I saw an article the other day that was talking about the Arsenal game against Leicester this Sunday and suggesting that there was going to be one key battle that would determine the result and it was the question of whether our French defender Laurent Koscielny could keep the Premier League’s top scorer Jamie Vardy quiet.
Now while this is obviously important I think it is too simplistic a way of looking at the big match. In fact I would say that there are likely to be three key battles that Arsenal need to win to get the right result. Keeping Vardy from scoring is all well and good but it is not just Koscielny that needs to be on the ball.
If Arsene Wenger decides to revert to his usual pairing and bring Mertesacker back, you know that Vardy will try to play off the German so how the BFG handles him would also be crucial and the same can be said of Gabriel who I expect to get the nod.
Then there is the threat of Riyad Mahrez down our left flank. He is not too far off Vardy in the scoring stakes and he also has 10 Premier League assists to his name so there is a case for him being the bigger threat. Thankfully in Nacho Monreal the Gunners have arguably the best left back in the division and the Spaniard is especially strong on the defensive side of the role.
However, I would say that this is not just a battle between Monreal and Mahrez but a battle for control of that side of the pitch, with the Foxes right back Danny Simpson and our Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez included. Alexis needs to be on his toes and do the tracking back and harrying that was a key part of his game before the injury in November. And if he can get his attacking game flowing it will force Mahrez to drop back to help his full back.
That brings us onto the final big battle because even if we stop them from scoring it is vital that we breach their defence and that has looked very strong recently. They tend to defend deep and allow the ball to go wide, expecting their big centre backs Huth and Morgan to be able to deal with crosses, but our wide men tend to cut in and that could help.
The real key for me though is our creative genius Mesut Ozil. If he can work his magic then Arsenal will have good chances to score and hopefully we can finish at least one of them. But in Kante and Drinkwater Leicester have two very effective and hard working central midfielders and they will know that stopping Ozil will give their team a great chance of success.
So can Arsenal win these three key battles and claim the points in this crucial and possibly pivotal match?