The Premier League is once again upon us for a new season and it kicks off at The Emirates later this evening as Arsenal play host to Leicester. Whether you agree with the fact that a new season is kicking off on a Friday night is up to you but I think we can all be glad in the fact that top flight football is almost here.
Hosts Arsenal come into this game off the back of their Community Shield victory last Sunday and will no doubt look to harness that momentum by kicking off this campaign with a win. The summer has undoubtedly been dominated by whether or not Alexis Sanchez will sign a new contract.
The Chilean international has yet to put pen to paper but Arsenal fans will no doubt be relieved that he is still with the club and if he can fire The Gunners back into the top 4 come next May while then walking off into the sunset then his departure for free may still look like good business.
He does not feature tonight due to an abdominal strain and the same can be said for Laurent Koscielny who is banned after his sending off against Everton in the final game of last season. There are also doubts of Aaron Ramsay, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker and Arsene Wenger will be sweating on the fitness on all three of these players.
That said he will have record signing Alexander Lacazette ready to unleash for his Premier League debut. After a slightly inauspicious showing against Chelsea last week he will be aiming to break his domestic duck against the 2015/16 champions.
Another man who could be in line for his first ever Premier League showing is Sead Kolasinac who has already endeared himself to the Arsenal fanbase after he scored the equaliser in Sunday’s Wembley outing. That goal took the game to penalties and as we now know by now they would go on to win 4-1 in the ABBA style shootout.
Their opponents Leicester are once again led by Craig Shakespeare but he now has the job of leading The Foxes on a permanent basis. He took charge back in February after Claudio Ranieri’s sacking and reached the most important objective which was keeping the club safe from what would have been an embarrassing relegation.
This will be the real acid test as to Shakespeare’s managerial credentials though as he starts on the same level as all the other 19 clubs in the division. Last season was very much an “us against them” mentality and that allowed him to galvanise a squad that was low on performances and also coping a lot of flak from outsiders.
So with that tool in his arsenal (pun slightly intended) now gone it will be interesting to see just how he can get this squad of players going, add to the fact that this is his first ever transfer window and questions will be asked as to whether or not he has made astute signings.
One of those signings is Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho who joined late last month for a fee of £25m. He could feature tonight but may not last the full 90 minutes due to not quite being at full fitness. If he can get into double figures then it will look like money very well spent.
Both teams will want to get off to a winning start and Leicester will look for a happier trip to North London this time around as their last two trips to The Emirates have resulted in defeats. Who can forget Valentines Day 2016 when Arsenal snatched a late winner and then assumed they won the league that afternoon. We all know what happened next…
Here is what social media thinks will happen tonight
Time for another "Scientific Poll"
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) August 10, 2017
It looks like it is going to be an overwhelming win for Arsenal and to be honest I would have to say I agree with them. I cannot see anything other than a home win for The Gunners as Arsene Wenger gets of to the perfect start later tonight