Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Leicester City V Arsenal
Saturday 20th August. 5:30PM. BT Sport 1
After returning with a bang last weekend, the new Premier League promises to serve up another fascinating early season cracker on Saturday evening as last year’s runners-up head to the home of the champions.
Both Leicester and Arsenal began their respective campaigns with disappointing defeats last weekend, meaning that the need for points could scarcely be higher. Will either side bounce back with three points, or will the rivals be forced to settle for a point a piece?
Whatever happens, it should be a fantastic contest. Do not miss it.
Foxes Face Frantic Fight
After the fairytale run to the Premier League title in 2015-16, last weekend’s loss to newly promoted Hull was a reality check for Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes. But while a repeat of last year’s heroics is unlikely, the champions can remain optimistic about the campaign ahead. A win against the Gunners would go a long way to rebuilding the momentum.
The loss of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, along with the absence of Robert Huth, was quite evident in last weekend’s performance. However, Leicester’s squad still boasts plenty of quality, especially in the attacking third. If the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez can produce the goods, there’s no reason that the Foxes can’t take advantage of Arsenal’s defensive vulnerabilities.
Leicester made the King Power a real fortress last term, winning 12 and drawing six of their 19 Premier League home games. But that singular loss was inflicted by the Gunners. On the other hand, they were just seconds away from a draw in the reverse clash at the Emirates. With a similar level of performance here, they’d have a fantastic chance of picking up their first point(s) of the new campaign.
Nobody expects the Foxes to retain their title, but Ranieri’s men will want to be challenging for the European places. To make this happen they will need to table some points at the earliest stage. With the home fans rocking in the first home game as defending champions, anything is possible.
Arsenal Gunning For Instant Reply
Questions were raised before a ball was even kicked, but last weekend’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool confirmed the fears regarding Arsenal’s defence. If Arsenal are to get anything from their first away game of the season, they simply must do better in those areas.
On a brighter note, three goals suggests that the Gunners are more than capable of getting themselves out of danger with their immense attacking quality. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be eager to build on last week’s goals while Alexis Sanchez and co can be confident about putting in a strong performance on a ground where the visitors clinched a 5-2 victory last term.
It’s far from doom and gloom for Arsenal, but the critics are already baying for Wenger’s blood. A win at the home of the champions could be the catalyst to rebuilding the optimism around the Emirates. The pressure is on, but they are capable of responding in style.
Leicester and Arsenal provided us with two enthralling battles. Let’s hope for more of the same in what has already been a cracking start to the 2016-17 season.
Leicester City V Arsenal Betting
Despite conceding home advantage, it’s Arsenal who are favourites to bounce back with a win at odds of 7/5 with Bet365. Leicester, however, aren’t being ruled out at 9/5 while the draw has been priced 12/5.
It’s hard to predict exactly how this one will go, as we’re still unsure about how Leicester will respond to having the ‘champions’ tag around their necks. However, the one thing we do expect in this game is goals.
Both sides showed defensive weaknesses last weekend. With the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, Mahrez and Vardy in action, we’re anticipating a minimum of three goals to be scored.
Over 2.5 match goals @ 8/11 with Paddy Power
After missing the penalty last week, it took Walcott just seconds to complete the transition from zero to hero by opening the scoring. While it ultimately counted for very little, the Arsenal man can be hopeful of a big season as he looks to work his way into Sam Allardyce’s England plans.
Whether he plays up top or on the right wing, his pace can cause problems for the Foxes. We’re predicting a second goal in as many games for the No.14.
Theo Walcott to score anytime @ 5/2 with BetFred