The Premier League is finally back this weekend and we will kick it off with a free betting preview for the match between Arsenal and Leicester.
Arsenal’s team news are better than earlier in the week, but it’s far from brilliant as Sanchez and Koscielny headline those who are absent, which is a real loss at both ends. Five are out in total, while Ozil, Mertesacker, Ramsey, Coquelin and Mustafi are all doubts, none being likely to start. A team similar to the Community Shield lineup is anticipated, but it’s not full strength. Given their relatively poor team news, a -1 AH could be tricky to overcome. Motivation levels won’t be a problem, and they’ll feel they can beat Leicester to put a marker down to the competition. Anything less than a win won’t do but their last four home meetings with Leicester haven’t been won by more than a single goal. A result is all that counts at this point, so they won’t worry how it comes. A total goals line of 3 gives fair reflection that this could be an open, end to end contest, but with Arsenal not being at their best in attack they may struggle to really carve out chances. They will aim to control the ball and will press forward in search of a win if level late. The game could open up if Leicester lead, but the line looks well placed considering this factor.
Leicester won’t be at full strength in central areas to face Arsenal, as Huth, Drinkwater and Iborra are all out, the former pair notable absentees. Maguire and James are the most likely to fill in, but both leave the team a bit weaker. Okazaki looks set to start up front as Iheanacho isn’t quite 100%, while Mahrez is likely to feature despite ongoing speculation around his future at the club. Leicester don’t have a great record against Arsenal and have lost in their last 10 away clashes with their opponents, with the +1 AH giving reflection on the difference in quality between the teams. Leicester will feel they can get a draw, or at very least battle to a narrow defeat. They’ll set up to play on the break, being happy to allow Arsenal the ball in a bid to keep things tight. The 3 goal line suggests the match could open up, but Leicester would only really take risks if they go behind, sticking to their counter-attacking approach otherwise. They have goals in their team and will cause problems for their hosts, but they’ve not been totally free-scoring in pre-season, so they won’t relish a high scoring clash. If they lead, they’d drop in and consolidate.
Verdict & Prediction
Leicester may not have enjoyed the best of pre-seasons but can come into the season opener under little pressure to get a result, which could work to their advantage. They’ll hope to make the most of Arsenal’s personnel worries and get their campaign off to a good start by taking points. Away form was poor last season, so they won’t be expecting much from this trip, particularly as they’ve lost on their last 10 visits to Arsenal. If they could come away with a draw they’d be more than happy, giving them a platform to build a successful season moving forward.
Prediction: Leicester +1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 2.08 SBOBET, 2.05 Pinnacle
Arsenal’s Opening Day Record
2010/11: Liverpool v Arsenal (1-1)
2011/12: Newcastle v Arsenal (0-0)
2012/13: Arsenal v Sunderland (0-0)
2013/14: Arsenal v Aston Villa (1-3)
2014/15: Arsenal v Crystal Palace (2-1)
2015/16: Arsenal v West Ham (0-2)
2016/17: Arsenal v Liverpool (3-4)