It looks a lot like Mikel Arteta has picked a team to nick something, if possible. Saka is his best player and Aubameyang his most likely scorer, but neither start; though Willian was better when he came on against Benfica, he’s been largely dreadful this season; and Pepe is Pepe.
Arsenal, meanwhile, make six changes. At the back, Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari replace Hecto Bellerin and Gabriel; in midfield, Elneny is in for Dani Ceballos; and in attack, Saka, Martin Odegaard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sit at the side, with Willian, Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette replacing them.
I’m fairly surprised to see Leicester line up in 4-4-2, but it makes a lot of sense. Arsenal are strong out wide, so sticking two men on each flank will help combat that, and impetuous at the back, so two strikers might exacerbate that. Having just two in the middle of midfield could allow Arsenal to dominate in that area, but with two limited sitters in Mohamen Elneny and Granit Xhaka, that seems unlikely.
Brendan Rodgers makes four changes following that midweek disappointment: Timothy Casatagne replaces Daniel Amartey at right-back; Ricardo Pererira is in at right-midfield for Cengiz Under; on the left, Harvey Barnes resumes with Marc Albrighton takes a rest; and up front, Kelechi Iheanacho comes in with Hamza Choudhury dropping out of midfield.
Leicester City (a sophisticate’s 4-4-2): Schmeichel; Castagne, Soyuncu, Evans, Thomas; Pereira, Ndidi, Tielemans, Barnes; Iheanacho, Vardy. Subs: Ward, Albrighton, Amartey, Under, Choudhury, Mendy, Fuchs, Daley-Campbell, Tavares.
Arsenal (a circumspect 4-2-3-1): Leno; Soares, Mari, Luiz, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Willian, Smith Rowe, Pepe; Lacazette. Subs: Ryan, Bellerin, Saka, Ceballos, Odegaard, Aubameyang, Holding, Partey, Martinelli.
Song and dance man: Paul Tierney (Wigan)
There’s loads of things to love about this game but foremost among them is the tussle between two classic footballing platitudes: “This game’s all about confidence and momentum, Clive,” versus “It takes half an hour just to run the travel out of your legs, Brian.” It’s the unstoppable cliche meets the immovable truism.
Leicester come into this match on the back of a significant disappointment. They’ll have fancied themselves for a proper hack at this season’s Europa League – rightly so – and after drawing 0-0 away to Slavia Prague looked in good shape to make that happen. But they then contrived a 0-2 home defeat that will have felt extremely enervating, reminding them of the mess they made of last season’s run-in; as such, they come into this match under pressure.
Arsenal, on the other hand, arrive at the KP on a right buzz. Just when it looked like they’d arsenaled up their Europa tie against Benfica, the inspirational Bukayo Saka inspired them to victory – again – defibrillating their season in the process. But for this, they had to hike to Athens, leaving scope for a significant physical and emotional dump before we even consider the earliness of the start – on top of which Leicester need the points far more than they do.
Given all that, it’s hard to predict what might happen here. Leicester will look to start quickly – but their counter-attacking preference means they’re reliant on their opponents to commit – while Arsenal will probably rest players – but retain their own threat on the break.
Ultimately, a home win looks the most likely outcome, but the longer Arsenal can keep the game goalless the more Leicester will start to wonder.
Kick-off: 12pm GMT