Leicester City vs. Arsenal
Venue: King Power Stadium
Kick off: 6:30PM
Leicester City head into their fixture with Arsenal this evening with the opportunity to move into second place in the Premier League table.
Meanwhile, Unai Emery takes his side to the King Power Stadium aware that he must start to deliver more wins if he is to keep his job in the Gunners dugout.
At a time when several of the division’s top six have struggled for consistency, Leicester City have given every indication that they are capable of gatecrashing the top four at the end of the season.
Their only defeats have come on the road to Manchester United and Liverpool, with both North-West giants requiring a penalty to get the better of the Foxes.
However, courtesy of three successive victories, Leicester sit six points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal ahead of welcoming the Gunners to their home ground.
Despite being less than a third of the way through the campaign, Saturday’s showdown in the East Midlands feels like a pivotal encounter in the context of the rest of the season.
Not only would success extend the gap to nine points, it would leave Arsenal facing further scrutiny heading into the winter months, a period which can make or break a club’s season.
While defeat would not be the end of the world for Leicester, Brendan Rodgers will be eager to grasp an opportunity to strengthen their hold of a Champions League place with some difficult games to come over Christmas.
Jamie Vardy will want to continue his run of five goals from three outings, although Rodgers may be more satisfied if his defence can keep a fourth clean sheet in half-a-dozen matches.
To some extent, the pressure is entirely on Arsenal’s shoulders heading into this contest, but Rodgers will want his players to play with the same mix of balance and urgency which has gotten them into their current position.
There are some who feel that it is only a matter of time before the Arsenal hierarchy choose to replace Emery, with his squad coming under increasing pressure after letting slip yet another lead on Wednesday night.
However, while a win at Leicester would not completely change the mood at the Gunners, it would at least buy Emery some time to make full use of the upcoming international break.
The Spaniard requires a period where he can take a step back and assess where this squad is going, rather than having to contend with issues both on and off the pitch when matches are coming thick and fast.
There is an argument that Emery did not help himself by taking his time to act on matters involving the club captaincy after Granit Xhaka’s angry outburst towards supporters last month.
Nevertheless, failing to take advantage of holding leads against Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Vitoria de Guimaraes has sparked a concerning period for everyone associated with the club.
While Arsenal are still in fifth position, they have benefitted from the inconsistencies of some of their rivals, and a failure to get over their recent slump will soon leave the north Londoners down in mid-table.
The main positive from last weekend’s draw with Wolves was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ending a three-game streak without a goal in the Premier League.
However, Arsenal now only have two clean sheets from 11 top-flight fixtures this season, something which must improve in the coming weeks.
Leicester City possible XI: Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Tielemans, Perez, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney, Guendouzi, Torreira, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.