Before the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, Leicester City were seemingly comfortable in their pursuit of a UEFA Champions League slot for next season. But average results after the resumption of the league has drawn them back towards the challengers for those remaining two slots, with Arsenal particularly showing signs of life.
Instead of one pursuer or two, they have six clubs showing actual intent of overhauling Leicester City in the pursuit of Champions League status. This means the clash against Arsenal on Tuesday has assumed a must-not-lose status while the Gunners will enhance their recent excellent form with another win, this time against a top-six contender.
The omens favour Mikel Arteta and his men as Arsenal have beaten Leicester City in their last nine matches at home, a factor that could be enhanced by the forced absences of two influential players for Brendan Rodgers – Ben Chilwell and James Maddison.
After the restart, the Gunners lost to Manchester City and Brighton but after those two defeats, Arteta’s men have shown a more resilient posture and this new spine was glaring in the 2-0 defeat handed to Wolves at the Molineux last weekend.
Recent Form: Arsenal [W-W-W-W-L]; Leicester [W-L-L-D-D]
Head to head
09/11/19 PRL Leicester 2 – 0 Arsenal
28/04/19 PRL Leicester 3 – 0 Arsenal
22/10/18 PRL Arsenal 3 – 1 Leicester
09/05/18 PRL Leicester 3 – 1 Arsenal
11/08/17 PRL Arsenal 4 – 3 Leicester
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Leicester
Desire and determination are two words not normally associated with Arsenal, but those two characteristics were in rich display as they battened down the hatches and surprised many by beating Wolves. They now have the momentum to force their way back into reckoning if they beat another contender for Champions League slots in Leicester City.
Arteta is trying to minimise the pressure on his players by saying they do not have it in their own hands to force their way into Champions League reckoning.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, he said, “It’s clear that it’s not in our hands. The only thing we can do is win as many games as possible and see what happens, but at the moment it’s not in our hands.
“This club has to play in Europe,” he continued, and this club has to play in the Champions League. If we don’t have the choice to do that, it’s better to play in Europe than not to, that’s my opinion.”
That opinion is shared by many Gunners’ fans throughout the world and they will be keen to witness another win on Tuesday–a sure sign their club is improving under their former midfielder.