Leicester City vs. Arsenal: How the Gunners Will Line Up in Premier League Clash

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Leicester City vs. Arsenal: How the Gunners Will Line Up in Premier League Clash
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

After their midweek exertions against Besiktas, Arsenal will get back to Premier League action this weekend with a trip to Leicester to face newly promoted Leicester City.

The Gunners will need to recuperate quickly after an intense Champions League qualifier that saw the entire squad stretched to its limit. Though Leicester have only played two Premier League games, they will be determined to put on a good show for their fans at home.

Leicester have been impressive in their first games back in the top flight, drawing 2-2 with Everton on the opening day of the season and acquitting themselves quite well in a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Foxes make up for their relative lack of quality by working their socks off for their teammates, and Arsenal will have to be cognizant of their pressing game.

Arsene Wenger does not have too much freedom in selecting some areas of his team due to injuries, but he does have some tactical freedom in midfield.

Let's look at one possible starting XI.

via lineupbuilder.com

One might notice that this is almost the same exact lineup Wenger put forth against Everton and Besiktas. It's not a coincidence, as Wenger does not have many better options at his disposal than the ones he's used recently.

He did not use Laurent Koscielny last weekend against Everton, presumably to give him some rest ahead of the Besiktas game. The Frenchman combined extremely well with Per Mertesacker in the center of defense (no surprise there) and will almost certainly retain his place at the expense of Calum Chambers barring some unforeseen circumstance.

Arsenal will have to hope that Nacho Monreal does not injure himself because he is Arsenal's only cover for the sidelined Kieran Gibbs. As long as he is fit, the Spaniard can do a very good job in relief.

Mathieu Flamini is the manager's only option in defensive midfield, following Mikel Arteta's medium-term injury. Arsenal's other midfielders and center backs will have to distribute the ball effectively to compensate for Flamini's relative inability to do so.

Jack Wilshere also deserves another spot in central midfield after a stellar performance against Besiktas. He was tremendously effective at his typical box-to-box play, driving the team forward and playing off the forwards.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

That forces the team to take an odd shape because Aaron Ramsey cannot be excluded, especially after benefiting from a full week of rest due to his suspension for the Besiktas match. 

Since he does poorer on the wing than Mesut Ozil (whom Wenger has favored on the left lately), the Welshman should start in attacking midfield with Ozil on the flank.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain provides essential speed on the right—a crucial element that Arsenal completely lack when neither he nor Theo Walcott are marauding down that side.

He has been one of the club's best players so far, taking a more direct attacking approach than his teammates and fashioning chances by himself. The Ox is therefore a necessary addition.

Finally, Alexis Sanchez will almost certainly start in the middle in the wake of Olivier Giroud's injury and his performance there against Besiktas.

Arsenal play much better with a large target man leading the line, but Alexis is a deceptively powerful forward whom Wenger earnestly believes can be deployed as a lone striker.

The Chilean did better than I thought he would against Besiktas, leading me to believe that time and practice will allow him to jell and settle into his new role. Leicester City are a good opponent for Alexis to hone his skills against.

If he develops as Arsenal fans hope, the Gunners should have no trouble hitting the back of the net.

 

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