Football is BACK. I know I said that last week when we were building up to the Chelsea clash, but this time it feels even more real!
- Friday 11th August, 7.45pm k.o (UK time)
- Emirates Stadium
- Arsenal vs. Leicester City
- Premier League
That’s right, Arsenal kick off their Premier League campaign on Friday night as they host Leicester City at an Emirates Stadium that needs a positive start.
Carrying some of the momentum from the Community Shield victory will surely help, but Arsene Wenger will once again have to tinker with his squad following some major concerns.
The Gunners are known for kicking off the season in a dodgy manor, with the 4-3 loss to Liverpool last year still etched in our minds considering they beat us to fourth place by just a single point.
It’s for reasons like the one I’ve listed above that both Wenger and his team, that have both become so unpredictable, need to get off on the right foot in the league.
The big (and unexpected) loss for Arsenal is the fact that Alexis Sanchez will miss out on the Leicester and Stoke City games after suffering an abdominal strain.
Adding to the list of big name absentees is Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. The midfield duo have failed to shake off their minor setbacks and are serious doubts for Friday night.
Laurent Koscielny will serve another game of his suspension after picking up a red card in the final Premier League game of last season against Everton.
That means Wenger may be forced to play another back-three that wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice, however they showed they can do the business vs. Chelsea not once, but twice!
Other players returning from injuries will be too short for this one, with the likes of Gabriel, Coquelin and Wilshere all targeting a comeback at some stage this month.
Arsenal Absentees: M. Ozil (ankle), Alexis (stomach), A. Ramsey (calf), S. Cazorla (ankle), Gabriel (knee), S. Mustafi (doubt), F. Coquelin (leg), J. Wilshere (fitness)
Likely Line-Up (Formation: 3-4-2-1)
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Defence: Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal
Midfield: Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Sead Kolasinac
Forwards: Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi
Striker: Alexandre Lacazette