Can Arsenal Stop Leicester This Weekend?

This weekend, all of the teams currently in the top four will face one another as Arsenal host Leicester City and Tottenham travel to Manchester City. With Leicester’s recent resurgence of form, their trip to the Emirates is our game of the week. The Foxes currently have a five-point stranglehold on the top spot in the table, while Arsenal find themselves sitting in third behind Man City on goal differential. No matter what happens this weekend, Leicester will still be top of the table come Monday, but if Arsenal can take three points it will blow the title race wide open.

Last weekend, Leicester silenced any doubt about their title credentials, thrashing Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad. From start to finish, Claudio Ranieri’s side was the dominant force in the match and you could argue that they should have won by an even larger margin. The Foxes showed an unbelievable attacking prowess in the final third, and even had two goals chipped in from Robert Huth at centerback. Their backline, which had been shaky throughout the season, has seemingly found their footing and have allowed just one goal in their last three games. The fact that they were able to contain Sergio Agüero for the majority of the match, should concern Arsenal who don’t have a striker nearly that good.

Whenever I write about a Leicester game it pretty much bounces between Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy when it comes to who’s in-form. This weekend’s match is no different. Against City, Mahrez was the focal point of the Foxes’ attack providing an assist and a beauty of a goal. The match showed how dangerous the Algerian can be, not just on the wings, but also when he cuts inside the middle of the pitch. Mahrez could find himself against either Hector Bellerin or Nacho Monreal this weekend. Both of those fullbacks have the pace to match Mahrez when he’s on the ball, but I’m not sure if they possess the skill necessary to neutralize him for large periods of the game. Look for the 24-year-old to once again orchestrate Leicester’s attack on Sunday.

Ozil scores for Arsenal

Switching sides to Arsenal, the Gunners have to have some confidence going into this fixture having thoroughly dominated Leicester at the King Power Stadium back in September. An unbelievable attacking display from Arsene Wenger’s squad saw the London club take all three points in an emphatic 5-2 victory. The star man in that performance was Alexis Sanchez. This year hasn’t been the best for the Chilean, who has struggled with injury, but he still has the ability to turn a game on its head at any given moment. His battle with Mahrez for best winger on the pitch should be an exciting one to watch, but Sanchez just doesn’t have the same momentum going into this match that his Algerian counterpart does. Can he rediscover his hat-trick form and ignite Arsenal’s title challenge?

Things haven’t been going so well for the Gunners, as of late. Excluding last weekend’s match against Bournemouth, Arsenal had gone four matches without a win. Perhaps the most worrying stat from that abysmal run of form, is that they were held scoreless for three straight matches against Chelsea, Stoke City and Southampton. None of those clubs are really considered defensive powerhouses, and none of them were in better form than Leicester is now. If the Gunners hope to steal three points away from this match, they’re going to need their stars like Mesut Ozil, Sanchez and Olivier Giroud up-front to take control of the match.

I still can’t believe that Leicester are keeping their title hopes alive and well, and I would have never believed that I would be predicting them to take all three points at the Emirates. Times are changing though, and you can’t argue with the talent that the Foxes have shown this season. I’m picking the in-form team this week, and I think Leicester will continue to extend their lead at the top. Final Score: Arsenal 0-1 Leicester

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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