Leicester City will host Arsenal on Wednesday of their remaining Premier League dwelling match of the 2017/18 season – a season which has left followers of each golf equipment disenchanted and pissed off with their sides’ performances.
It is going to undoubtedly be Arsène Wenger’s remaining journey to the King Energy Stadium because the Gunners supervisor, after 22 years on the helm. It could even be Claude Puel’s final dwelling match in control of Leicester, as he has come underneath rising stress after a collection of poor outcomes.
Like Arsenal – who now face the prospect of a second successive season with out Champions League soccer – the Foxes don’t have anything greater than delight to play for on Wednesday. But this in itself is a testomony to Puel’s achievements since taking up from Craig Shakespeare.
When Puel’s predecessor was fired in October, the Foxes have been mired within the relegation zone and had picked up simply six factors from eight matches. Now they’ve 44 and are nonetheless nicely positioned to complete within the prime half of the desk, regardless of a dismal latest run.
Foxes followers ought to always remember what occurred to Puel’s former membership Southampton after they let him go. Having completed eighth final season, the Saints are actually embroiled in a determined relegation battle.
Admittedly, it is not exhausting to know why Foxes followers are disgruntled – their aspect have misplaced 4 of their final 5 matches, with their solitary level coming in a goalless stalemate at dwelling to the Saints.
Once more, nonetheless, it’s a measure of Puel’s success that his aspect may afford to select up only one level from a potential 15 with out having to fret about the potential of relegation.
In the meantime, Wenger’s imminent departure displays the gulf in expectations between the 2 sides. If Leicester had completed within the prime six, reached the EFL Cup remaining and misplaced narrowly within the semifinals of the Europa League, Puel’s job would absolutely be secure now – but the identical cannot be mentioned of Wenger, who has admitted that his resignation wasn’t fully his personal selection.
Maybe essentially the most unbelievable statistic of Wenger’s remaining season on the Emirates is that his aspect have misplaced each away sport within the Premier League up to now this calendar 12 months. No, you did not misinterpret that: the Gunners have misplaced away to Bournemouth, Swansea, Tottenham, Brighton, Newcastle and Manchester United in 2018.
If it weren’t for Arsenal’s largely spectacular dwelling type on this season’s Premier League – together with a run of 5 successive victories which culminated in Sunday’s 5-0 thumping of Burnley – Wenger’s remaining season actually would have been a nightmare for Gunners followers.
The Foxes are lucky that the one prize at stake on Wednesday is their delight, as they don’t have any fewer than six gamers dominated out for the conflict with the Gunners.
Matty James, Wilfred Ndidi, Ben Chilwell, Robert Huth and Daniel Amartey are all sidelined with accidents, whereas Marc Albrighton continues to be suspended after being despatched off for knowledgeable foul in the Foxes’ humbling 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
As well as, Kasper Schmeichel and Shinji Okazaki are each nonetheless recovering from ankle accidents and are unlikely to characteristic on Wednesday, whereas Aleksandar Dragović is carrying a shoulder damage. Nonetheless, there’s a good probability that Danny Simpson shall be out there regardless of a groin pressure.
In the meantime, Arsenal have their very own damage woes and shall be lacking key gamers on the King Energy Stadium.
Mesut Özil, Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla are all sidelined with damage for the remainder of the season, whereas Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny may even miss Wednesday’s match with an ankle damage.
Leicester City 2-5 Arsenal (September 2015)
Gunners followers shall be hoping that their aspect can present the sort of attacking aptitude and ruthlessness which demolished Leicester in September 2015.
Jamie Vardy’s brace was to no avail, as Alexis Sánchez scored a hat trick – a tap-in, a header and a positive long-range effort – after Theo Walcott had cancelled out Vardy’s opener. The Leicester striker’s second was a mere comfort, earlier than Olivier Giroud rubbed salt into Leicester’s wounds with a strike deep into added time.
It was the Foxes’ first Premier League defeat of the season after a powerful begin, and on the time it felt like a actuality test for Claudio Ranieri’s aspect. After witnessing Arsenal’s demolition of Leicester’s brittle defence, few (if any) may have predicted that the Foxes would lose simply two extra Premier League matches all season on their solution to turning into Premier League champions.
Jamie Vardy vs Calum Chambers
If anybody thought Vardy’s magnificent scoring document in Leicester’s title-winning season was a mere flash within the pan, he has emphatically proved them incorrect. The England striker’s 17 league targets this season are a significant motive why the Foxes successfully secured their Premier League standing as early as March.
Nonetheless, he has failed to attain in his final three matches, and so have Leicester – which solely emphasises how dependent they’re on his targets.
With Laurent Koscielny injured and Shkodran Mustafi relegated to the bench within the Burnley sport, Vardy could discover himself up in opposition to Calum Chambers, whose performances this season have been quite blended. The Foxes striker could really feel he has a greater probability of accelerating his aim tally in opposition to Chambers on the King Energy than in opposition to Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday.
That is an extremely troublesome consequence to name, just because each side have been so dire not too long ago. Arsenal have misplaced all six of their away matches this 12 months, whereas Leicester have been poor of their final 5 video games.
But there have been some indicators of enchancment within the Gunners’ slender defeat in opposition to Manchester United, whereas the Foxes will little doubt be eager to complete their remaining dwelling match of the season on a excessive.
There may be little to decide on between the edges, so a draw appears to be like like a believable end result.
Prediction: Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal