Football

Arsenal, Leicester preview, can the Foxes match up Arteta’s boys

Arsenal players celebrating a goal in their last PL match against Watford. | PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • Arsenal take on Leicester City on Sunday in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium
  • We take a look at numbers behind the history of a clash Arsenal have never achieved a double since Leicester’s Premier League triumph in 2016
  • The Foxes will be without their main man up front Jamie Vardy, who is sidelined due to an injury

The 2015-16 Premier League season will forever be remembered as the year that great underdogs Leicester City pulled off the most magical title triumph of all time.

That was also the last season in which Arsenal finished in the top four of the Premier League, the Gunners having slipped as low as eighth in the past two campaigns.

Arsenal, then under Arsene Wenger, beat Leicester home and away en route to finishing second that season but have not pulled off a league double in this fixture since.

On a run of eight wins in their past 10 league games, Arsenal will be full of confidence heading into Sunday’s contest – though City has themselves finally found some form.

As the two sides prepare to meet at Emirates Stadium, here at SportsLeo we take a look at some of the key numbers to consider this weekend.

Gunners firing on all cylinders

Arsenal were at the bottom of the Premier League after three games, without a point and without a goal – we all know that, given how often it has been repeated in recent weeks.

They now sit fourth and hold a one-point lead over Manchester United – the side many expect to be Arsenal’s greatest threat for fourth place – with three games in hand.

Arsenal Leicester preview

Arsenal is currently sitting fourth on the Premier League table and look set to secure the position at the end of the campaign. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

The Gunners’ form since losing 2-1 to Everton in early December has been close to perfect, collecting 25 points from the last 30 on offer, a tally only Manchester City can match.

By comparison, Leicester have accrued 14 points from the same number of games, leaving them marooned in mid-table with seemingly little to play for on the face of it.

The Foxes have at least strung together four wins in a row in all competitions heading into this game, though, something they last achieved inside 90 minutes in January last year.

No Vardy… no party?

The fact Arsenal have struggled to achieve a league double over Leicester in recent years is slightly surprising given their strong home record against the Foxes.

Leicester’s 1-0 win in this corresponding fixture last season, secured through a Jamie Vardy goal, ended a 23-game winless run away at Arsenal in league competition.

That was Vardy’s 11th Premier League goal against Arsenal, with only Wayne Rooney (12) netting more against them in the competition’s history.

However, the striker – who has been on and off this season due to injuries has been ruled out of this match with a knee injury, so Leicester will be relying on the likes of Patson Daka, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison on Sunday.

Arsenal Leicester preview

Leicester City will be without Jamie Vardy in the Arsenal clash. The striker is sidelined with a knee injury. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Arsenal is on the up and up without Auba

Vardy fired a blank in October’s reverse meeting, a 2-0 win for Arsenal in a game that saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lead the line for the visitors.

Aubameyang has since departed for Barcelona and the club captain’s exit has not exactly hampered the Gunners – in fact, they have instead become stronger in all areas.

Arsenal scored 28 goals in 15 league games up to their aforementioned clash with Everton on December 6, the last time Aubameyang featured, compared to 23 in 10 since then.

That has seen them climb from the 12th-most prolific Premier League side to the fourth, while no team have conceded fewer goals (seven) across that period.

Landmark goal up for grabs for the Gunners

On the subject of goals, Arsenal will fancy their chances of finding the net here given that no side have kept fewer away Premier League clean sheets than Leicester this term.

Only to Man United (65) have City conceded more goals than they have to Arsenal in the competition (63), with the Gunners’ four different hat-trick scorers a record.

Alexandre Lacazette, most likely to lead the hosts’ attack, will be out to add his name to a list that includes Dennis Bergkamp, Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry and Alexis Sanchez.

However, Lacazette’s game has been more about creating than scoring of late, the Frenchman having provided a team-high seven assists in the league this season.

Notably, Mikel Arteta’s side is just three goals shy of scoring their landmark 2,000th in the Premier League, 603 of those previous 1,997 having been scored at the Emirates.

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