We asked James O'Rourke for his best bet on Sunday's opener on Sky Sports.
Leicester v Arsenal | Sunday 28th April 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports
What looks to be the case is that no team wants to finish in fourth place! Chelsea, Arsenal and
Manchester United might be positioned 4th , 5th and 7th respectively, separated by only three points
collectively, but recent weeks has seen them stumble in their quest to make next season’s UEFA
Champions League through the league. Of course, the pressure is ever so slightly taken off Arsenal
and Chelsea considering they could still win the UEFA Europa League, but, Valencia and Frankfurt
won’t be easily brushed aside.
Focusing on The Gunners, they know they need to bounce back following back-to-back league losses to Crystal Palace and then midweek at Wolves. The Brendan Rodgers bounce at the King Power Stadium appears to have dropped off in recent times as well. A disappointing showing in losing at home to Newcastle United was backed up with an away point at West Ham United. Still, one defeat in six is anything but bad for a side such as Leicester, who themselves will still hold ambitions on finishing in seventh position. A win this weekend is therefore required to make that more of a reality, as Arsenal come to town.
You just wonder if Arsenal are putting more into the UEFA Europa League than we imagine. To get
past Napoli over two legs, winning them both, was some achievement. Valencia will be just as
though, if not tougher, but Unai Emery as we all know seems to just ‘have it’ when it comes to that
competition. He won it three times when in charge of Sevilla, all in three consecutive seasons too.
However, with Chelsea facing Man Utd this weekend, the trip to Leicester presents Arsenal with a
chance to make a real push for that fourth position.
Ask any Arsenal supporter and the dreadful away record will often become a talking point. It is just
showing no signs at all of improving. They started really brightly at Wolves in midweek, but would
concede three goals in 17 minutes to go into the break 3-0. Whilst they won at Watford recently,
they made very heavy weather of winning 1-0 versus a side with ten men for over 80 minutes.
Emery’s team only have six away league wins to their name this season, five of which came against
teams in the bottom eight places. Why on earth would you want to back them at any price on the
Leicester however have had issues on their own this season, at home funnily enough. They’ve
actually claimed more points away than they’ve done in front of their own supporters, even if only
two. Nevertheless, they’ve never really made the King Power the fortress it has been in recent years.
Seven wins and eight defeats suggests a clear lack of consistency. Losing to the likes of Liverpool,
Tottenham and Man Utd is no disgrace, but they’ve slipped up to lesser sides as well. Cardiff City,
Newcastle United and Southampton all went there and won, whilst Burnley left with a point as well.
It suggests The Foxes can struggle to break teams down. One thing in their favour however is that
Arsenal won’t turn up looking for ‘park the bus’.
Let’s not forget, Leicester did beat Man City at home, whilst an away win at Chelsea proves that they
have what it takes to defeat the bigger clubs. That was under Claude Puel as well, so this more
attack-minded Rodgers outfit will surely fancy their chances against an Arsenal side who may have
half an eye on their UEFA Europa League first leg on Thursday.
You can give me any price you want, but I am not touching Arsenal in an away game at present.
Especially to one sitting in the top half of the Premier League. They are unreliable in matches such as
this, so to see the favourites is not necessarily surprising, but it is also puzzling at the same time.
I have to go with Leicester to win, even more so when we can get 9/5 (Betfred). If Leicester can be
secure enough at the back, then they’ve got a right chance in this one. Arsenal will certainly concede
chances that the likes of Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and co will relish.
Leicester to win – 9/5 (Betfred)