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Preview: Arsenal vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Leicester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams with European aspirations will go head to head at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday when Arsenal welcome high-flying Leicester City to North London.

The Gunners have made a timely return to form to ensure that they are still in the running for European qualification, while Leicester also got back to winning ways last time out.

Match preview

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on June 28, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal appeared close to crisis following defeats against Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion in their first two games back after lockdown, but they have since turned that form around to get their 2019-20 campaign back on track.

A run of four successive wins across all competitions, including three in the Premier League, has lifted them up to seventh place - good enough for Europa League football and still in with a shout for Champions League qualification.

Six points is the gap to fifth-placed Manchester United as things stand, which could be difficult to bridge given the Red Devils' form but it is also far from unassailable.

Mikel Arteta's side will take particular confidence from Saturday's 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers - their first away win over a team starting the day above them in the table since September 2015 - as they upset the formbook at Molineux.

Arsenal players celebrate scoring against Wolves on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Perhaps the aspect of their upturn in form which will have pleased Arteta the most will be their defensive improvement, with Arsenal's previously leaky defence having now kept three clean sheets in a row.

It is the first time since November 2017 that the Gunners have won three league games in a row without conceding, and their record at home also shows huge signs of improvement with four clean sheets in their last six such games, having kept only one in their previous 13.

Arsenal are yet to taste a home league defeat in 2020, taking 16 points from a possible 18 in that time, including victories in each of their last four for the first time since April 2019.

By contrast, Leicester are winless away from home since New Year's Day - a five-match run from which they have taken only two points from a possible 15 - and that could stretch to six for the first time since February 2017.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring on July 4, 2020© Reuters

The Foxes did finally pick up their first win since lockdown on Saturday, though, with a 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace ending a four-game winless streak across all competitions in timely fashion.

While Jamie Vardy dominated the headlines in the wake of that result - and rightly so after joining the exclusive Premier League 100 club - in the grander scheme of things it was a crucial victory which allowed Leicester to keep hold of their top-four place.

Chelsea and Manchester United are both hot on their heels, though, and considering Leicester must still face United - as well as Arsenal, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur - in their final five games, there is little margin for error.

The Gunners also have a difficult upcoming run of fixtures - including the North London derby at Tottenham this weekend - but if they are able to extend their winning run against Leicester then their outside hopes of Champions League qualification would be given another valuable boost.

Arsenal Premier League form: WLLWWW
Arsenal form (all competitions): LLWWWW

Leicester Premier League form: LWDDLW
Leicester form (all competitions): WDDLLW

Team News

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring against Sheffield United on June 28, 2020© Reuters

Nicolas Pepe missed the match against Wolves due to his wife giving birth, but the club-record signing is expected back for this one.

Mesut Ozil was also absent at the weekend as he continues to struggle with a back injury, although he too could be in contention to feature should he pass a late fitness test.

Arsenal have been hit worse than most teams by injuries since the restart, with Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers all out for the remainder of the season.

Alexandre Lacazette will be hoping that his goal from the bench earns him a rare start, having once again seen Eddie Nketiah chosen ahead of him last time out.

Leicester will give James Maddison every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the match, although the playmaker could miss out again.

Ben Chilwell and Ayoze Perez will also undergo late fitness tests after both being forced off against Palace - Chilwell suffered an Achilles issue and so is less likely to recover in time whereas Ayoze got a knock to his ankle.

Ricardo Pereira and Daniel Amartey remain sidelined for the Foxes, but Brendan Rodgers could once again start both Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho after both scored last time out.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Soyuncu, Fuchs; Ayoze, Ndidi, Tielemans, Barnes; Iheanacho, Vardy

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We say: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester

This is a fascinating contest, especially given Arsenal's recent upturn in form. The Gunners have been good at home while Leicester have struggled on the road, so we are going against the league table and predicting an Arsenal win.

Leicester have not won a league game away to the Gunners since 1973, and that 47-year drought could be prolonged again this week.

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Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring on July 4, 2020
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Great BritainGreat Britain45110
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Tuesday's key events

· Team GB trio Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth all have realistic medal hopes in the women's event (10.30pm-1am)

· After an impressive opening day, Great Britain play their final group game against a Fiji side level with them at the top of the pool, but also yet to hit their brilliant best (1.30am)

· After disappointment for friend and housemate Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden will go for gold in the women's +67kg category (2am-2.30pm)
· Mahama Cho is another medal contender for Team GB in the men's +80kg class (2am-2.30pm)

· Team GB's Duncan Scott has the chance to claim his first individual Olympic medal in the men's 200m freestyle final. Teammate Tom Dean is also involved. (2.43am)
· Kathleen Dawson is the Team GB representative in the women's 100m backstroke final (2.51am)

· Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson will look to emulate Tom Daley and Matty Lee's success in the women's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

· Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin is part of a Team GB team going for gold in the dressage team Grand Prix final (9.30am)

· Superstar Simone Biles leads the United States side in the women's team final (11.45am-2.10pm)

· Team GB's women's team play their final group game, taking on Canada with qualification for the knockout rounds already secured (12pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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