It may just be the second game week of the 2016/17 EPL season, but it hasn’t been short of excitement so far. Today, last year’s surprise champions, Leicester City, take on the runners up, Arsenal. In case you’re wondering where you can watch the live coverage of the match, we’ve got Livestream links for you, but we’ll get to that later. Let’s start off with a little background.
Leicester City welcome Arsenal in King Power Stadium as both teams look to bounce back from their disappointing opening day defeats. Two players form Leicester — The 2015/16 EPL Player of the Season, Riyad Mahrez, and Leicester City’s top scorer, Jamie Vardy, will be under scurrility as it was widely reported that Arsenal offered bids to sign them. But for the fan, this will only make the game that much more enthralling.
Leicester began the new campaign on a disappointing note last week, losing 2-1 away to Hull City in their first game of the season. The transfer of N’Golo Kante, arguably Leicester’s most influential player last season, to Chelsea has clearly left a void in their midfield. The absence of Kante was clearly felt in their opening week defeat to Hull City, whom were promoted to the Premier League this season after spending a year in the Championship.
However, Leicester fans will be have a few silver linings to bring to this game. Last year’s EPL player of the tournament, Riyad Mahrez, who was dilly dallying on his contract amid interest from the elite clubs of Europe including Arsenal, has finally agreed a to a deal that will keep him at Leicester City until 2020.
In addition, Robert Huth will be back for the encounter after sitting out the opening game of the 2016/17 EPL season due to suspension. His presence in back of the Leicester formation can be very helpful to tighten their defenses.
Another player under the limelight will be last year’s top scorer for Leicester, Jamie Vardy. Arsenal were in pursuit of the England international and were almost certain to get his signature before the Euros in the summer. However, a change in heart led him to eventually commit his future to Leicester for another four years.
After a 4-3 thrashing at home in the hands of a rampant Liverpool side in the opening game of the 2016/17 EPL season last week, Arsenal seek to send out a message that they are back to business by defeating last year’s champions, Leicester City.
Arsenal have not made any new signings so far in this summer window other than the little known 21-year-old Japanese striker, Takuma Asano. But if there’s one team in the EPL that has a severe need to strengthen its squad, both in the forward and the defense, it’s Arsenal. And while they have heavily been linked to the Valencia and German International defender Shkodran Mustafi, an agreement has yet to be reached, despite insistence from the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger that they are ready to spend.
Laurent Koscielny will slot into the defense to add more maturity and authority to the young and inexperienced back 4 that faced Liverpool last week. Due to the injuries of Gabriel and Mertesacker, Holdings and Chamber had to form a makeshift defense that shipped in four goals against Liverpool in the opening game of the season.
Leicester City vs Arsenal (Key Stats):
- Leicester have lost all four games against Arsenal in their last two seasons in the Premier League. Arsenal are unbeaten against Leicester in their last 19 meetings (13 wins and six draws).
- Arsenal have not lost two consecutive opening league games since the inaugural season of the EPL (1992/93).
- Arsenal have a joint-record of four EPL hat-tricks (Dennis Bergkamp, Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry and Alexis Sanchez) against Leicester City. They are joint with Manchester United in scoring the most against one team (Man United vs Newcastle).
- Should Leicester City win the game against Arsenal, it will be Claudio Ranieri’s 100th Premier League win as a manager.
- If Leicester lose to Arsenal today, it will be the first time since 1981-82 (Aston Villa) that the reigning champion of England have lost two opening league games of the season.
People living in the United States can catch the action live by going to NBC Sports Live at 12:30 pm EST.
People living in the U.K. can visit the BTSports site to watch the match that kicks off at 5:30 pm BST.
[Photo by Matt Dunham/AP Images]