Good day one and all.
Arsenal is traveling north to the King Power Stadium for a high noon confrontation with Leicester City in what may well be a last chance saloon to keep alive top-four aspirations.
The Gunners lost their way a bit in the last two Premier League fixtures as they conceded three goals in defeats to both Crystal Palace and Wolves, after conceding just one in their seven games prior (all competitions). It made the Gooniverse restless as questions are being asked as to whether they got the gumption to get over the last few hurdles as we approach the finish line. This is the same group of players that registered fine victories over United, Chelsea and Tottenham, and were impressive in draws against Liverpool and Tottenham (a) – both which they were unlucky not to win.
So why did we look so limp and stripped of any kind of heart? Is Unai Emery’s tinkering unsettling the team?
Since taking charge of the Foxes Brendan Rodgers lost his first against Watford but he look to have instilled ‘great character’ thereafter as his team won their next four. However, their last two matches were a loss and draw each, so to avoid three game winless run it’s unlikely we’ll find them in the mood to just rollover. Jamie Vardy too, who had his ups and downs under previous manager Claude Puel, seem to have got an arm around his shoulder and whispers of nonsensical motivational mantra into his ear as he comes into this game having scored six goals in their last six matches.
There’s no hiding that Arsenal was a bit sh** this past week but the battle for Champions League places is not over yet and it will arguably makes little sense to rest and rotate with two weeks left this campaign. Although Europa offers another path for a return to Europe’s premier club competition, being ‘at the beach’ would not be ideal preparation ahead of Thursday night – which indeed pose an interesting selection dilemma for Emery.
Win this afternoon and we will move to within a point of Totnum and also put added pressure on both Chelsea and Manutd – who face each other later at Old Trafford – as the loser may well find themselves out of the top-four race.
That being said, the Gunners’ away form has been pretty dire and beating the Foxes at the KP is a task easier said than done. So while this is a tough one to call, I think we can expect to see a very interesting game because both teams are going to slug it out, and if push comes to shove… the Gunners just need to dig deep.