Arsenal enter the Leicester City game tomorrow at 19:45 with a sense of do-or-die which will remain until the end of the season. The Gunners are experiencing a mini-renaissance following three wins in four matches after a difficult couple of months as they are trailing fourth-place City by seven points with a game in hand.
A ruthless thumping at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League jump-started a series of negative results as the Gunners’ find the ground beneath their feet still shaking. For the first time in 20 years Champion League qualification looks unlikely. But there is hope. Wenger opted for a three-man defence in his last two games and the results were positive: a well-deserved trip to Wembley for the FA Cup final and important three points against strugglers Middlesbrough.
They now face a side that is going through similar fundamental changes. Last time the two clubs met, the Foxes were still legit defending Champions of England and still under Claudio Ranieri. Now with a new caretaker manager, revival has been temporary. The Foxes lost two and drew another two in their last four games in all competitions, getting knocked out of the Champions League and finding themselves all too close for comfort to the relegation edge.
Uncertainty and urgency rules both camps.
Bellerin lost his place to Nacho Monreal in Wenger’s new system and should the French manager opt to use it again on Wednesday, it is unlikely that the Spanish left-back will start. Giroud has gone AWOL on the pitch since February while Danny Welbeck’s return from injury and direct approach of attack is likely to get him the spot up front against Leicester.
Creative maestro, Santi Cazorla, is still a big loss to Arsenal while David Ospina (back), Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) and Lucas Perez (thigh) will watch from the stands. Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a slight doubt due to a knock sustained in the FA Cup semi-final.
Wes Morgan is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained against Atletico Madrid. Islam Silmani, Molla Wogue and Nampalys Mendy – who is out since February – will also miss the game.
Arsenal: Cech, Monreal, Holding, Koscielny, Gabriel, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Sanchez, Ozil, Welbeck
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Amartey , Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy