Unai Emery

'Leicester’s Pace & Movement Will Frighten Arsenal'

The Daily Mirror's Chief Football Writer, John Cross, says Arsenal will be wary of Leicester City's movement and creativity in midfield at King Power Stadium on Saturday.
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- The Daily Mirror's Chief Football Writer, John Cross, previews Leicester City's clash with Arsenal
- Unai Emery's men visit King Power Stadium on Saturday (5:30pm GMT kick-off)
- Cross says the Gunners will be 'nervous' about City's creative spark in midfield areas
- However, he believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a key man for Arsenal in Leicester

The Gunners head into the 12th matchday of the 2019/20 Premier League season in fifth place, six points behind Brendan Rodgers' Foxes, following four consecutive draws in all competitions.

On Wednesday, Unai Emery's men were pegged back in the 90th minute by Vitória S.C. in the UEFA Europa League, the fourth time in a row the north London outfit have lost a lead.

"That's their biggest concern," Cross told LCFC.com this week. "There's potential there and they’ve got cracking talent, but it’s a bit of a confidence thing and there’s also some defensive issues there.

"They are still frail and vulnerable defensively, but that’s not just the back four, it starts right from the front really. I still don’t think we’ve seen what Emery’s first choice starting XI is. 

I think Leicester will be on the front foot and will probably try and take full advantage.

John Cross The Daily Mirror

"There’s a few issues. I do think they’re missing a few players. [Kieran] Tierney’s beginning to play now, but [Héctor] Bellerin is a big miss because he’s a very good player.

"[Rob] Holding is finding his feet as well, so there’s a couple of injury issues behind it, and they’re looking for a settled team, a bit of confidence and belief."

Cross believes Leicester are favourites for Saturday's Filbert Way encounter. However, he does insist that playing on Wednesday, instead of Thursday, in midweek could benefit the Gunners.

"I think Arsenal will be very nervous about it to be honest," he continued. "I think Leicester’s pace and movement and their creativity in midfield will frighten Arsenal.

"They’re very vulnerable at the moment, they’re not playing with any great belief or style, and it’s a game that will worry Arsenal.

First Team

Rodgers: We Treat Every Game As A Big Game

Manager Brendan Rodgers speaks to the national media ahead of Saturday's match against Arsenal at King Power Stadium.

"Therefore, I think Leicester will be on the front foot and will probably try and take full advantage. 

"Playing in midweek is weird. Playing on a Thursday night almost becomes a mental block. It really shouldn’t and I think it will seem slightly better for Arsenal this week.

"Their Europa League game was on a Wednesday night and they play on a Saturday… it’s the same time different, but there’s something weird about playing Thursday-Sunday.

"It throws English teams in a way you can’t really understand, so that might give Arsenal a slight boost, but I still think Leicester start as a favourites."

Tasked to pick just one Arsenal player who Foxes fans should monitor closely on Saturday, Cross was unequivocal in his choice - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored eight top flight goals this term.

"Let’s be honest here, without Aubameyang’s goals, without his energy and enthusiasm, Arsenal would be in real trouble," he added. "He’s just so prolific.

Expand photo
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains an enormous threat in attacking positions.

"He’s been Arsenal’s salvation basically. Now they’ve made him captain and therefore they will hope he will take even greater responsibility.

"It’s been a really difficult time. A lot of people misunderstand the importance of [Alexandre] Lacazette in Arsenal’s team too.

"Some people forget that Lacazette was Arsenal’s Player of the Year last season. He works hard, he leads the play and he’s quite prolific himself, but he’s been out with injury.

"He’s finding his feet, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the most important player for Arsenal, by some distance, is Aubameyang."

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