Nearly a year ago to the day was the last time Leicester City visited the Emirates Stadium. That day the Foxes lost 2-1 and found themselves at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table, relegation all but certain.
But somehow, someway Nigel Pearson’s side managed to win six of their final eight matches to remain in the top flight and now find themselves in first place. Five points clear of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
And while Leicester City’s Cinderella story has them poised for one of the most improbable title runs in recent memory, manager Claudio Ranieri insists, as reported by Sky Sports News HQ, that the clubs change in fortune doesn’t put any more pressure on them.
The pressure is about the other teams. Arsenal have a lot of pressure, because they spend a lot of money every year.
Why do we have pressure? Why must I feel pressure? We just continue to dream with our fans. Nobody wake us up, please.
No one can blame the 64-year-old Italian for shrugging off the supposed pressure on his club. For all intents and purposes, the Foxes are playing with house money, since they are the league leaders and don’t have to worry about any other competitions.
Then again, Arsenal are only one of two teams that have beaten Leicester City in the Premier League (Liverpool the other), a wild 5-2 affair at the King Power early in the season.
But in the 18 matches since then, Arsenal have claimed 35 out of a possible 54 points, whereas Leicester City have captured 41, a span which finds them top of the table.
I think we work so hard to achieve this level, we want to stay at this level. But there’s no pressure for us.
This Sunday, there’s no question that Leicester come to the Emirates with momentum behind them. In their matches since the calendar switched to 2016, the Foxes are unbeaten (four wins and two draws), including last week’s 3-1 thrashing of Manchester City at the Etihad.
However, it is not all doom and gloom for the Gunners, who are coming off a crucial 2-0 victory against Bournemouth. In fact, Arsene Wenger’s side have won their last eight home Premier League matches against Leicester City and are unbeaten against the Foxes in their last 18 matches (12 wins).
The pressure is not on Leicester City since they will remain on top of the table no matter what the outcome of Sunday’s match. The pressure is squarely on Wenger’s side, who haven’t won the Premier League in 12 seasons.
If Arsenal hope to end their drought, they must avoid breaking the hearts of their supporters on Valentine’s Day and summon the scoring touch they had on that late September afternoon.