Arsenal have an opportunity to solidify a position in the top half of the Premier League standings when they take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
After a horror start to the season, the Gunners have clawed their way back to 10th position on the table after nine rounds of action – level on log points with Manchester United, Everton and Leicester City.
For Mikel Arteta’s charges, last weekend’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa in fact extended Arsenal’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to six matches, and relieved the pressure on the young manager after defeat in the first three league games.
“I’m proud of the team,” Arteta commented. “This is when we are good, when we play with real desire, real commitment and can have clear ideas of how to attack.
“We are closer together as a team. This is what you get from young players. They need the consistency. That comes with experience and maturity.
“It has to happen now. They showed they can do it.”
Arsenal’s recent resurgence should add to the intrigue of this Saturday’s clash against a Leicester side that has decent winning momentum of their own.
Besides downing Brentford 2-1 last Sunday, Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by battling back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 last Wednesday. Recently, Leicester also claimed a memorable 4-2 victory over Man United that formed part of the Red Devils’ downward spiral.
Like Arsenal, Leicester are now just three points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham on the league table, and the hunt for a Champions League berth is still very much alive for both clubs.
Arsenal head into this weekend’s encounter after comfortably claiming a 2-0 win over Leeds United on Tuesday night to book their spot in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Arsenal are set to head into this Saturday’s clash without the services of Granit Xhaka due to a long-term njury, but Alexandre Lacazette is continuing to work his way back to fitness and form, while Benjamin White, Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard could all be available for Arteta.
For Leicester, there is also some good news on the injury front as James Justin and Wilfred Ndidi are back in training, although it remains to be seen if they are pressed into action against Arsenal.
This encounter will kick off round 10 action in the Premier League, and could turn out to be one of the most fiercely-contested clashes to keep an eye on.