Arsenal vs Leicester: Betting Preview
The opening game of the Premier League season takes place at the Emirates, as Arsenal host Leicester City. Both will be wanting to make a positive start to the new campaign, and an entertaining game is expected. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game, using unique stats and data points to select the best bets.
Arsenal finished last season with a win at Wembley over Chelsea in the FA Cup and began this season in the same fashion, beating Chelsea on penalties to win the Community Shield. Before that FA Cup success, though, Arsenal had finished a disappointing season in fifth place, failing to secure a top four finish for the first time in 20 years.
They deserved to finish outside of the Champions League places and, based on Infogol data, were fortunate to finish fifth after a poor season by their standards in terms of expected goals. They ‘over-performed’ in attack, scoring nearly 12 goals more than expected, and also in defence, where they conceded 13 fewer than expected. In all they exceeded their expected goal difference by more than double, so if they maintain the same process, they could finish even further down the division.
Arsenal need to improve their process
Alexis Sanchez was the main man for them last season, contributing 22 goals and 10 assists. His non-penalty expected goal involvement (xGI – addition of xG and xAssists), was 24, so he slightly over-performed, but what is crucial is that Sanchez provided 40% of Arsenal’s total non-penalty xG. He isn’t available for this match through injury, so the big question is who can fill the void left by Sanchez?
Sanchez crucial to the Gunners – xG table 2016/17
Alexandre Lacazette was Arsene Wenger’s big-money signing over the summer, and he could be the man to they turn to fill that gap, as he is expecetd to lead the line.
Having won the title in 2015/16, few would have expected such a turbulent campaign for Leicester last time. Claudio Ranieri was sacked, leaving Craig Shakespeare to step in and avoid what would have been, an embarrassing relegation. In the end, Shakespeare guided the Foxes to a 12th place finish and comfortably clear of relegation.
Back to reality for Leicester fans
They were unfortunate come the end of the season, conceding 10 more goals than expected, but they didn’t warrant finishing much higher in the table. Leicester have brought in much needed additions in the shape of centre-back Harry Maguire, central midfielder Vicente Iborra and centre-forward Kalechi Iheanacho.
Their aim this season has to be once again finishing in mid-table, even top ten, and they have a squad more than capable of doing so. This will be a tough opening day fixture for them, though.
Although Arsenal may struggle without Alexis Sanchez, they are expected to have more than enough to get past Leicester in this match. Both teams play attacking football, so expect an exciting curtain raiser for the new Premier League season, with new signing Lacazette getting the first goal of the 2017/18 campaign.
Arsenal win @ 40/85
Over 2.5 goals @ 8/13
Lacazette first goal scorer @ 16/5