In most fox hunts the quarry escapes, but on the occasions that turn out less well for the fox it’s usually because it has been run to exhaustion by the chasing pack of hounds.
And that approach may be key to us taking all three points from an in-form Leicester City in the lunchtime kick-off today.
We have a young team with lots of energy and plenty of miles in their legs. If we’re prepared to work hard in all 11 positions today and run until our feet bleed then we have a very good chance of coming out on top.
We showed this level of commitment against Aston Villa and (with a second string line-up) against Leeds where, even at 2-0 up, we continued to press the opposition in their own half late in the game.
Both teams have grounds for optimism: Leicester are coming into this game off the back of three straight wins. We’re hoping to extend an unbeaten run of eight games in the EPL and Carabao Cup.
Most recent games between the two sides have produced results, usually with plenty of goals. Draws are a rarity.
We know that Leicester have hurt us in the past, particularly through Jamie Vardy who has a good record of scoring against us (often when Leicester hit us on the break).
I have faith in our first choice defensive line-up and in Mikel Arteta’s coaching to be hyper aware of that danger today, although I suspect we will need more than one goal if we’re going to grab all three points.
There were no real injury updates from the club yesterday apart from the manager saying that Tierney was still a doubt. We can only hope that Ben White has recovered from the illness that saw him leave the field early against Leeds. His awareness and speed will be important in countering Vardy.
Formation wise the main conundrum is who should partner Partey in central midfield. Arteta may opt for Odegaard again so that he can find room for both Ode and ESR but, as was highlighted in comments yesterday, this has not been a successful approach so far and Ode seems to work better when playing in a more advanced position. It’s a toss up today whether he gets the nod ahead of Lacazette (I can’t see ESR being dropped as he’s the best player in our team right now).
Lokonga has generally impressed when given a chance and Maitland-Niles had a very good game against Leeds earlier in the week, so El Patron has options, even with Xhaka on the long term injury list.
Unless there are any injuries we don’t know about (and working on the basis that Tierney is unlikely to be available) here’s my predicted line-up:
Tomayisu – White – Gabriel – Tavares
Lokonga – Partey
Saka – Lacazette – Smith Rowe
Whenever I see images of a fox hunt my sympathies are with the hunted animal, but not today.
Tally Ho Arsenal: let’s get another win under our belt.
High energy, not letting a wide Vardy get in behind ( set the dogs on him, otherwise). Close 2-1 win and up to 5th, please Gunners.
Happy Birthday to a seventies great, Bob Wilson, 80 years old today. ” The pride at wearing that big golden cannon on your chest”.
Arsenal v Sunderland in Carrierbag. Come on you Gunners.
Excellent Post, Rocky! 👍
I always think we should beat Leics (usually no reason other than bias) but often, as you said, we have gone out trying to overwhelm them with all out attack, (especially at home) and lose to an opportunistic, whippet quick goal from Vardy.
As usual, I am living in hope today – fingers, toes and eyes crossed, just like LBG. 🙃
Liverpool v Leicester.
Brentford v Chelsea.
Arsenal v Sunderland
Tottenham v West Ham.
Can’t really complain about that.
Same starting XI as the team that faced Villa so three points for the Gunners would make it a very good day indeed…
And then of course, there were wins, home and away, in that 5000-1 season when we should have won the League, with more discipline.
Thanks for the great pre-match
4:1 to the Arsenal
Not often I get 11 out of 11.
But the fact that it’s getting easier to predict our first team must be a good sign, right?
Thanks Rocky! Excellent preview spot on with the team selection!
And what a way we started the game!
Not just the goals but the sheer determination, the concentration and the style of play.
What a start!
Leicester got back into it in the last 20 mins (partly through some sloppy moments on our part).
Ramsdale’s kicking has been a bit off but what a save from the FK!
We need to refocus at HT and make sure we keep control of the game in the first 20 of the second half.
Cut out the diagonals to Vardy, and up the competitiveness in midfield to dampen that Leicester creativity.
Certainly you expect Leicester fighting at home but Arsenal play some maturity. Not losing heads even when they make a mistake and that’s an achievement from the young team we have.
How can you concede the midfield so easily. MOM with 60 mins gone…Ramsdale.
Some on odegard this is the kind of game we bought u for
Rough house Leicester, and proof we are now tougher and no easy pushover in competitive games. Solid, thoughtful defending from a settled set of players.
@LBG well phraised compliment! Love it!
Ramsdale showing his quality. Get in!
In the first half ALL our team were MoTM.
Leics were tactically better in the 2nd half, for 25 minutes, or so, but Ramsdale was tremendous throughout and was clearly the MoTM.
I love it when we play like that – just a slight whiff of Arsene’s early years with terrific Arsenal defence, as well as the intoxicating attacking options we have.
Your ’11 from 11′ team prediction was spot on Rocky – well done sir!
We were outstanding for 25 minutes then were mostly hanging on afterwards.
However, we defended well (Ramsdale being the standout defensive player) and deserved the points.
I would like to see us mature further to the point where we can have more control of MF when we’re ahead in games, but that will come in time.
The Arteta recovery continues apace.
Watford at home next, followed by Liverpool away. By the time we go to Anfield we will hopefully be full of confidence and ready to derail the Scousers’ bandwagon. 😀
“In the first half ALL our team were MoTM”
Very true Redders.
One more win (by two goals or more) and we’ll have a positive goal difference 🙂
It’s not often you dominate for 90 minutes so it’s normal that the home team will create some pressure but in general we coped and later in the 2nd half I could see us getting a 3rd, our game management has improved, our corners and throw-ins as well, all the new boys are contributing and there’s a definite spirit growing in this group, call it belief or confidence but I like it.
What a lovely day!
Poor old Totteringham. Poor old Shitty! ( Well done PV!) Poor old Liverpool, AND England bash the Aussies.
AFC move on up. Good to see, really.
However, again after a very bright first 25, it was seriously hit and miss.
Ramsdale saved the teams bacon. MOTM for sure, but does not bode well going forward.
Team just can’t hold onto the ball, and run out of steam going forward.
Yet, Arteta is moving the backline up crunching space, so opposition not getting clean runs through the middle off the park untouched.
Defense is getting sorted, but not enough chance creation yet, it will come back to bite the team in the long run.
Onward and upward though!
To be fair Aaron when odegard came on he gave saka 2 or 3 balls for him to kill the game and he didn’t even hit the target
Great pre match, great win, great day.
Got to say Arsenal are looking more like the Arsenal of Gorgeous George Graham’s teams at set piece than I can remember for thirty years. Take a bow Nico Jover.