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Arsenal vs Leicester: Three key battles to decide the game

The sides meet at the Emirates to open the 2017/18 Premier League season. Here are the three battles that may decide the match.


Premier League action returns tomorrow night as Arsenal host 2015/16 champions Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.

It’s a chance to see record signing Alexandre Lacazette in competitive action, though the Gunners are likely to be without Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Riyad Mahrez, moreover, will line up for Leicester despite his public desire to leave the club during the window. In actual fact, he might ultimately be playing against the club he’d be leaving the Foxes to join.

You can read our preview for Arsenal vs Leicester HERE.

Alexandre Lacazette vs Harry Maguire

The two new signings are expected to face off from the start against each other. Both were big money captures who bring with them a lot of expectation and promise.

Maguire was one of Hull City’s brighter sparks in their relegation campaign last season and is excellent carrying the ball out from defence. It will be interesting to see if he plays in that typically risky fashion against an Arsenal side who will want to be challenging for the title.

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Lacazette is a striker who has built his reputation on finding space and being clinical in the box. His sharpness could prove troublesome for a less mobile and agile Maguire.

It is crucial the Frenchman gets off to a good start, especially if they lose the goals Alexis Sanchez brought to the table.. It’s a case of putting their right foot forward, but in truth only one can win when a striker battles a centre-back.

Riyad Mahrez vs Sead Kolasinac

The new Arsenal left back is already somewhat of a cult hero. His big, burly presence and powerful forays forward have got Arsenal fans excited, especially after scoring the crucial equaliser in their Community Shield win over Chelsea.

However, he is likely to be deployed as a left wing back, with Arsene Wenger sticking with the 3-4-2-1 formation. As dangerous as Arsenal look in attack playing this system, they are susceptible at the back, and inevitably leave space in behind their wing backs.

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It’s in this space that Mahrez does his best work. He’s often a quiet presence on the right flank, but he’s a menace with the ball at his feet when he wants to be and the Algerian will punish Kolasinac if given too much space.

If Mahrez is on form, he could thrive in the space Arsenal may give him. It’s no secret that the Algerian is itching for a move away from Leicester, but he is unplayable on his day. If his head is in the right place, could prove a nightmare for the Gunners to deal with.

Jamie Vardy vs Rob Holding

This will be a very interesting matchup between the two Englishmen. Jamie Vardy is a menace for defenders, often pulling out to the channels and in the spaces between the centre-backs with his movement and rapid pace.

Vardy is a fan of pulling out to the left and trying to get in behind, meaning he could be Rob Holding’s problem, who plays on the right of the back three.

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The youngster had a very good first season at Arsenal last campaign, despite it being his first year of Premier League football. He forced his way into the side towards the end of the season when Wenger switched to a three at the back and is ideally suited playing as the wide centre-half with his composure on the ball.

However, Vardy won’t give the former Bolton defender any time to play out from the back, so it will be intriguing to see if the youngster changes his style to deal with the experienced striker.

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Harry Brooks

Harry graduated from UAL in Elephant and Castle with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in sports journalism.

He has an NCTJ diploma and also coaches football and teaches PE in schools.

Harry loves to talk football tactics!

Arsenal vs Leicester: Three key battles to decide the game

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