Arsenal can beat Leicester City and blow the Premier League title race wide open againPublished February 11, 2016
It’s a second huge game away to one of their main title rivals in a little over a week for Leicester City and nobody will be taking them lightly following the demolition job they did away at Manchester City last weekend.
The Gunners are the only team to have handed Claudio Ranieri’s team a serious beating this season, having won 5-2 at the King Power Stadium back in September, helped in no small part by an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick. Back then many thought that would signal the bursting of the Leicester bubble. How wrong they were!
Arsenal come into the game after claiming a much-needed 2-0 victory at Bournemouth last time out, ending a damaging four-match win-less run that yielded just three points. They are also starting to benefit from the rare luxury (for Arsenal) of having a near fully-fit squad available.
Leicester have already picked up a remarkable 28-points on their travels this season and were they to win at the Emirates on Sunday (12 noon kick off) they would have an eight-point cushion over Arsenal. It may not guarantee that the Foxes would be crowned Premier League champions, but with a relatively benign looking run of games coming up, it would put them firmly in the driving seat. A Leicester victory would surely cause irreparable damage to the Gunners own title aspirations too.
Having already won away to title rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in 2016, Leicester certainly won’t be travelling South with any inferiority complex. Another factor in their favour is that, unlike their three main title rivals (four if you want to include Manchester United), Leicester have no European or domestic cup commitments to distract them and are now solely focused on the Premier League.
As excellent as Leicester were at the Etihad, they were helped to some degree by Manchester City’s growing injury issues and in particular their lack of pace at the back. Arsenal’s back four are unlikely to be quite so accommodating towards Jamie Vardy and co. Now firmly under the media spotlight and with much of the nation willing them on, there is now increased pressure and expectation on Leicester City as they are finally accepted as genuine title contenders.
Leicester’s defensive record is much improved of late (just three goals conceded in their last eight Premier League matches), but Arsenal possess enough creativity going forward to unlock them. It’s then a case of taking their chances.