Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Arsenal vs Leicester

Written by Sam Hopkinson

As Bob Dylan warbled, the times they are a-changin‘. In beating Manchester City so comfortably, the Foxes announced their intention to win the league and make fools of everyone who said they couldn’t go the distance. Leicester have been very good value for their lead at the top, and it is Arsenal who should be nervous not the visitors. That said, the Gunners are one of the few teams to actually beat Leicester this season (and convincingly too). They need to repeat that feat if they are to maintain title ambitions of their own.

DEFENDER

Christian Fuchs

One of the best left backs in the league, and signed for free last summer. Leicester had little competition in acquiring him, their only English rivals for his signature were Championship strugglers Fulham. The 29 year old Austrian is an excellent defender, managing 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and 4 clearances per game—making him a key part of this vastly-improved Leicester defence. He earned himself an assist in the thrashing at the Etihad, and how he’d love to add another at the Emirates.

MIDFIELDER

N’Golo Kanté

Manuel Pellegrini must have wished this dynamic midfielder played his football in a different shade of blue last weekend. Kanté gave Yaya Touré and Fabian Delph the runaround and made them look very pedestrian indeed. Considering how many top sides have been looking for a talented defensive midfielder, it is absurd that no one else was willing to take a chance at £6.75 million. Perhaps it was simply because he was cheap.

STRIKER

Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez makes the picks in-play for what feels like the 26th time this season, a stat I’m sure he’s exceptionally proud of. His goal at the Etihad silenced the crowd and humiliated Demichelis at the same time. Probably the player of the year, the Algerian has gone from plucky success story to breakout star in less than a year. It’s not easy to stand out when the whole team is performing so well, but Mahrez seems to manage it most weeks. The obvious fear is that he gets poached by one of the European giants at the end of the season, but it’s still an incredible thought that Leicester’s players are targets for the likes of PSG and Real Madrid.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Mesut Özil

Another regular for the picks in-play, Özil masterminded Arsenal’s victory over Bournemouth and has become of talismanic importance to the Gunners. The Foxes represent a fantastic challenge for the German maestro—he will undoubtedly be hounded and pressed all game. If Özil manages to shrug off the strong challenges thrown his way, he ought to have a big say in who gets the points.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.