Arsenal vs Leicester City: 2017-18 Premier League

Arsenal vs Leicester City: 2017-18 Premier League

 

19.45 BST – Arsenal vs Leicester City

 

Arsenal vs Leicester City: 2017-18 Premier League

Premier League season gets underway on a Friday night for the first time ever as Craig Shakespeare’s Foxes visit the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal have won their top-flight opener just once in the last seven seasons, while Leicester have won only one in eight years
Visitors have not tasted victory in any of their last 21 league meetings with the Gunners, losing 14
Arsenal have won their last 10 home league matches against tonight’s opponents, whose last away win against the FA Cup holders came 34 years ago
Alexis Sanchez is sidelined with an abdominal injury, while Leicester midfield duo Danny Drinkwater and Vicente Iborra are both out injured
Season previews: Arsenal, Leicester
IBTimes UK writers reveal season predictions ahead of Premier League 2017-18 kick-off

So how did these two sides fare during pre-season?

Arsenal vs Leicester City: 2017-18 Premier League

Arsenal, after finally ending the damaging speculation regarding Wenger’s future that cast such a shadow over their 2016-17 campaign, recorded back-to-back victories over Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers in Australia.

They then headed to the Far East, where they beat Bayern Munich on penalties before suffering a sobering defeat to Chelsea in Beijing.

The hosts retained the Emirates Cup despite following a 5-2 thrashing of Benfica with a narrow loss to Sevilla and got revenge over Antonio Conte’s men at Wembley.

Jamie Vardy, who memorably turned down a move to Arsenal in the summer of 2016, has scored all of Leicester’s last three Premier League goals against the Gunners.

He will be hopeful of continuing that record tonight as he leads the line.

Iheanacho and Slimani are only on the bench for Leicester, while the formerly injury-stricken Matty James makes his first Premier League start since May 2015.

Maguire does indeed partner Morgan and, unlike many of the other players linked with transfers in the remaining weeks of the window, Riyad Mahrez takes his place on the wing amid reported interest from the likes of AS Roma and tonight’s opponents Arsenal.

He made it very clear earlier this summer that he believes his future likes away from the East Midlands.

Ozil is deemed fit enough to start for the hosts, who name Mustafi, Coquelin and Ramsey as substitutes. Mertesacker does not make the matchday squad, meaning that Petr Cech dons the captain’s armband.

Kolasinac and Lacazette start as expected, although there is no sign of Wilshere.

Leicester are without influential midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who is nursing a thigh strain as he continues to be linked with a potential move to Chelsea.

Vicente Iborra, a £10.5m summer addition from Sevilla, sustained a groin strain in training earlier this week and Shakespeare is currently awaiting the results of a scan to determine how long he will be without the Spaniard.

New £25m striker Kelechi Iheanacho has now recovered from a toe injury, although it remains to be seen if he can complete a full 90 minutes. Islam Slimani is set to be involved after suffering a bad gash to the back of his knee that required stitches.

Harry Maguire is expected to make his debut as a centre-back partner for captain Wes Morgan, with Robert Huth scheduled to feature for the under-23s on Monday as he continues to work his way back from ankle surgery.

Nampalys Mendy is also back in training.

Before we provide a summer overview, let’s run you through all the latest team news.

For the hosts, contract rebel Alexis Sanchez’s bout of flu has been followed by an abdominal strain picked up in training before last weekend’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea that looks set to keep him sidelined for two weeks.

Mesut Ozil (ankle) and Aaron Ramsey (calf) are expected to play some part tonight after missing that ABBA penalty shootout success, likewise captain Per Mertesacker who was forced off in the first half at Wembley after sustaining a nasty cut over his right eye during a collision with Gary Cahill.

Long-term absentees Gabriel Paulista and Santi Cazorla remain out, while Laurent Koscielny is suspended following his brainless red card against Everton on the final day of last season that saw him miss the FA Cup final.

Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere are doubtful and defender Shkodran Mustafi may remain short of match fitness after his exertions at the Confederations Cup that forced a late return to pre-season training.

Imposing defender Sead Kolasinac and club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette could both make their competitive debuts for the Gunners.

Good evening and a very warm welcome to IBTimes UK’s live coverage of the opening game of the 2017-18 Premier League season, which, for the first time ever, is taking place on a Friday evening.

Tonight’s curtain-raiser comes from the Emirates Stadium in north London, where FA Cup holders Arsenal, who tied Arsene Wenger down to a new contract despite last year missing out on a top-four finish for the first time in 21 years, play host to a Leicester City side whose inevitably unsuccessful title defence certainly proved eventful with Claudio Ranieri ruthlessly dismissed before Craig Shakespeare’s promotion coincided with a run to the Champions League quarter-finals and an end to any relegation fears.

Stay tuned for a review of these two clubs’ respective summers in addition to all the latest injury and selection news. We will have confirmed lineups for you as soon as they drop and live minute-by-minute updates after kick-off at 19.45 BST.

It’s good to be back!

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