Arsenal and Leicester City have released their teams for tonight’s Premier League opener, with summer signing Alexandre Lacazette making his Premier League debut for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger has stuck with the three-man defence and wing-backs that served his side well towards the end of last season, though he’s had to contend with a few injuries in that area.
Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the wing-backs, while Rob Holding is joined by Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac in the centre due to the absence of Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi through injury and Laurent Koscielny due to suspension.
Alexis Sanchez remains out of the squad with a minor abdominal strain, and had been expected to miss the start of the season anyway due to returning to the squad late for pre-season.
Still, there’s plenty of firepower in Wenger’s starting line up tonight with Lacazette flanked by Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck, and options on the bench with Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Alex Iwobi.
Arsenal got their season off to a winning start in last weekend’s Community Shield victory over Chelsea, but will be even more desperate to pick up three points at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures
Leicester City (H) – Fri 11 Aug
Stoke City (A) – Sat 19 Aug
Liverpool (A) – Sun 27 Aug
Bournemouth (H) – Sat 9 Sep
Chelsea (A) – Sun 17 Sep
West Brom (H) – Mon 25 Sep
Brighton (H) – Sun 1 Oct
The Gunners have won just one of their last seven opening day fixtures in the Premier League, and could do with a fast start if they are to work their way back into the top four again this season.
Arsenal have won their last three home games against Leicester, all by a one-goal margin, but the Foxes have shown the ability to surprise the big names in the Premier League in recent times.
Tonight, Craig Shakespeare names a strong side, including the unsettled Riyad Mahrez, who had been linked with Arsenal earlier in the summer after admitting he wanted to leave the King Power Stadium.
Danny Drinkwater remains out of the squad with injury, though his absence has coincided with growing transfer links to Premier League rivals Chelsea.