friday.
Head-to-head Arsenal have had the distinct upper-hand in recent times. Even in Leicester’s league winning campaign of 2015/16 the Gunners ‘did the double’ over The Foxes, whereas last season it took an own goal by Robert Huth in the 86th minute at the Emirates to separate the sides. In fact, 1994 was the last time Leicester beat Arsenal in the league, and 1973 was the last time the visitors actually won at Arsenal. Indeed, 1995 was the last time they didn’t lose this game, and with the Gunners having played well to defeat Chelasea, albeit on penalties, in that Wembley showpiece game, a home win looks enticing.
However, this is the sixth consecutive season that the Gunners will begin their campaign at home, and in those five previous games, they have only won once – a 2-1 win over Palace back in 2014/15. There have been three defeats in that time, but with such a strong head-to-head advantage it would be unlikely to see Arsenal losing this game. Therefore back a draw (Arsenal -1) at 3.85 with 10bet.
The anytime goalscorer odds make extremely interesting reading. Both Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez are as short as 1.93 here, so although there is only a little value to be had, a Lacazette debut goal seems to possess and air of inevitability about it.
Finally, ‘Yes’ on Both Teams to score seems sensible at 1.73 with 188bet, that’s the best you will currently get, while Over 2.5 goals is 1.63, also with 188bet.
The Premier League returns and the fun is set to commence with Arsenal V Leicester City. It’s Premier league on a Friday, but whichever day it begins, that’s alright with us!