Arsenal-Leicester City Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

The last time the Foxes were in the Premier League was in the 2003-04 season, when they took a point off the Gunners in a 1-1 draw at home and were beaten 2-1 at Highbury thanks to goals from Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. Leicester City were relegated that season, while Arsenal went on to win the title.

Arsene Wenger's side hasn't won the Premier League since.

This generation of Leicester City players will be hoping for much better than a relegation scrap, having come up from the Championship with ease after a heavy spending spree. However, their re-introduction to the top flight has been a tough one, with fixtures against Everton, Chelsea and now Arsenal on Sunday making it a tough run of games in August for the Foxes. Despite the tricky schedule, City have acquitted themselves well, earning a point against Everton on the opening weekend before making life difficult for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a week ago.

"The two Premier League games that we have played, you could argue that we played exceptionally well in and caused two sides that finished high in the Premier League last year problems," Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said. "It's a bit of a learning curve for us. Arsenal represent a side and a club with huge stability with success over a sustained period of time. As a blueprint for a club they are up there with the best.

"We know it will be another tough game for us but I expect our players to cause them problems and we have spoken about the best ways that we operate to try and get the three points."

Arsenal have had a slightly shaky start to the Premier League season, needing an injury-time Aaron Ramsey goal to beat Crystal Palace on the opening weekend before scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to rescue a point at Everton last time out. However, the Gunners have also had the distraction of the Champions League qualifying round, where they edged past Turkish side Besiktas with a 1-0 aggregate win over two legs, having had a player sent off in both matches.

"We produced the performance we wanted on the tactical, technical and mental side that was required against a good team," Wenger said after Wednesday night's 1-0 win at the Emirates. "We couldn't finish the game off so of course it was nervous for the last 10 minutes.

"We would have liked to have won the game earlier because it would have made it a lot easier, but we wanted to qualify and we did it against a very good team."

Summer signing Alexis Sanchez scored the winner against Besiktas and is likely to lead the line for much of the first half of the season after Olivier Giroud was ruled out for three months with a broken leg. Wenger may opt to strengthen in the transfer market before Monday's deadline, despite describing the final day of the window as "like a game of poker" in his pre-match press conference.

Leicester's latest summer signing is unlikely to start, but will provide a huge boost to the squad. Former Argentina international Esteban Cambiasso completed his move from Inter Milan on Thursday, ending a decade at the Italian club. The mercurial midfielder will add quality, experience and composure to the Leicester midfield once he is introduced.

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