Back to the Premier League we go after dispatching the to do is to dare lot from up the road. The hope is that Tottenham have done us a favour by allowing us to inject some much needed belief into our veins, it will almost certainly be a completely different team to the one that started at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, but you would still hope that the mood around the camp will be pretty good with the aftermath of the Chelsea result disappearing into the distance.
This fixture last season ended up as a rather frustrating 1-1 draw. It was played on the 31st August 2014 so it was even earlier into the season than it is at present. I wanted to look back at the highlights to refresh my memory and a number of things struck me. So much has changed in 12 months and it just goes to show how quickly teams can evolve, improve or fall away. Firstly this was the line up from that fixture.
Debuchy first choice right back, 4-1-4-1 system, Özil starting from the left, Alexis on the right, Sanogo leading the line not to mention the development of the team being at much earlier stage. While this Arsenal team has not hit the heights of the second half of last season we are a much better team today but so are Leicester City who have impressed everybody with a terrific end to last season and a convincing start to this.
Interestingly, Alexis scored his first Premier League goal at the King Power Stadium and given how frequently these strange little patterns follow in football, I am expecting Alexis to open his account this afternoon. He made a difference when he came on in midweek and looked threatening even if his finishing let him down once or twice during the time he was on the field.
Arsène Wenger said that Francis Coquelin will not be available for today so it will be interesting to see what Arsène does in that area. Mikel Arteta would have been next in line before Wednesday but Mathieu Flamini's match winning performance may have changed the managers mind. The decision may not just be about the mindset of the players but Leicester have quick players who may well be used on the break against us, for all of Arteta's quality, his ability to get across the pitch wasn't his strength a few years back, let alone now so Mathieu Flamini may be the better option in that regard at least.
The other option is to of course not give a monkeys about the defensive midfield position, and just partner Cazorla alongside Ramsey, giving Oxlade-Chamberlain the freedom of the right but I'm not sure the balance would be too clever even if it would look like a hell of a lot of fun.
Ahh I almost forgot, Gabriel is not available for the game because he stayed on the field for too long at Chelsea after being sent off for a sending off that (according to the FA) should not have happened. Yeah I know, I am confused also. Anyway having Mertesacker coming into the team in his place is just excellent really for a forced change isn't it?
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up
We all know who Leicester City's danger man will be. Riyad Mahrez looks a very exciting player and he was impressive at the Emirates last season when the Foxes were probably the better side on the night even though we won the game. I enjoy watching him play I must say, the way he shifts his body and skips past challenges is very enjoyable for the neutral. It is no surprise that Leicester attack 10% more (44% to 34%) down their right hand side, the area in which he occupies. He has scored 5 goals in 7 games in a wide position so that is pretty impressive stuff. Nacho Monreal will have to be at his brilliant best and his best has been pretty damn brilliant. But Mahrez will have to be concerned about what is happening behind him because he will have Alexis to think about, so perhaps some Özil overloading on that side may bring about some joy for us.
I hope Theo Walcott gets a goal, you feel he is right on the verge of breaking into a scoring run of form after his Stoke and Zagreb goals but it may not be easy for him today. It wouldn't be surprising if Leicester defend deep, defend in numbers and look to use the counter attack. I mean people would do anything for Pizza these days so we will have to be at our one touch, quick passing best for us to find that breakthrough.
We have been waiting for the Arsenal of the cup final to turn up, maybe it is over the top optimism but I have a good feeling we will be ready both physically and technically for this one. The injustice at the Bridge (sounds like a good title for a movie) followed by a squad victory at the Lane may do the team some good, especially after what was (finishing aside) a marvelous team performance at home to Stoke City.
I fancy us today. Famous last words I know but there you have it.
Enjoy the game and check back for the usual Post Match Q&A, Podcast and Match Review.