Arsenal face last season champions Leicester today in what is expected to be a grueling and closely-contested Premier League fixture, as both sides will be aiming to clinch all three points.
The first round of the 2016/17 Premier League season saw the two best teams in the English top flight the previous season ending the game in disappointing style and for the first time since 1953, the league winners and the runners-up both lost their first match of the new season.
The Gunners missed the services of regular centre-backs Laurent Koscielny [unfit] and Per Mertesacker [injured], as well as Gabriel Paulista [injured] and this made boss Arsene Wenger go with the makeshift pairing of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. The duo were, however, exposed by the potent Liverpool attack as the Reds ran out 4-3 winners.
Meanwhile, Koscielny is expected to be recalled into the starting line-up after Wenger admitted he could take a gamble and recall a number of players for the game against The Foxes.
Koscielny, brilliant creator Mesut Ozil and striker Olivier Giroud missed the game against Liverpool and they could all return to face Leicester later today.
In goal, Petr Cech is expected to resume duties after leaking in four goals last weekend. The Czech goalie will be looking to keep a clean sheet today and he will be boosted with the presence of the experienced Koscielny in front of him.
Hector Bellerin should also start from the right back position, while his fellow compatriot Nacho Monreal is also likely to start from the left back position. However, it is highly likely that Chambers will be the centre-half partner for Koscielny.
Summer signing from Borussia Monchengladbach Granit Xhaka will start alongside Francis Coquelin in the central midfield position – with Aaron Ramsey out injured. But Wenger could decide to start the more experience Santi Cazorla, who impressed when he was introduced in the dying minutes of last weekend’s game.
Alexis Sanchez should launch assault on the Leicester defence from the left wing today, with Ozil returning to play in the hole behind the striker. While Theo Walcott is still expected to start from the right side of attack, as Chris Iwobi is battling a thigh injury.
French striker Olivier Giroud should lead the line for Arsene Wenger’s side as they go all out for their first points of the season.
Arsenal’s predicted starting XI: Cech; Bellerin, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Walcott, Elneny, Sanchez; Giroud.