Leicester City vs. Arsenal
Venue: King Power Stadium
Kick off: 12PM
Arsenal head to Leicester City this afternoon with their top-four fate no longer in their own hands following back-to-back Premier League defeats.
The Gunners sit fifth in the table, one point adrift of London rivals Chelsea with only three more matches left to play, while opponents Leicester are just inside the top half.
The Gunners just had to win their final four matches to bring Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium – now they require a helping hand from others.
The good news for the Gunners is that the two sides either side of them, Chelsea and Manchester United, face off at Old Trafford later today.
Something has to give in that one and, from Arsenal’s perspective, dropped points for the Blues would be ideal.
Unai Emery will therefore want to put some pressure on Chelsea by returning to winning ways at Leicester, a few hours before Maurizio Sarri’s side kick off against United, which would temporarily lift them into a top-four position.
Going further back it is three league defeats in four for Arsenal, having also gone down 1-0 to Everton on April 7.
Of more concern to Emery will be the defensive display produced by his side in the losses against Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers over the last week.
From one goal conceded in seven games to six shipped in two matches, Arsenal have slipped back into their old ways and will now likely require three wins from three against Leicester, Brighton and Burnley to have any chance of finishing fourth.
There is another route still open for Champions League football next season, of course, as the Gunners are still in with a shot of winning the Europa League.
The first leg of their semi-final against Valencia takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night and Emery will no doubt have one eye on that match when naming his starting lineup today.
Incidentally, the Gunners have never lost a Premier League game that has kicked off at 12 noon, winning 15 and drawing four.
Their last such match was a 5-1 win at Fulham earlier this season.
Only three points will do for Arsenal this weekend if they are to remain firmly in the hunt for fourth. Having earned plenty of praise just a few weeks ago, Emery will not want his first season in English football to unravel at the business end of proceedings.
Like Arsenal, Leicester also have something tangible to aim for in the remaining two weeks of the season as they are locked in a four-team race for seventh place, which could be enough to secure a Europa League qualifying spot.
The Foxes have stuttered of late, however, by losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle United on April 12 and following that up with a 2-2 draw at West Ham United.
That point at the London Stadium will be considered a positive one by Brendan Rodgers, though, as his side twice trailed against the Irons and required a 92nd-minute goal from Harvey Barnes to snatch a share of the spoils.
One point from a possible six leaves Leicester exactly midway in the Premier League, nicely summing up their mixed campaign.
There have been plenty of positives and negatives for the 2016 title winners; mainly the former in Rodgers’ short time in charge since replacing Claude Puel.
City have climbed two places since Rodgers left Celtic to take on his third Premier League job, seeing his side win five, lose two and draw one of his eight matches at the King Power Stadium helm.
Finishing seventh will be the ex-Liverpool and Swansea City manager’s aim with three games to go.
The fixture list is not king to the East Midlands outfit, though, as they face Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea to see out their season.
Leicester City possible XI: Schmeichel, Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison, Gray, Vardy, Barnes.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Torreira, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang.