Three games left, three games we must win.
There is no more room left for error, and our recent away games have left us with the outcome out of our hands. From pursuing Tottenham for third spot, we now face the very real prospect of sitting outside the top four for a third consecutive season.
That is unless we win these three games.
With Chelsea facing Man United meaning at least one of these will drop points, we have still got a great chance of reaching the hallowed quartet at the top of the table. Do we believe that we can manage that though?
On recent performances, that would be a no.
Our away form is what has hamstrung us, and the defeats to Wolves, Everton and Crystal Palace have been dismal affairs. With two of our remaining games coming away from home, we will need to immediately rectify our struggling form on the road if we are to keep up the pressure on our rivals.
That starts with this game against Leicester.
The Foxes are a formidable outfit, and the last time we played them at the King Power, we left with our tails between our legs with a 3-1 scoreline. Brendan Rodgers has his team full of confidence, and with Jamie Vardy banging in the goals, ably supplied by the swaggering James Maddison, we face a team that will be an equal test to those of Wolves and Everton.
Our eleven looked dead on their feet against Wolves, who can Unai Emery call on to lift the team?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left out of the squad entirely for the defeat to Wolves, but could come straight in, with his fresh legs sure to make a difference. Emery could opt for a sole striker system, and that could mean Lacazette on the bench.
Lucas Torreira was very lucky to stay on the bench midweek, after a rash tackle could have earned a straight red. The Uruguayan can’t do the work on his own, and a midfield three could be the answer, with Guendouzi and Xhaka coming in.
That would mean a back four, and the partnership of Sokratis and Koscielny will no doubt keep their place – simply because there isn’t another option! Kolasinac was another who missed the Wolves game, so could come in for Monreal.
Player to Watch
The England striker has previous against us, and if the Foxes are to come knocking, you can guarantee that Vardy will be the man on the doorstep. His pace and constant buzzing around to snaffle the ball will give our confidence-sapped players nightmares, and his finishing isn’t bad either.
How This Could Go
Leicester have the players to hurt us. James Maddison is a set-piece specialist and has the repertoire to rip us open to feed Vardy. We MUST stay in the game until the second half, and if the game is all square, then we can try to stretch the game.
Emery mentioned that we need to have a plan B if our original tactic of expansive play isn’t working. We need to hold firm when things aren’t going our way.
Against Wolves, we started well, but we crumbled when they scored. It is an alarming trait we have had all season on our travels, and one that Rodgers will be aware of. He faces the dilemma of deciding whether to go for it from the off or to sit back and hit us on the break, and our defence is key.
Sokratis and Koscielny have enough experience to deal with what will be thrown at them. The ball will be primarily on the deck and Vardy will be on the shoulder of either of them, waiting to be set free. It is up to them to mark him tightly and go with his runs.
That will create space, so Torreira needs to either close up that space or nip the move in the bud before it happens. That means getting his teeth into Maddison.
If we can transition the ball quickly, then we can score. If we get the first goal, we need to sit tight for the next ten minutes as that is when we are at our weakest, and then settle.
This game is going to be a tough cookie to crack, but with our squad, we must be optimistic. Lose this game and it is curtains for our Premier League Top Four hopes.
Come On You Gunners!!!
Predicted Lineup: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Predicted Scoreline – 1-2 to The Arsenal