Arsenal fans are quick to remind everyone that their team got the better of Leicester both home and away last season, although it ultimately counted for very little as the Foxes stormed their way to the title in one of the greatest shocks in Premier League history. Winning 5-2 at the King Power Stadium and 2-1 in the reverse fixture in North London failed to derail Claudio Ranieri’s side as they finished ten points ahead of the Gunners, but while we managed to pip fierce rivals Tottenham into second after they stumbled during the latter stages, it was scant consolation for those who believe Arsenal missed a fantastic opportunity to win the title. All of the perennial contenders struggled to impose themselves, and although Coral believe they will bounce back and compete for the title in the latest Premier League betting odds, it is difficult to see Leicester giving up their crown without a fight. The fixture list has presented Arsenal with an opportunity to get one over on the defending champions once again, with a repeat of last season’s excellent performance and result most welcome to get the ball rolling at the start of our 2016/2017 campaign.
The reverse fixture was certainly a standout moment for Arsenal, with the team showing a superb clinical edge to blow Leicester away in some style. It was certainly Alexis Sanchez’s finest moment of last season, with the Chilean star enduring a difficult year despite netting a hat-trick at the King Power Stadium. Theo Walcott also made a rare contribution by pulling Arsenal level after Jamie Vardy put Leicester ahead on his way to breaking the league record for scoring in ten consecutive games; equalising five minutes after going behind provided the springboard for the Gunners to take advantage, with the Foxes having no answers to the team’s free-flowing style of play which really clicked into gear. The victory was not only the perfect response after losing 2-0 at Chelsea with just nine men, but also sparked a five-game winning streak that ultimately came to a halt as complacency took its toll once again.
Getting one over on the Foxes once again would certainly represent a statement of intent from Arsenal, particularly with the number of big managerial changes and money-spinning deals made elsewhere across the Premier League. It could prove to be the most difficult season for the Gunners to prevail, but in what could be Arsene Wenger’s last season in charge, the team need to build momentum from the start in order to make us believe that winning the title is more than possible. The impending arrival of Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia certainly makes things more interesting, with the German international likely to strengthen Arsenal’s defence at a time when Wenger is missing two of his centre-backs through injury. More reinforcements will certainly improve our Premier League betting odds with Coral to challenge the two Manchester clubs who are considered strong favourites to triumph this season, but as last year proved, anything is possible.
Facing Leicester in their own back yard will certainly pose a test for Arsenal, and although it arrives in just the second game of the season, it could offer an indication as to where the team is in regards to mounting a serious title challenge. Getting off to a strong start would certainly lift the mood amongst Arsenal fans that believe a lack of serious investment in the squad, both in terms of quantity and quality, could prove detrimental once again, but with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte taking charge of our potential title rivals, it will require the Gunners to be at their scintillating best from start to finish. Leicester will certainly not roll over and allow us to return to North London triumphant, and may find additional motivation to win the game themselves through the fact that Arsenal tried, and failed, to take Vardy away from them. The Foxes could value the clash as a chance to fire a warning shot to the rest of the league that they will not only refuse to be rolled over as many expect them to, but also they still have the quality, despite losing N’Golo Kante to Chelsea, to win the title again. Avenging the 5-2 defeat will also be on Ranieri’s agenda, but if Arsenal apply themselves in the same manner as last season, then we should feel confident about toppling the defending champions on their own turf.