Leicester City-Arsenal: Match Preview and Predicted Line-up. FlamZorla to end the Invicibility of the Foxes?

Or Will Other Arsenal Heroes Put Them to the Torch? 

It’s also Claudio Ranieri vs Arsene Wenger–A blast from the (happier?) past featuring a bit of respect between our manager and the guy who fertilized the pasture ahead of the Moo-Man?   What will AW do to counter the former Chelsea Manager?

Do we revert to the group which lost to Diego Costa and Mike Dean, er, at Chelsea, or go with some who prevailed up the road at White Hart Lane?  Who comes in for our (still recovering) Coq?

Does this guy get a shot?  Seems to me that if you take them like he did, maybe you deserve one?  This one is for you, Mathieu…

We’re in the thick of it now.  Two matches per week, things starting to come back to normality (Chelsea cheating to win, Arsenal beating Spurs, etc., etc.) yet some things still seem off.

West Ham United go to opposing stadiums and knock off the big money clubs?  Leicester City, a team which came up just last season–and had to work hard to stay there–are undefeated in 6 matches and sit tied 3rd with the Hammers (who they’ve actually beaten twice,  once in the league in East London and again this Tuesday in the Capital One Cup).  What is going on here?

Well, it could be just that a couple of teams–both with new managers–are having that nice blip that comes with a new leader at the helm.  That both hired their guy over the summer and got in some good players could be a factor–even if it goes against the (press-driven) motif about giving the gaffer the sack whenever a team loses two in a row.

For Leicester City, it could also be that Claudio Ranieri actually knows a thing or two about how to build a squad and manage a team.  This team has a decent enough rear-guard–and a solid keeper in Casper Schmeichel–but looks more ready to control matches now that they’ve brought in a very accomplished veteran, Gokhan Inler, the Swiss international from Napoli.  His presence should help organize hard working younger players like Marc Albrighton and Daniel Drinkwater and work to help link Leicester from back to front.  Up there, it’s all about the season’s early sensation, Riyad Mahrez, (a guy who looked extremely dangerous and came close to scoring a couple of times at our place last season) and pacey James Vardy (working on his racial descriptors, perhaps…) alongside new buy Shinji Okazaki.  Leonardo Ulloa, who scored the goal which took two points from us in this fixture a year ago, is now (usually) a super-sub and seems to be relishing the role.

In their last two matches, the Foxes have spotted the opponent two goals but then turned them around, scoring three and taking full points vs Aston Villa two weeks ago and getting up for the draw at Stoke City last Saturday.  We’ll need to play ‘the full 90’ (as they say) and most certainly take Leicester as a serious threat even if they’ve lost the guy who got the winner (in the bravest of fashions) against Villa.  Nathan Dyer, inch for inch one of the best (i.e., smallest) attackers over the past several years at Swansea City, was another savvy deadline day acquisition.

For all the demure pre-match talk from Ranieri, who has said that his team must be ‘perfect’ to beat us (and that we should be well in the mix for the league title) the team and its home support will not want to give up their unbeaten record without a fight.

Does Claudio flatter to deceive or does he speak truth?  Do we have the tools to win this one and get our league season (once again) back on the right footing?

Based on the history between Raineri and Arsene Wenger, the smart money would suggest we might.  At Chelsea, Ranieri only beat Wenger once, in that Champions League showdown which came during our unbeaten season in the league.  That was one for 14, however, even if it was the most recent one.  It was also 11 years ago.

Of course, it’s not mano a mano between the managers even if they shake those hands.  (There’s your Spanish lesson for the day, by the way…)  In this early season at least, the Foxes look the better oiled machine, even if they seem a little leaky at the back.   Both teams have played six and both have won three.  Leicester, however, have drawn three and lost none while Arsenal have lost two and only drawn once.  We’re on 10 points, they’re on 12.  As such, we have an opportunity to end their chance at invincibility AND leapfrog them in the table.

How?

In truth, it’s the goals which tell the story.  Their thirteen scored, nine conceded sounds more like Arsenal than our 5 scored, 5 conceded.  Could this (finally) be the chance to let our horses run?  Maybe not, but nil-nil would seem one for which a punter would insist upon longer odds.

Ranieri’s quest to play a ‘perfect’ match translates to defence first and playing on the counter.  Why not?  That’s how every team sets up against us (even defending league champions on their home pitch) and we have yet to look convincing in breaking down the parked buses.   My guess is that this one will be no different, a bit of a chess match–at least until the first goal is scored, after which it will have to open up.  Whichever team can get a nose in front will want to keep going but should also be happy to try and kill the match through possession.

How then does Wenger set up?  Until Wednesday the answer would have been Captain Arteta in for Coquelin and 2nd Captain Per Mertesacker in for suspended (then un-suspended then re-suspended) Gabriel as the only changes from the last league match, the Dean debacle at Chelsea.  Flamini’s heroics at White Hart Lane, however, might be rewarded, and–despite the beautifully taken goals–he actually seems the more defensive option.  Here’s my guess:

Bench: Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud

As per usual, that’s just my analysis.  (And I will not be at all surprised if Arteta gets the start and Flamini takes the pitch in midweek vs Olympiakos.)  What do others have to say?

It’s become a bit of an echo chamber around here, but maybe that’s a result of the matches coming so quickly and Arsenal actually winning one.  If there’s less to critique, maybe there’s less to say.  Personally, I would hope we can get back to some consistent winning ways and maybe find a voice for a measure of appreciation and maybe some finer analysis.  Supporting Arsenal shouldn’t be a weight upon our shoulders…Maybe?

First things first, of course, and one game at a time, so…

Let’s skin us some Foxes!!

by 17highburyterrace

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46 Responses to Leicester City-Arsenal: Match Preview and Predicted Line-up. FlamZorla to end the Invicibility of the Foxes?

  1. AB says:

    Hi there HT. Not much to ague with on either your analysis or your prediction. We are clearly facing a proper team, whatever the individual qualities, and we will need to play as a disciplined team ourselves if we are to prevail. I hope we do stick with the Flam for this game, assuming Coq is not available; as you say, he is the more clearly defensive option (fine with Santi nearby) and also surely we must reward the kind of committed performance he showed on Wednesday night – what is the message to squad players otherwise? Like you though, it would not surprise me in the least if Arteta were preferred – however, I think Arteta is a better rotation option for Santi than he is for the Coq.

    I can’t claim this to be a ‘must win’ game for us. But it is a measure of our title ambitions or credibility. If we can find a way to win here, against a team high on confidence and form, then it shows we have the spirit as well as the talent. From this perspective though, it still looks like a big if! COYG!!!!

  2. allezkev says:

    Very good post 17…

    Personally I don’t think Giroud is in ‘a good place’ atm.
    Rumours of a new striker last summer and sharing duties with Theo seem to have had a debilitating effect on his confidence.
    And as his confidence seems, from a distance, quite opposite to say, Bendtner, it’s a bit of a worry…
    He needs goals, and he needs them yesterday, or else I feel it could be a long season for him… That’s my take, anyway… 🙂

    Gotta say, on first glance I thought, yep, I like that team Seventeeny…
    Then it crossed my mind, that AW might go with Arteta instead?
    But no, I think your team it is….

  3. AB & AK, Cheers for the comments… Anytime you guys wanna write a post, let us know… 🙂

    AB, the must-wins are only for the plastic fans (with yellow ties…) who fail to note that the English teams are much deeper this season due to shared television revenue. Leicester and WHU have spent well. Sure it’s not DeBruyne and Sterling and Otamendi type money but look how little Dimitri Payet’s team beat those guys in the light blue… Our opponents tomorrow have also spent well, but were also not too bad coming up from the lower division as champions…

    Agreed, Kev… Ollie…All the attributes of a very good striker but the mentality… He and Bendtner, morphed together would be the greatest striker who ever lived or (at least) ‘world class’ (whatever than means)… Just bang in the goals, salute the folks who sing the song and say f**k off to everybody else, I would tell him. Easier said than done, of course…

    That’s the real downside to the Welbeck injury (and only Joel Campbell in his stead)… We look very short for attackers off the bench and thus can’t really play Theo and Giroud together for long periods–at least during these runs with matches every few days. We play again on Tuesday but at least it’s at home as is the ManU match where (I think) we get an extra day of rest… Funny thing–a year ago we were playing Debuchy and Nacho as CBs… The market isn’t always the answer but sometimes the cupboard (one end or the other…) does appear a little bare…

    On the plus side (for me), it makes picking the teams in the previews a bit easier… 😀

  4. Buddy says:

    I hope we score first bcos in d last 2 seasons we do lost d game if we concede first but we always win d game 98% when we score first. COYG

  5. Pony Eye says:

    Hi 17ht,

    I hereby reproduce your post —–💰💰💰💰💰—- not a thought, not a word different from yours!

    Each time a line up is announced I hear Wenger’s chuckle as he says “I have denied them 11/11 once again”. To catch him in this game I will try a departure. Ramsey will be on the bench. Art and Flame would be repeated as double pivot, and Santi moved up to the MF3.

    ———————Cech——————–
    Bel———Per————-Kos———Mon
    —————–Art ——–Flam————–
    —–Ozil————Santi ————Alex—
    ———————–Theo———————

    Finally today, we will come good with the goals through Santi, Alexis, and Walcott. 3-1 to the gunners.

  6. njk84sg says:

    PE,

    Like your lineup. Lets stick to it shall we Le Prof?

    Cheers,
    JK

  7. Gerry says:

    Yes, excellent preview again HT. However, I do think your alternative thought about Flamini may prevent that 11 being 100%.

    I have made no secret I fear this game, probably more than our next league encounter against Man U. Why? Well, to keep it brief I think their style, playing on the counter, hits our weak spot. Add to that, their best players lead that attack.

    The good news is, not only do we have Cech back in goal, we are all assuming we have our top CB pairing together again? So the two things may just cancel each other out with a draw the most likely outcome. But if any one of our potential goal scorers clicks, we could run out comfortable winners.. Intriguing prospect for sure.

    So apart from the expected back 5, do we have it right going forwards? Not in the way you have lined it up HT. That looks tailor made for turnovers in midfield? Take out the midweek showing, who on earth would have Flamini as our sole DM? Come on, be serious. He is rash in the tackle. Not that quick on his feet, and can get caught out of position when he goes forward.
    Nothing has changed there, except he scored two smashing goals against our favourite enemy?

    I think there will be a more pragmatic 4-3-3 for this game, and Wednesday’s hero will be on the bench. Use his ‘positive frustration’ to save the game? Ramteta, plus Cazorla for the back 3, Ozil, Walcott, and Alexis the attacking trio. Gibbs, Flamini, and the Ox to rescue the game, or keep it tight if we are leading.

    Still plenty to worry about, with Monreal beaten for pace on the right, Per getting caught too high up, and the space behind Bellerin when we attack. Those are the key areas imo, and will decide the outcome … unless we score more than 3 goals!
    Cheers

  8. JM says:

    Match referee: Craig Pawson
    PL matches in 2014/2015 involving Arsenal: Arsenal(home) 3-0 Burnley(away), Southampton(home) 2-0 Arsenal(away)

    4th official: Robert Madley

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the preview, 17ho. What a gent Ranieri is, the Italian Bobby Robson. And he knows his football too. Really looking fwd to this one and I have a good feeling about the outcome. Line up seems right too. 🙂

  10. Good Morning fellas… Here’s our line-up… Looks like I (finally) called one right… 😀

    Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Flamini, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott.

    Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Chambers, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    The scene is set! Citeh lose again and we have a golden opportunity to OGAAT to three points! 💣

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Hello Seventeenho. Some game ahead of us! 🙂

    CoYG!s

  13. The Cockie Monster says:

    Excellent per usual, 17 .

    My take…………..nothing up front, thin in the middle, not much on the sides and gaps at the back , but that’s enough about 17`s hair !. hahaha

    A must win game if we want to win the league, if not, then just another game. On paper we should win, but it aint played on paper !.
    Teams will keep helping us out to try and catch the Manshafter clubs, it`s up to us to grasp the few opportunity`s we get when they come up !.
    I shall now grasp myself behind the sofa !. hahaha

    COYG`s

  14. HI TA… Are you around for this one? Anybody else? No love for the 11 out of 11, 18 out of 18?…

    Time for a little “parked bus dismantling.” LC will be ready to pounce on the break so we need to execute well…

    Venga! Vamos! (Spanish variations of ‘let’s go,” but you need the inverted exclamation points…)

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    It’s just CoYG! No Spanish nonsense when it comes to Arsenal! 😉

    Well done re 11/11 but then you go safer than a bank.

    No TV coverage here, so will be doing dishes and listen to radio. Catch you At half time.

  16. Hey Cockster… Really it’s just a large forehead I’ve got…Good stuff over the remainder of the dome…

    4 mins in and Santi looking bright with a throughball to Theo just offside… first corner goes to LC however…

    Comes to nothing…

  17. Argh!! Santi shot cleared off the line!

    Ooh Flams lost the ball in a bad spot but they gave it right back…

    Geez…Cech forced into a save and from it LC get another chance which hits the post…

    Tense times and awfully open thus far…

  18. Oh Crap…LC score on the break.. Looked like Rambo got fouled at the other end…

    Trouble here at 1-nil

  19. This is crazy end to end stuff… Just as they scored on the break from a chance at our end we’ve done likewise! Ball off our post led to Santi putting Theo in on the break…

  20. Flamini off injured, Captain Mike on… Not sure what happened… We’re not exactly controlling the match and LC look dangerous… Both teams are moving the ball quickly from one end to the other…

    We could use a spell of possession, I’d say…

  21. We’re holding the ball more but moves are breaking down in the final third… LC dangerous on the break

    ALEXIS!!! 2-1 Arsenal Came from Bells on the right…

  22. Dangerous FK given on a perfectly played tackle from Arteta… The ref isn’t calling much but what he does call seems awfully random… Lofted ball almost found a runner…

    The match remains extremely end to end and thus quite a worry…

    Half time…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comments, 17ho. So glad we quickly overcame the goal against us and well played the boys for leading at half time. Game appears to be very open and the radio commentators are saying Wenger is not happy with our defensive discipline. Hopefully Wenger can get this into the team at half time.

  24. Hey TA… We do look a little brittle at the defensive end…Not much pace between the deeper mids and BFG, maybe…

    Already this half we’re getting a lot of action in their box… Just need that final ball…

  25. ALEXIS!!!! Headed home from a chip by Ozil!!!

  26. allezkev says:

    Alexis is back….

    All is well with the World… 🙂

  27. LC look a lot slower this half and we look quick enough on the break…Already some good chances spurned by Theo and Ozil since the 3rd goal…

    Ulloa in for Foxes and they’ve immediately shown some threat…

    Oooh Theo… hits straight to Schmiechel when he might’ve layed off for Alexis…

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Alexis back and all is well with the world hahaha. Well put Kev 🙂

    Good to hear we are still attacking… must be our best defence.. 🙂

  29. Some very fatigued players out there, more of them in blue… We’re starting to kill it off with possession and moving the ball forward with relative ease… Can’t quite get the finishes right, however…

    A little threat from LC after a set piece, however, and I wouldn’t want them to nick one.

    Oooh more chances to get a 4th…Ozil finds a defenders head on a shot going in…

    Rambo off, Ox on…

  30. Alexis!!!! Hat Trick!!!! From distance, sneaks it in at the near post!!

    4-1

  31. Looks like he’d enjoy some more, too…

    LC are quick but they are done now… Not much of a midfield shown today…

    Haha, soon as I say that Cech has to save from Vardy on a perfect ball from their keeper…

    And now more…Wow, great keeping from Cech!

  32. proudgooner says:

    Well done Alexis! Back on form, great news.

  33. Now, with the result gone, Foxes are playing better. Some fine work by our keeper, however…

    Points are coming back to North London. ManU top with 16, City at 15, Arsenal at 13…

    Ah poo…Another great save from Cech but then Vardy places one in…

    4-2

    Switched off a bit early…

    Geez Ozil, pass it for an assist or score it, please. Blocked by keeper instead…

    Argh, Giroud TOO…whiffs on a fine cross from Santi…

  34. proudgooner says:

    As we all knew the goals would come, it looks like we have found our shooting boots again.
    5-2
    COYG well done 🙂

  35. allezkev says:

    Yeah, I’d much rather be watching Chelsea. 🙂

    Total 😉

  36. FT…

    That was a weird one, possibly the most open match I’ve ever seen… Could’ve been a lot more than just the 7 goals, in truth…

    West Ham have leveled so maybe they’ll be above us on GD…

  37. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    Good shout on being our best defense
    It would seem so even though have let 2 in.
    The sad news for the day in LVG lanisters are TOTL , the good news is his bubble will burst just like City’s have.
    As the mighty Gunners go marching on.

  38. proudgooner says:

    17,
    It was a great game to adv the EPL so open and full of attacks , very refreshing .

  39. njk84sg says:

    17ht,

    Good commentary from you. I caught the game after the first 45 so felt that the game changer is both our first choice keeper and the defense.

    And of course our hat trick hero Alexis.

    If your opponent plays the same football as you do you must win by shooting when you see space. We did that today and we didnt give them too much space.

    Good game for all football fans.

    Cheers,
    JK

  40. proudgooner says:

    It was really a great day for us with Alexis, Theo and Giroud all scoring to give them a confidence boost .
    Very pleasing , i wanted Ozil to let a few shots go today and he had chances to score today, but he made his assists , his goals will come Wenger will demand 10 EPL goals from him. all good.

  41. allezkev says:

    With the exception of the ManUtd result, that was a bloody satisfying weekend…

    If you’d given me, before the game, a 2-2 at St James’ for the Chavs, then I would have snatched your hand off…

    Now if Ramsey can find his shooting boots, and when AOC starts hitting the net, we’ll really be rocking…

    Just need to get Welbeck, Wilshere and Rosicky back after Christmas, with fresh legs and fresh minds to help us kick on…

  42. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    My guess for today was 3:2 for us with Alexis and Walcott (2) outscoring Mahrez and Vardy. I pointed out that Mahrez looks like Michu v2.0 as I don’t believe the hype about him will survive the next summer.

    Excellent victory today, our shooting boots were on and our world-class attacker in a rampant mood. Walcott proved he should be our first option with Ollie being the super-sub. Ozil looked sharp, special praisr for our full-backs.

    Kudos to Leicester for trying to play football.

  43. allezkev says:

    I haven’t seen the game, but just watched some highlights…
    All the goals were good, especially Alexis’ 3rd, what a great finish, and with his confidence flooding back he’ll be on track again…

    Just a mention for Vardy, I thought he showed a cool head and great technique in scoring his goals…

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

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