Pepe to start tonight?
We tamed the Wolves, now it’s time for the Foxes.
The fox is a smaller animal, of course, but it’s fast, sneaky and an expert at theft.
When I was living in South West London over a decade ago we kept a few chickens in our reasonably large back garden.
They lived in a pretty little wooden chicken house, which I fortified against urban foxes to the best of my ability: wire mesh on the grass all around to stop them digging under; stone slabs under the hutch itself; security lighting.
Add in a couple of control towers and machine guns and the entire scene might have come from The Great Escape.
The foxes got in and killed the chickens.
How do we stop them pulling a similar smash-grab-and-throttle tonight at The Emirates?
We’re on a roll with four wins on the trot and confidence is visibly building. We have just signed two of our most exciting young prospects to new deals and there is even a (very) outside chance of Champions League football next year.
But Leicester are a dangerous side, with Jamie Vardy as the epitome of Fantastic Mister Fox (he’s leading the race for the Golden Boot, with 21 goals so far, two ahead of Aubameyang).
They are third in the league table which, when you look at the two teams above them, is a hell of an achievement: it means that after Liverpool and Manchester City, they are currently the ‘best of the rest.’
However, there are factors in our favour apart from our recent run of decent form. Since the lockdown ended Leicester have struggled to recapture their pre-pandemic consistency. In the four league games they’ve played since the restart they have managed: D, D, L, W.
And across the season they have been stronger at home than away.
If our new defensive set-up (now definitively to be known as ‘The Horseshoe’) can nullify Vardy there’s no reason why we can’t come away with the points. We certainly have players who can score if they get the chance, and we will get chances.
The main question for El Patron is whether he needs to rest some of Saturday’s starters, even though we have a five-day gap after tonight before our visit to the Armitage Shanks Arena in N17.
Here’s my stab at the line-up:
Bellerin – Mustafi – Luiz – Kolasinac – Tierney
Xhaka – Ceballos
Pepe – Nketieh – Aubameyang
I’ve gone with Bellerin because Soares didn’t entirely convince against Wolves and is coming back from injury.
And I think new dad Pepe will get the nod ahead of Saka.
And if I have to tip someone to be our hero on the night, it’s going to be Pepe.
Come on you Reds!